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Does breastfeeding causes constipation
Constipation in Breastfed Babies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Breast milk is easy for babies to digest. In fact, it’s considered a natural laxative. So it’s rare for babies who are breastfed exclusively to have constipation.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
Every baby poops on a different schedule — even ones who only are fed breast milk. Read on to learn more about constipation in babies, including symptoms, causes, and how to treat it.
How can you tell if your baby’s constipated? It’s important to note that the frequency of bowel movements isn’t always an accurate indication of constipation. Neither is seeing your baby grunt or strain while having a movement.
Many babies look like they’re pushing when they’re having a bowel movement. That may be because babies use their abdominal muscles to help them pass stool. They also spend a lot of time on their backs, and without gravity to help them, they may have to work a little more to move their bowels.
Better indications of constipation in a breastfed baby are:
firm, tight, distended belly
hard, pebble-like stools
crying while having a bowel movement
not wanting to feed
bloody stool that is hard (which may be caused by hard stool tearing some of the anal tissue as it passes)
For the most part, breastfed babies don’t experience constipation until solid foods are introduced, around the time they’re 6 months old. Some foods that may be constipating include:
Rice cereal. Rice is binding, meaning it absorbs water in the gut, making stool hard to pass. Consider switching to oatmeal or barley cereal if your baby show signs of constipation.
Cow’s milk. This is usually introduced at about a year.
Bananas. This fruit is another common culprit of constipation in babies. You can try feeding it to your baby pureed with some water or 100-percent fruit juice mixed in.
A low-fiber diet. White pastas and breads are low-fiber foods. Without enough fiber, it may be harder for your baby to pass stools.
Other things that might produce constipation include:
Not giving your child enough liquids. Always try to breastfeed your baby before offering solids. Liquid will help your baby pass their stools more easily.
Stress. Travel, heat, a move — these can all be stressful to a baby and cause constipation.
Sickness. Stomach bugs can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and constipation. Even something like a common cold can decrease your child’s appetite and, because of nasal congestion, make it uncomfortable for them to nurse. Less liquid means more chance for constipation.
Medical condition. A medical issue, such as having an abnormality in the digestive tract, may cause constipation, although this is rare.
A normal amount for a baby to poop varies by age, and, yes, the baby’s diet. Here’s a sample poop timeline for breastfed babies from Seattle Children’s Hospital:
Your baby will poop about once a day. The color will change slightly from dark green/black to dark green/brown and it’ll become looser as your milk comes in.
Your baby will poop about 3 to 8 or more times day. The color will change slightly from dark green/black to dark green/brown and it’ll become looser and then more yellow as your milk comes in.
By the time they’re about a month old, babies are pretty good at absorbing all the breast milk they drink. As such, they may pass a few soft stools each day or just one soft stool every few days. Some babies don’t poop for up to two weeks, and that’s still considered normal.
As you start introducing solid foods to your baby (at about 6 months) and cow’s milk (at about 12 months), your baby may poop more frequently. That’s because your baby’s digestive system is still immature and has to figure out how to digest all these new foods. On the flip side, your baby may now become constipated. Some foods are naturally constipating, and cow’s milk can be hard for even some mature digestive systems to handle.
Here are some tips to prevent and treat constipation:
Add more fiber to their diet if your baby’s started solid foods, Switch from rice cereal to barley, which has more fiber. When you start introducing fruits and vegetables, try high-fiber ones like pureed prunes and peas.
Pump your baby’s legs back and forth as if they’re riding a bicycle. Also, put them on their tummies with some toys and encourage them to squirm and reach. Activity can encourage a bowel movement.
Give your baby a tummy massage. With your hand just below the navel, gently massage your baby’s tummy in a circular motion for about a minute.
Can a nursing mother’s diet cause — or relieve — a baby’s constipation? The short answer is probably not.
According to a 2017 study of 145 women in the Korean Journal of Pediatrics, there are no foods a breastfeeding mom needs to avoid unless the baby has an obvious negative reaction to it.
Gas and fiber are not passed from mom to baby. Neither is the acid from acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes. A breastfeeding mom can have pretty much any food she wants in moderation.
According to La Leche League International, it’s not what or how much you eat or drink that stimulates your milk — it’s your baby’s ability to suck that gets the milk coming. Also, breast milk is made from what’s in your bloodstream, not your digestive tract.
