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What to give a 4 month old baby for constipation
Baby constipation: Top 7 home remedies
Babies often go a long time between bowel movements. Most of the time, it is normal for a baby to go days or even more than a week without a bowel movement. However, a baby may sometimes be constipated and need a little help.
If a baby is constipated, a pediatrician may recommend using home remedies as a first-line treatment for baby constipation.
Home remedies for constipation in a baby include:
Moving a baby’s legs can help relieve constipation.
As with adults, exercise and movement tend to stimulate a baby’s bowels.
However, as babies may not be walking or even crawling yet, a parent or caregiver may want to help them exercise to relieve constipation.
The parent or caregiver can gently move the baby’s legs while they are lying on their back to mimic the motion of riding a bicycle. Doing this may help the bowels function and relieve constipation.
2. A warm bath
Giving a baby a warm bath can relax their abdominal muscles and help them stop straining. It can also relieve some of the discomfort relating to constipation.
3. Dietary changes
Certain dietary changes may help constipation, but these will vary depending on the baby’s age and diet.
While breastfeeding a baby, a woman could eliminate certain foods, such as dairy, from her diet. It may take some trial and error to identify the dietary changes that help, and it is quite possible that changes in the diet will have no effect on the baby’s constipation.
For formula-fed babies, a parent or caregiver may want to try a different kind of formula. It is best not to switch to a gentle or dairy-free formula without consulting a pediatrician first. If one change does not make a difference, continuing to try different formulas is unlikely to help.
If an infant is eating solid foods, parents or caregivers should look to introduce foods that are good sources of fiber.
Many fruits and vegetables can help stimulate the bowels because of their higher fiber content. Good food choices for babies with constipation include:
whole grains, such as oatmeal or whole-grain bread or pasta
Young infants do not typically need supplemental liquids as they get their hydration from breast milk or formula.
However, babies that are constipated may benefit from a small amount of extra liquid.
Pediatricians sometimes recommend adding a small amount of water or, occasionally, fruit juice, to the baby’s diet when they are over 2–4 months old and are constipated.
There are several ways to massage a baby’s stomach to relieve constipation. These include:
Using the fingertip to make circular motions on the stomach in a clockwise pattern.
Walking the fingers around the naval in a clockwise pattern.
Holding the baby’s knees and feet together and gently pushing the feet toward the belly.
Stroking from the rib cage down past the belly button with the edge of a finger.
6. Fruit juice
A small amount of pure apple juice can help soften stool.
After a baby reaches 2–4 months of age, they can have a small amount of fruit juice, such as 100-percent prune or apple juice. This juice may help treat constipation.
Experts may recommend starting with about 2–4 ounces of fruit juice. The sugar in the juice is hard to digest. As a result, more liquid enters the intestines, which helps soften and break up the stool.
However, a parent or caregiver should not give fruit juice to a baby for the first time without consulting their pediatrician.
7. Taking a rectal temperature
When a baby is constipated, taking the baby’s rectal temperature with a clean, lubricated thermometer may help them pass stool.
It is important not to use this method very often, as it can make constipation worse. The baby may start not wanting to pass a bowel movement without help, or they may begin to associate having a bowel movement with discomfort, leading them to fuss or cry more during the process.
Anyone who feels as though they often need to use this method to help the baby have a bowel movement should talk to the baby’s doctor.
As infants may go for extended periods without a bowel movement, it can be hard to tell if they are constipated. Signs that indicate constipation in a baby include:
infrequent stools that are not soft in consistency
clay-like stool consistency
hard pellets of stool
long periods of straining or crying while trying to have a bowel movement
streaks of red blood in the stool
lack of appetite
a hard belly
Signs of constipation in babies vary depending on their age and diet. A normal bowel movement before a baby begins eating solid food should be very soft, almost like the consistency of peanut butter or even looser.
Hard baby stool prior to solid food is the most obvious indication of constipation in babies.
At first, breastfed babies may pass stool often since breast milk is easy to digest. However, once a baby is between 3 and 6 weeks old, they may only pass a large, soft stool once a week and sometimes even less.
Formula-fed babies tend to pass stool more frequently than breastfed babies. Most formula-fed babies will have a bowel movement at least once a day or every other day. However, some formula-fed babies may go longer between bowel movements without being constipated.
Once a parent introduces solid food to a baby’s diet, a baby may be more likely to experience constipation. A baby may also be more likely to become constipated if a parent or caregiver introduces cow’s milk (other than formula) to their diet.
Share on PinterestA doctor should assess a baby with ongoing constipation.