Still, it’s important to eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet when you’re nursing, more for your own health and well-being than your baby’s.
Don’t hesitate to call a doctor if:
these simple remedies for constipation don’t work
your baby seems in distress
your baby refuses to eat
your baby has a fever
your baby is vomiting
your baby has a hard, swollen belly
Your doctor will examine your baby and may even order special tests, like an abdominal X-ray to check for intestinal blockages. You can ask your doctor about using suppositories and which ones are safe, though these are not often recommended or needed.
Never give a baby a laxative or suppository without checking with a healthcare provider first.
Most breastfed babies don’t become constipated until they start solid foods. Even then, it’s not a sure thing. Simple diet and activity changes are often effective. But if the constipation continues, see your child’s doctor for medical advice.
Postpartum Constipation: Causes, Treatments, and More
Bringing your new baby home means big and exciting changes in your life and daily routine. Who knew such a tiny human would need so many diaper changes! Speaking of poop, while your little one seems to have a bowel moment every hour, you might be feeling a little backed up.
Postpartum constipation is a common part of having a baby that no one talks about. It doesn’t matter how your pregnancy went, or how you gave birth — you’ll likely have a touch of constipation.
There are several reasons why your bowel movements might not be regular right now. Don’t worry, most are temporary and easy to resolve. Let’s look at the many causes of post-delivery constipation and what you can do to get things moving.
Just like the many miraculous changes in your body during pregnancy, your post-baby body is still changing. As you know, things don’t bounce back just because you’ve given birth. You’re still in recovery and healing mode from this wonderful adventure!
The postpartum period is typically considered the first 42 days after birth. Expect things to slowly get better, but don’t rush yourself.
Some causes of postpartum constipation go away on their own. Others will need a little more nudging until your digestive system is cranking again.
You might have postpartum constipation because:
Your body is still healing
Your baby’s adorable little smile every time you gaze into their eyes almost makes you forget the trauma of delivery, but your body still remembers!
As you heal from the birth you might still have stitches at the episiotomy site if you had a vaginal delivery or the surgical site if you had a cesarean delivery.
This can make you unconsciously (or on purpose) avoid pushing even a little when you really need to go, because it hurts! Even peeing might sting a little for a few days after.
Clenching the round sphincter muscles in your bottom can also happen without you realizing. This natural physical reaction can lead to constipation.
The added weight gain and pressure of carrying a growing baby might have given you hemorrhoids during pregnancy. This can cause pain and blockages that can cause constipation or make it worse.
Pushing during your delivery might have also stretched out or damaged your pelvic floor muscles or the anal sphincter muscles. This can make pushing out poop a bit difficult. Don’t worry this is temporary!
Changes in sleep patterns
As you realized from baby’s first day home, their schedule rules yours. This might mean you’ll be up and feeding your little one at 3 a.m. because they’re wide awake and hungry.
Lack of sleep and fatigue are common problems for new parents. You expected this, but probably didn’t realize the havoc it would play on your mind and body.
Changes in sleep patterns and fatigue can also change your bowel habits. A lack of sleep also leads to more stress, which doesn’t help the constipation.
Meeting your new little one is joyful and life changing. But bringing a new baby home can be stressful. Especially if this is your first child, there will be unexpected and difficult changes in every part of your day (and night).
It’s perfectly normal to feel stress and anxiety, while also enjoying being with your baby. These feelings — and your lack of sleep — can spike stress hormones like cortisol. High amounts of stress hormones can cause diarrhea in some people and constipation in others. Either way, they mess with your digestive system!
Dehydration and diet
In the flurry of activity of taking care of baby, your own self-care can get neglected. It’s normal to lose some sleep and have to rush through meals because your little bundle of joy is screaming at the top of their lungs.
However, taking care of your health is important for you and baby. Not drinking plenty of water and other liquids throughout the day can lead to dehydration. This is even more important if you’re breastfeeding.
Changes in your diet while you’re breastfeeding can also affect bowel movements.
For example, if you’ve cut out caffeine things may slow down. And if you don’t have time to eat crunchy salads and other high-fiber foods, you might be low in fiber. This can also cause constipation.
Moving around less
Cuddling and feeding your little one in a plush rocker or armchair is a wonderful bonding experience for you and baby. You also need this time to put your feet up and rest.