It is advisable to call a pediatrician if a baby has not passed a stool after a day or two and there are other signs present, such as:
blood in the stool
the baby seems to be irritable
the baby appears to have abdominal pain
there is no improvement in the baby’s constipation after taking steps to treat it
Treatment typically starts with home remedies. If home remedies do not work, a doctor may examine the baby and, in rare cases, prescribe medications, such as:
People should never give these medications to a baby unless a doctor prescribes them.
Constipation can lead to discomfort and irritability in a baby. People can try several at-home methods to help alleviate constipation.
If symptoms do not improve, it is best to speak to the infant’s pediatrician for additional strategies.
Read the article in Spanish.
What's normal and how to soothe them
When a baby begins crying in their sleep, caregivers may worry that something is wrong. However, in most cases, for babies, crying while asleep is a phase rather than a sign of a serious problem.
For many caregivers, sleep-related issues are among the biggest challenges during the baby and toddler years. Sleep problems are common, affecting at least 30 percent of children.
In this article, we look at the reasons why a baby might cry in their sleep, how to soothe them, and the normal sleep cycles that people can expect at different ages.
Share on PinterestIt is common for young babies to make noises during sleep, including crying.
Newborns and young babies may grunt, cry, or scream in their sleep.
Very young children’s bodies have not yet mastered the challenges of a regular sleep cycle, so it is common for them to wake frequently or make strange sounds in their sleep.
For very young babies, crying is their main form of communication. It makes sense, then, that babies cry often and might also cry in their sleep.
As long as a baby does not have additional concerning symptoms, such as other signs of illness or pain, this is developmentally normal, and not a sign that something is wrong.
As babies develop more ways to express themselves, crying while asleep may be a sign that they are having a nightmare or night terror. Toddlers and older babies who cry while asleep, especially while moving in bed or making other sounds, may be having night terrors.
Nightmares occur during light sleep, or random eye movement sleep. Night terrors, on the other hand, occur when a child becomes very agitated during the deeper phases of sleep. Children are more likely to cry from night terrors early in the night.
Night terrors are relatively rare and usually occur in children aged between 4 and 12 years old, though people have reported possible night terrors in babies as young as 18 months old. Night terrors may be more likely to occur if a child is sick or sleep-deprived.
When a baby briefly cries out in their sleep, they often settle on their own. Picking them up may wake them up, disrupting their sleep.
If the crying continues, try talking softly to the baby or rubbing their back or stomach. This can help shift them into a different stage of sleep and help them stop crying.
Breastfed babies who nurse in their sleep may find comfort from nursing. Caregivers should decide whether or not the baby is likely to awaken from nursing and assess whether they are willing to risk waking the baby.
It can also be helpful to simply observe the baby’s sleep pattern. Some babies let out a soft cry as they fall deeply into sleep, or immediately before waking. Identifying the baby’s typical sleep pattern can help caregivers assess the cause of crying.
Some babies might cry in their sleep when they are sick or teething, but pain that causes crying will usually wake the baby. Caregivers can talk to a pediatrician about how to ease the baby’s pain.
Although we do not yet know when nightmares start, a caregiver who thinks that they hear their baby having a nightmare can soothe them by talking calmly to them or rubbing their back. Babies who are still breastfed may also find comfort from nursing.
If a baby wakes up after having had a nightmare, comfort them and follow a soothing sleep ritual to get them back to sleep. Older babies and toddlers may need reassurance that the nightmare was not real.
Share on PinterestA person should speak to a doctor about a child experiencing a sudden change in sleep patterns.
Caregivers should talk to a doctor about nighttime crying and other sleep issues when:
a child cries out in pain
a child’s sleep habits suddenly change
a child’s sleep problems last for several nights and interfere with the ability of the child or caregiver to function
feeding difficulties, such as a bad latch, not getting enough breast milk, or concerns with a formula sensitivity, interfere with sleep
There is no single normal sleep pattern in babies and young children. Sleep patterns change rapidly over the first 3 years of life, with lots of variation between individual children. The amount of sleep crying will also change over time.
Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults and spend more time in light sleep, meaning that there are more chances for them to cry, grunt, or make other noises in their sleep.
Cultural and family norms can also affect sleep expectations. With the advice of a healthcare professional, caregivers can choose sleep strategies that work for them, their culture, and the needs and personality of their baby.
This section discusses average sleep patterns for babies of different ages. However, there is a lot of variation, and if a baby has a different sleep pattern from those given below, there is often no cause for concern.
Newborns (0–1 month)
Sleep is unpredictable in the first month, often punctuated by brief waking periods followed by naps and longer stretches of sleep. Some babies seem to have confused night and day. Sleep crying is common.
Babies typically wake every 2–3 hours, and sometimes even more often, to eat.
Exposing a baby to natural daylight and establishing a routine may help regulate their sleep patterns. For most babies of this age, however, a regular sleep schedule or long periods of sleep at night are unlikely.
Older newborns (1–3 months)
Newborns aged 1–3 months are still adjusting to life outside the womb. Some begin to develop a regular sleep schedule, though sleeping through the night is unlikely.
At this age, babies often cry out in their sleep or wake up crying if they are hungry. Sleep sessions typically last 3.5 hours or under.
Infants (3–7 months)
Share on PinterestBabies aged 3–7 months may develop a regular sleep schedule.
Between 3 and 7 months, some babies begin sleeping longer stretches or sleeping through the night. There is still considerable variation between babies.
Some babies also experience a sleep regression around 4 months that changes their sleep pattern.
Later in this period, many babies develop a sleep schedule of two daily naps and a longer period of sleep at night. Establishing a daily routine and a nighttime sleep routine can help.
Infants (7–12 months)
Most babies will sleep through the night by the time they are 9 months old. At around a year old, some babies drop down to just one nap per day. Others may need two naps per day well into their second year of life.
Toddlers (12 months and older)
Toddlers need 12–14 hours of sleep per day, divided between their nap and nighttime sleep. Most drop down to a single daily nap by 18 months of age.
Toddlers may experience occasional shifts in their sleep habits when something disrupts their routine, they are sick, or they go through a major developmental shift. This may include more crying than usual.
A child who routinely sleeps through the night, for example, may wake at 3 a.m. ready to play for a few nights.
Sleep can be challenging, especially in the early months and years. Every baby is unique and has their own set of needs and tendencies.
Caregivers can find ways to work with a baby’s temperament to maximize sleep, soothe crying, and ensure that the baby feels safe and comfortable at night.
In most cases, crying out in sleep is not dangerous or a sign of a serious problem. Sooner or later, almost all babies do it, and eventually, all babies sleep.
Constipation in children under one year old
Usually, parents of babies are worried about the exact opposite problem - too frequent stools. Therefore, not everyone immediately understands what to do if a baby under one year old has constipation.
Gastroenterologist, hepatologist at GMS Clinic Sergey Vyalov gave an interview to the Internet portal parents.ru and spoke about constipation in children under one year old.
Constipation, also known as diarrhea, stool retention, discolia, caprostasis, difficulty in emptying the bowel is not a universal condition with unambiguous characteristics. Each person, including a child, has his own indicators of the norm and deviations from it, associated with age, intestinal microflora, diet, state of mind and hormonal background, concomitant diseases. Yet there are a few common points of reference.
What is constipation?
Specialists diagnose constipation if the baby does "big" things:
regularly and without problems, but passing dry and hard stools;
with difficulty - the child has to push, the feces do not come out on the first try;
less than 5 times per day.
In the first six months of life, constipation is a rather rare occurrence, rather, on the contrary, in the period from 0 to 6 months, 6-10 bowel movements per day are considered the norm. Breastfed babies have more frequent bowel movements, while artificial babies have less.
Up to 6 months constipation is rare
Usually, parents of babies in the first months of life are alarmed by the condition opposite to constipation - too frequent bowel movements. But in a baby, regardless of whether he eats breast milk or formula, the intestines should work exactly like this - in a mode that is considered diarrhea for older children and adults.
There should be no other option, at least until the introduction of complementary foods at 4-6 months. After all, the baby receives mostly liquid food, the waste products of which have the same consistency and leave the intestines without encountering any obstacles on the way - the baby has not yet learned to control the sphincter that restrains the release of feces.
The baby's intestines have just begun to "get acquainted" with microorganisms that come from mother's milk, from her skin (the baby licks the nipple), from the environment. Far from all new "partners" are accepted: there are rejected ones, those who have not taken root, and so on. Checking and rejection are accompanied by loose, unstable stools.
Too frequent bowel cleansing does not need correction and treatment if the child is gaining weight and developing properly. Normal appetite and sleep, gas, absence of fever and other signs of illness indicate that parents have nothing to worry about. If the mother of a baby, tired of changing diapers 10 times in one day, wants to change the situation and asks the doctor to prescribe fixing medicines for the baby, then, unwittingly, she will doom her baby to chronic constipation.
Not according to the rules
And yet, in the first 6 months, constipation in infants is not excluded. It can be called:
microflora transmitted from the mother;
insufficient fluid volume;
Let's say a woman has too many methane-producing bacteria in her stomach and intestines that cause constipation. They grow rather slowly, ferment, releasing carbon dioxide, which contributes to flatulence and bloating. With this deviation, the woman lives, adapted and learned to solve the problem with the intestines in one way or another. Noticing the same thing in a child, she decides that the baby has inherited her features and "saves" him with the same means, making a mistake. Babies should not be given laxatives, especially those containing senna. The baby's body gets used to such drugs too quickly and without them it can no longer cleanse the intestines.