However, less standing, walking, and general activity can also slow down your digestive tract. The intestines are muscles and like your other muscles, they need plenty of exercise to keep them strong and help movement.
Lower activity levels while you’re pregnant and after delivery can temporarily cause constipation.
Having a baby might have shown you how amazing your body is, but you’re still not a superhero. Well, you are, but not the comic book kind.
You might need pain medications to help you cope with healing stitches, tearing, muscle sprains, and other aches. Unfortunately, constipation is a common side effect of some pain meds.
Antibiotics usually trigger diarrhea but they can sometimes also cause constipation. This is because they get rid of some of the good bacteria that help digestion, along with the bad bacteria.
Even if you’re no longer taking any meds or pain medications, it can take a few days to weeks for your bowels to balance out.
Just like pregnancy vitamins help keep your nutrition balanced, postpartum vitamins help keep you energized and nourished. Some postpartum supplements include iron and other nutrients that can sometimes cause constipation.
Or you might need iron supplements because you’re slightly anemic after having your baby. You can lose a bit of blood whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section. This is normal and your body churns out more red blood cells in a few days.
Taking iron supplements for a little while can often help, but since iron leads to constipation you may need to adjust your diet and water intake.
If you’re constipated after delivering your baby, you might need to make just a few tweaks to get things moving.
Home remedies for constipation of all kinds include:
Hydrate with plenty of water and other liquids.
Add more fiber to your diet, like whole grains, bran, lentils, beans.
Eat foods that are natural laxatives, like prunes.
Move around as much as possible and engage in gentle exercise by doing squats if it is not painful.
Try over-the-counter laxatives and softeners like psyllium and methylcellulose, bisacodyl, senna, or castor oil.
Use a stool to elevate your feet in a squatting position while sitting on the toilet to help you push more easily.
Try calming exercises and relaxation techniques like meditation or a warm bath to help cope with stress.
Ask friends and family for help with your baby to give yourself some time for self-care and to sleep!
When to see a doctor about postpartum constipation
See your doctor right away if you haven’t had a bowel movement for 4 days after giving birth. You might need a stronger laxative to help rev your digestive tract and relieve constipation. Your doctor might suggest stool softeners like docusate sodium (Colace).
If you don’t already have an OB-GYN, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication or supplements that might be causing your postpartum constipation. These include pain medications, antibiotics, iron tablets, or a multivitamin. Ask your doctor if it’s OK to stop or change a medication to help get rid of the constipation.
Postpartum constipation is a common issue for new moms. All the changes, stretching, and shifting in your body during pregnancy and delivery can take some time to readjust after you have had your baby.
Most postpartum constipation gets better on its own. You might only need minor changes to your daily diet and exercise plan. Home treatments can help.
In more serious cases, your doctor may need to stop or change certain medications. You might also need stronger, prescription medications to help get rid of the constipation.
What to do with constipation in a month-old baby while breastfeeding?
Author, editor and medical expert - Klimovich Elina Valerievna.
Views: 455 996
Last update date: 10.2022 G.
Average Reading time: 17 minutes
PRESSION OF BREED BRIED What should be considered constipation in an infant Why can a newborn have a constipation during breastfeeding Temporary violations of stools What to do with constipation in the newborn during breastfeeding What does not need to be done 9000
in children under one year old. More often it happens in babies who are fed with milk mixtures, but sometimes it also occurs in infants. What are the causes of constipation in newborns during breastfeeding and what to do when they appear - in the article.
Digestion of an infant
A newborn is constantly in a state of adaptation to new living conditions. Its organs and systems continue to develop, and the physiological mechanisms of defecation are being improved.
In an adult, the retention of feces in the rectum is provided by involuntary and voluntary, that is, subject to the will, contractions of its muscles - sphincters.
The urge to defecate occurs when feces come into contact with the lower intestines. An adult is able to restrain the urge, but a newborn child is not.
Milk enters the stomach and triggers the gastrointestinal reflex, generating a wave of peristalsis throughout the gastrointestinal tract. The stool descends into the rectum and causes the urge to defecate. Not realizing that the conditions for defecation, to put it mildly, are not suitable, the baby tightens his legs and strains. A bowel movement makes room for a new portion of food.