Constipation in a baby up to 6 months is also provoked by a lack of fluid and hormonal fluctuations. At 6 months, the baby should receive a lot of moisture - about 140 ml per kilogram of weight per day. A breastfed child gains this rate from mother's milk and does not need additional sources of liquid (but only if there is no predisposition to constipation). Little artificers are soldered from the moment they switch to a mixture.
If a woman is tense or nervous, then her level of the stress hormone cortisol rises. Through breast milk, saliva or sweat, the substance enters the baby's body and also provokes constipation.
Even if the mother does not breastfeed the baby, the constipating microorganisms sooner or later get to the gastrointestinal system of the crumbs and make negative changes in it.
Constipation after introduction of complementary foods
The kid is growing, improving his skills, and it's time to introduce him to new foods. These circumstances, on the one hand, help to establish peristalsis, and on the other hand, increase the risk of constipation.
By six months, the baby is already trying to control defecation, because he realized that after it there are unpleasant sensations - itching, burning and other discomfort in the areas where the feces get. In order not to experience discomfort, the child tries to restrain the urge. At first, he does not succeed, because the rectum has already learned how to work - reflexively contract and push out waste. And after a couple of months, everything works out, the baby wins and enters the path leading to chronic constipation. To get the baby out of this vicious circle, the mother must minimize the duration of the baby's skin contact with feces and expand the baby's diet by mastering complementary foods.
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates that are part of the products are absorbed in the small intestine, and do not reach the large intestine, where feces are formed. What can not be said about fiber. While the baby is drinking breast milk or formula, this component of the dishes is not familiar to him. Even if a nursing woman herself consumes a lot of plant foods, the baby does not get anything. Fiber, as already noted, is not absorbed in the intestines, does not enter the bloodstream, which means that it is not in breast milk. For the first time, a baby gets fiber with complementary foods by trying its first 25 grams of mashed potatoes from zucchini, carrots and other vegetables. Plant fibers literally attract all waste to themselves, as a result, fecal masses are formed, which help the intestines to master the correct peristalsis. There are a lot of muscles in this section of the gastrointestinal tract, in the intestines, they must learn to consistently contract - tighten and relax in order to squeeze waste out.
The next new product should be introduced one month after the previous one. The novelty is likely to cause more frequent and loose stools at first. If it does not have a green color and does not foam, there is no need to run to the doctor and ask to prescribe fixatives. Be patient, after a while the innovation will be mastered and will bear fruit. Instead of liquid and shapeless yellow-white feces, you will see brown feces that have formed.
There are other causes of constipation in babies. Unfortunately, they are much more difficult to deal with, since these are developmental pathologies, diseases, and injuries.
Acute constipation. It develops for anatomical reasons, for example, due to obstruction of the large intestine, or during intussusception - the introduction of one part of the intestine into another, which causes blockage of the lumen. Against the background of complete well-being, the baby suddenly becomes restless, cries, refuses to eat. The attack ends as unexpectedly as it began, but after 3-5 minutes it repeats and intensifies: one or two times vomiting appears with an admixture of green bile. If the stool passes, then blood impurities are visible in it. After 5–6 hours, the stool stops, and bloody discharge comes out of the rectum. At the same time, the baby's stomach is soft. The temperature is usually normal. The child may even lose consciousness. With such symptoms, you need to call an ambulance.
Hirschsprung disease. It is based on a violation of the innervation of the large intestine - the central nervous system cannot control this section of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, processed food accumulates in the intestines. The picture of the disease is quite diverse. If only the short part of the intestine is affected, then constipation forms gradually, and it is possible to do without surgical intervention for quite a long time. When a longer segment is affected, the absence of stool is fraught with a serious condition and immediate surgical intervention is required.
infectious attack. If in the first months of life the baby suffered an intestinal infection, the nerve cells in the large intestine may die, which will lead to a delay in the act of defecation, accumulation of feces and the development of constipation. With dysentery, the so-called toxic megacolon (a sharp expansion of the colon) is possible. The child develops impaired consciousness and repeated vomiting. The abdomen increases sharply due to a greatly enlarged intestine. The complication requires emergency surgical care.
Problems with the CNS. Injuries during childbirth and the syndrome of infantile cerebral palsy also affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, as they are associated with various complications, such as impaired swallowing, regurgitation, and vomiting.