The frequency of stools in a newborn often coincides with the frequency of feeding, but may be twice a day 3 . Cal at the same time has a yellow or yellow-brown color, sometimes with a greenish tinge, a mushy texture with an admixture of foam and inclusions resembling cottage cheese, and the smell of sour milk.
Beginning at about 2 months of age, the frequency of stools begins to gradually decrease. By the time complementary foods are introduced (by 4-6 months), most infants empty their intestines 2 times a day, and some even once every 2 days 3 . The stool thickens and takes on a sausage-like shape - this is how it should be in all young children.
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What should be considered constipation in a baby
It is quite understandable that the lack of stool in a baby causes concern for parents, often becomes the cause of unnecessary self-treatment. On the other hand, the lack of basic knowledge about the proper frequency of bowel movements in children sometimes leads to a delay in the necessary treatment and complications. So first, let's figure out what constipation is.
According to the generally accepted opinion, constipation in babies up to three months of age is considered to be a delay of 2-3 days of stool. If difficulty with bowel movements persisting for two or more weeks, they speak of chronic constipation. 2.3 . At the same time, the frequency of stool decreases (in comparison with the individual characteristics of 3 ), the feces become dense, fragmented, and acquire an unpleasant putrefactive odor.
To empty the intestines, the child strains hard and for a long time, his face turns red, his legs are drawn up to his stomach. Sometimes the contents of the rectum are so hard that they injure the delicate mucosa and cause painful cracks to form. In this case, the baby cries, and a strip of scarlet blood appears on the surface of the feces.
Constipation affects the general condition of the baby. He has pain and bloating in the abdomen, popularly called "colic", he does not eat well, becomes lethargic and capricious.
It is the appearance of general symptoms in constipation in a breastfed newborn that serves as a guideline for the diagnosis 4 . If they are absent, the child eats well, does not spit up, gains weight normally, the condition is considered to be “pseudo-constipation” that does not require any intervention 4 .
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Why a newborn may have constipation while breastfeeding
Difficulty emptying the bowels and lack of stool in infants in 95% of cases is caused by various functional disorders in the bowels 1.5 . The remaining 5% are due to diseases that disrupt the formation, promotion and removal of feces to the outside 1.5 .
This type of defecation disorder is more often found in the first days or months of a baby's life 1. 3 . It is caused by anomalies in the development of the intestines and rectum in particular, various neurological diseases accompanied by slowing down and discoordination of the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, metabolic disorders against the background of a reduced function of the thyroid gland and brain centers of regulation of the endocrine system, cystic fibrosis, Hirschsprung's disease 1.3 .
In case of constipation in children from birth to 3 months, it is best to consult a doctor immediately in order not to miss these diseases. If the examination does not reveal any organic pathology, we are talking about functional constipation 3 .
The nervous system is of great importance in the regulation of stool, and since it is not yet sufficiently developed in a newborn, there is always ground for constipation. Functional constipation against the background of intestinal dyskinesia, accompanied by a weakening of peristalsis or spastic contractions of the intestine, which impair its patency, is the most common type of disorders 3 .
Other causes of functional constipation in infants:
immaturity of the child and his digestive system, accompanied by a late "start" of digestive enzymes, prolonged retention of food masses in the stomach and intestines, imperfection of the receptor apparatus of the rectum, which triggers defecation 3 ;
the consequences of intrauterine oxygen starvation, affecting the work of the central nervous system and the regulation of intestinal motility;
general muscle weakness of the baby due to prematurity, iron deficiency or active treatment of rickets with vitamin D 3 ;
intestinal dysbiosis, which occurs, for example, when antibiotics and pathogenic microbes affect the weak and unstable microflora of the children's intestines 3 ;
Allergy to cow's milk proteins: it can already appear during breastfeeding if the mother likes dairy products and consumes them often 4 .
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Temporary stool problems
Defecation problems may be temporary. Many babies have difficulty with bowel movements - straining, grunting, whimpering during bowel movements, although their stools remain soft, mushy. This condition is quite normal for children of the first two months of life, is associated with the immaturity of the nervous system and is called "dyschesia" 4 .
Temporary disturbance of bowel movements in a child may be due to the following factors:
lack of liquid - in some cases, the child needs to be supplemented, although some mothers believe that when breastfeeding, the baby receives enough liquid in the form of milk 2.5 ;
general dehydration of the baby against the background of high fever, vomiting and diarrhea, for example, with an intestinal infection or SARS, when a large amount of water is lost with sweat, vomit and liquid feces 4 ;
malnutrition of a nursing mother: low fluid intake, unbalanced diet, low fiber content and a large amount of "fixing" foods in the diet 2 ;
underfeeding of a child due to a lack of breast milk (in this case, a woman may not even suspect that she has little milk) and “tight” breasts in the mother, general weakness and persistent regurgitation in the baby 2. 5 ;
too early and irrational introduction of complementary foods 2 ;
abuse of enemas and means of mechanical stimulation of defecation in a child (gas tube, irritation of the anus, etc.) 2 ;
psychological factors 2 , which include the psycho-emotional problems of the mother, the absence of the mother and getting used to the nanny, moving, frequent contacts with new people;
any diseases and teething - they affect not only the well-being, but also the emotional and psychological state of the child, and at the same time - intestinal motility.
Elimination of all of the above factors leads to spontaneous normalization of the child's stool.
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What to do with constipation in a newborn while breastfeeding
You need to act based on the cause of constipation. With diagnosed organic constipation, the treatment of the underlying disease is prescribed by a doctor. Solving the problem leads to the normalization of bowel movements.
For functional constipation, doctors recommend:
Breast milk, containing the mother's immune factors, provides the baby's natural protection against infections, promotes the formation of its intestinal microflora and the development of the digestive system as a whole 2 . With weak lactation and lack of breast milk and unstable stools with a tendency to constipation in a child, doctors recommend supplementary feeding with adapted milk formulas with the addition of prebiotics 2 . They contribute to the maintenance of the intestinal microflora, on which digestion depends in part 2 .
2. Follow the diet of a nursing mother
The composition of breast milk directly depends on the nutrition of the mother, therefore, by changing the diet, it is possible to influence the diet of the child 4 . For the work of the gastrointestinal tract of the baby, it is important to observe the water regime, the vegetables, fruits, cereals eaten by the mother, wholemeal bread, that is, foods with a high fiber content 4 . You should limit the consumption of foods that provoke increased gas formation: cabbage, onions, tomatoes, rice, legumes, black bread, pears, grapes, mushrooms, pickles, smoked meats and spices 3 .
Prunes, dried apricots and simple boiled beets will help as a natural laxative for breastfeeding from constipation in a newborn - you just need to include them in the diet.
Fermented milk products are useful for maintaining the intestinal microflora 2 . But with cow's milk intolerance diagnosed in a child, a nursing mother will have to completely abandon dairy products made from it 4 .
3. Maintain the child's physical activity
Properly organized daily routine and physical activity is the most important factor in the treatment of constipation in a child 2 . Physical activity is selected individually according to the age of the child 2 . For newborns and infants during the first 5 months of life, their natural activity and special exercises are enough 2 . It is very important that the clothes do not hamper the movement of the child and allow him to independently improve his motor skills in the process of learning the world.
4. Massage the belly
First of all, after feeding, it is necessary to keep the baby in an upright position so that he burps air, and then lay him down on his tummy.
Abdominal massage involves gentle strokes on the tummy in a clockwise direction, that is, in a circle, starting from the right iliac region and ending with the left iliac region. In this case, the child should lie on the back. At the end of the procedure, holding the ankles, alternately press the baby's legs to the tummy. This stimulates the passage of gases and defecation.
5. Wise use of gas reducing agents
A large amount of gas stretches the intestinal wall, weakens its peristalsis and leads to colic. Dill water, light fennel tea, and simethicone preparations may relieve symptoms associated with constipation 4 .
Medications to help mechanically remove gas from the intestines, such as a gas tube or enemas, are sometimes useful. 4 . However, their frequent use exacerbates the problem of constipation: the baby’s gastrointestinal tract begins to “get lazy” and ceases to perform its functions independently 3 .
6. Microclysters MICROLAX
Microclysters occupy a special place in the complex treatment of constipation in breastfed newborns. They promote bowel movements and thereby alleviate the suffering of the baby.
MICROLAX ® for children from 0 years is designed for the smallest children, equipped with a special short "nose" and can be used from birth up to 3 years 6 . The composition of the drug includes sodium citrate, which displaces water from the feces, sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, which thins the contents of the rectum, and sorbitol, which stimulates the flow of water into the intestines 6 .