Vasculitis. Vascular inflammation extends to the nerve plexuses and sensitive cells located in the intestinal wall.
Disorders in the work of the endocrine system. With hypothyroidism (lack of thyroid function), the movement of contents through the intestines slows down. With dysfunction of the parathyroid glands, constipation occurs due to a violation of mineral metabolism, with diabetes mellitus it becomes the result of damage to the nerve plexuses of the intestine or dehydration of the child's body.
Medical constipation. Before giving your child any drug prescribed by a doctor, carefully read the instructions. For example, anemia remedies containing iron can cause constipation. Observance of the rules of intake will help to avoid it - directly during meals, reducing doses of iron when introducing foods with a high iron content into the diet - buckwheat, apples, greens. Particular attention should be paid to constipation resulting from treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, neuroleptics, sorbents and antibiotics, which cause intestinal dysbacteriosis.
Diseases and conditions accompanied by constipation are not so common in infants. Many pediatricians do not immediately remember them. Before getting to the truth, they prescribe a lot of unnecessary drugs, forgetting about effective bowel examinations, such as x-rays.
Constipation in children at 3 months: how to help a constipated baby
Number of views: 41 720
Date last updated: 09/22/2022
Normal or pathological? Types of constipation Why constipation can occur What to do in case of constipation in a child
As soon as a small child appears in the house, a small child usually captures the attention of all adult family members. However, even surrounded by the care of his father and mother, the baby is not immune from digestive problems. Colic, gas, regurgitation - this is not a complete list of what, most likely, any parents will encounter at least once. One of the most common pathologies associated with the gastrointestinal tract of children at the age of 3 months is constipation.
Constipation involves prolonged retention of stools, high stool density, painful defecation. But how to distinguish this condition from the usual stool retention, which does not require medical intervention?
Normal or abnormal?
Constipation is not always determined by the frequency of bowel movements. An important role here is played by the nature of the feces (with constipation, it is hard, fragmented, often has an unpleasant odor) and the presence or absence of painful sensations. This can be determined by the behavior of the child - unreasonable crying, straining during defecation, painful grimaces when touching the stomach, refusal to eat and restless sleep are characteristic. In addition, constipation manifests itself differently in babies who are breastfed and artificially fed.
Normally, an infant has up to 5–7 bowel movements per day, depending on the frequency of feeding. A single stool retention for 2-3 days is not a pathology and does not require medical intervention. However, if the absence of stool lasts longer or its frequency is 1-2 times a day or less on an ongoing basis, the baby should be shown to the doctor.
The "artificial" feces are thicker, the frequency of bowel movements can be 2-4 times a day in the norm. In infants fed formula milk, stool retention for a day or more is already considered a problem. It is worth remembering that artificial baby food in itself is one of the factors that provoke constipation.
Types of constipation
Acute. Acute constipation in children 3 months is the absence of bowel movements for several days. This condition can develop due to obstruction of the colon, various intestinal infections. Acute constipation may be accompanied by vomiting, high fever, bloody discharge. This pathology requires urgent medical attention.
Chronic. Chronic constipation develops over time and is a systematic retention of stool. Usually such a diagnosis is made by observing the child for a long time, at least several weeks.
Why constipation can occur
Constipation is not an independent disease - usually it is only a manifestation of some pathology or malnutrition. In children of 3 months, stool retention may be the result of anomalies in the development of the intestine, inflammatory processes, and medication. If the baby is bottle-fed, the problem may lie in the lack of the necessary substances in the mixture. Constipation in infants in most cases is associated with malnutrition of the mother - she should eat more fruits and other foods that have a laxative effect, reduce coffee, tea, sweets and starchy foods.
What to do in case of constipation in a child
First of all, in case of signs of constipation, it is necessary to contact the pediatrician observing the child. He will find out the causes and prescribe treatment. If constipation is not associated with a serious pathology, you can help the baby in the following ways:
give the child bottled water. It can be drunk from a sterile syringe without a needle or from a spoon. Even a small amount of water that has entered the intestines will soften the feces;
massage the tummy. This procedure can be performed immediately after drinking, but before feeding. Massage is done in circular motions clockwise without pressure;
do gymnastics. Exercises effective for constipation are the usual alternating flexion and extension of the legs;
immerse the child in the bath. The baby can be immersed in warm water for a few minutes, then wrapped up and placed on the tummy for self-massage of the intestines.
One of the ways to relieve constipation in a child is micro enema MICROLAX ® single local action. In the absence of contraindications, it can be used from the first day of a baby's life. The components included in the composition of microclysters contribute to the softening of feces, their soft and painless removal.