By reinforcing each other's action, the components of MICROLAX ® are able to soften the stool and facilitate defecation 6 . In this case, the effect of the drug may begin in 5-15 minutes 6 .
It is important that the effect of MICROLAX ® is limited to the end of the intestine. It is not absorbed, does not enter the general circulation and therefore does not affect the functioning of other organs and systems 6 .
For ease of use MICROLAX ® is available as a disposable microclyster fitted with a shortened spout 6 . It is enough to break off the seal - and the microclyster with 5 ml of the drug will be ready for use.
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What Not to Do
First of all, don't wait for the problem to go away on its own. Repeated and prolonged stool disorders in infants always require the consultation of a pediatrician.
Also not recommended:
to feed the child strictly by the clock - the baby himself "knows" how much and when he needs milk; feeding on demand contributes to the normal functioning of the intestines and, in addition, stimulates lactation in the mother;
breastfeeding the baby after spitting up: this is a normal act to help the baby get rid of air and excess food that has entered the stomach;
to supplement the baby with a mixture or completely switch to artificial feeding, believing that the baby does not have enough milk - a guide that he has enough food should be sound sleep and normal weight gain;
frequently use a gas tube, resort to enemas and other methods of stimulating bowel movements;
apply folk methods of stimulating the rectum, for example, insert a bar of soap into the anus: soap irritates the mucous membrane and can cause a chemical burn; a laxative effect can be achieved with gentle means, for example, microclysters MICROLAX ® ;
take medicines without consulting a doctor - all of them can penetrate into the child's body with milk and affect his body in general and the work of the gastrointestinal tract in particular.
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Functional constipation in babies is easier to prevent than to treat. To avoid the problem, it is recommended to follow the following rules.
Breastfeed your baby for as long as possible and continue to breastfeed even when the milk supply is low.
By all means support and maintain lactation. Feeding on demand is the best way to regulate, as well as eliminating the need for pumping. The child himself "controls" the production of milk: it is produced as much as he sucks out during meals.
Folk methods for stimulating lactation have not been canceled either, but if they are ineffective, you should not give up - you need to contact a gynecologist. Today, there are safe drugs that enhance the work of the mammary glands.
Monitor nutrition. Everything that enters the mother's body ends up in her breast milk, and with it - in the baby's stomach. Abuse of astringent and fastening products affects the baby's gastrointestinal tract and can lead to constipation.
With the emerging tendency to constipation, you can include in the diet products that have a laxative effect: prunes, dried apricots, beets, kefir and yogurt. The mother’s stool will serve as a guideline: if her intestines are working normally, then the likelihood of constipation in the baby will be minimal.
Do not take any medications without the advice of a doctor - they can not only lead to constipation in the baby, but also affect the functioning of other organs of the developing organism.
Do not swaddle the baby or use wide swaddling. Nothing should put pressure on the tummy and hinder the movements of the baby. He should be able to freely move his legs, press them to the tummy - this is necessary for him to defecate.
Give your baby a tummy massage every time before meals or 50 minutes after meals. This will help maintain active peristalsis and regular emptying of the rectum.
To work with a child, that is, to improve his motor skills. This will accelerate the development of the nervous system and eliminate the neurological basis for functional constipation.
Do not abuse enemas, gas tubes, or other methods of mechanical stimulation of bowel movements. This leads to a decrease in the motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract and exacerbates constipation.
Be sure to supplement your child if he or she has vomiting or diarrhea, excessive sweating during a cold, or in hot weather.
Maintain a calm atmosphere in the family and love the baby. Even newborns who do not understand anything very subtly feel the surrounding emotional background. Its negative impact is expressed in stress and constipation as well.
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The information in this article is for reference only and does not replace professional medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, contact a qualified specialist.
Constipation in a baby - what to do, causes and symptoms of constipation in a baby
Constipation in infants: causes and treatment For this period (at least the first 6 months), breastfeeding is recommended, which is able to fully meet the needs of the infant until the introduction of complementary foods. However, for various reasons, breastfeeding can be replaced with artificial.
There have been many comparative studies of breastfeeding and artificial feeding. Most pediatricians still insist on breastfeeding the baby, but, as experience shows, it does not guarantee complete health, and even with breastfeeding, problems with the digestive system can be observed. One of the most common problems parents face is constipation in babies. The causes of this condition can often be due to the physiological characteristics of the infant's digestive system, but are often pathological. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to constipation in infants in time and consult a doctor.
Further in the article, we will consider such issues as: the causes of constipation in infants, the treatment of constipation, as well as the symptoms and why constipation occurs with different types of feeding.
Causes of constipation in babies
Before listing the causes of constipation in infants, you should familiarize yourself with the features of the structure and functioning of its digestive system. This will help you better understand why a baby is constipated.
The first feature of the digestive system of infants is the small size of the stomach (in the first month of life its volume is about 100 ml, and then gradually increases) and its horizontal arrangement . Food in infants is delayed for about 2.5-3 hours, and with artificial feeding - a little longer. But the main feature that contributes to the development of such a problem as constipation in an infant is a long intestine and weak abdominal muscles.
So, normally, the frequency of stool in infants of the first year of life can coincide with the frequency of feeding (up to 6 times). With age, it decreases and by the time of the introduction of complementary foods it is approximately 2 times a day, and in children on artificial feeding - 1 time per day. Normally, babies have mushy feces.
Constipation is considered to be: if the interval between defecation acts in an infant increases, if the emptying is systematic, but insufficient, and the feces themselves are not mushy, but dense, fragmented.
It is customary to talk about constipation in children under 3 years old if the number of bowel movements is less than 6 times a week.
The most common causes of constipation in infants are as follows:
Perinatal encephalopathy, for example, as a result of hypoxia, or trauma (cerebral palsy).
Incorrect daily routine and nutrition of a nursing mother.
Violation of feeding and drinking regimen.
Congenital pathology and developmental anomalies.
Immaturity of the digestive system of the baby.
Violation of intestinal microbiocenosis.
Use of certain medications.
Diseases of the spinal cord.
Grischsprung's disease, etc.
What causes constipation in babies with different types of feeding
Above were listed the main reasons why the baby has constipation. As you can see, such a problem can arise regardless of the type of feeding - constipation is often found in infants on breastfeeding, on mixed and even on completely artificial.
Constipation can occur during breastfeeding for a variety of reasons, including:
Excess consumption of animal fats by a nursing woman (butter, pork and other fatty meats) and lack of fermented milk products, dietary fiber in the diet.
Underfeeding or overfeeding a child.
The presence of defects in the oral cavity of the baby, sluggish sucking, regurgitation.
Dehydration (non-compliance with the drinking regimen, fever, etc.).
Breastfeeding mother taking certain medications.
Very often there is constipation in infants on mixed feeding. The reasons for this may lie in the following:
Mixture too thick.
Non-compliance with the drinking regime, etc.
Very often, constipation develops after the introduction of complementary foods, especially if the first complementary foods were introduced abruptly and in large quantities.
What foods can cause constipation in babies? The development of constipation can provoke the introduction of cereals and solid foods, applesauce, pear puree, pasta, eggplant, fatty meats, eggs, caffeinated foods, etc. into the baby's diet.
Symptoms of constipation in an infant
Constipation in a baby for a long time may not attract the attention of parents. First of all, this may be due to the lack of ideas about how many times a day a baby should have feces and what kind of character it should be. With a problem such as constipation in infants, the symptoms may be mild, and often accompanied by non-specific symptoms. So, when can you suspect constipation in the baby?
The symptoms of constipation are as follows:
Reducing the number of bowel movements (less than 6 times a week).
The baby often cries for no apparent reason and pulls his legs up to his stomach;
Stool formed, hard, fragmented, dry;
The child is not gaining weight;
Rumbling in the abdomen, increased flatulence.
Signs of inflammation or irritation around the anus.
If defecation occurs less frequently than usual, but the child eats well, is not naughty, none of the above is observed, then the infant is most likely not constipated. But what if the baby is still constipated?
What should I do if my baby is constipated?
Many parents do not know what to do if the child has constipation, although they can recognize it on their own. First of all, it is necessary to review the diet of the baby and the nursing mother, exclude foods that contribute to constipation, adjust the frequency and volume of feedings, and establish a drinking regimen.
If this does not help, then you should definitely seek the advice of a pediatrician, and not treat constipation in infants on your own.