Constipation is often a very unpleasant experience for a baby and for parents. Babies who are just drinking formula milk are not likely to have constipated as the liquid stays soft. But once you begin introducing solid foods and other protein sources, you’re more likely to have a constipated baby. That is because sometimes the proteins in powdered formulas are different and cause the liquid to be hard. You also don’t know what might be causing the constipation. So you’re left guessing.
A constipated baby usually has many symptoms. If you notice your toddler always gasping for air when he wakes up, he probably has toddler constipation. He could also have a hard time swallowing. If you see that his bottom comes out at night, he probably sniffs the pillow before he’s completely awake or he’s had a big sleep and he’s bloated.
Your baby could also be constipated if he doesn’t take in enough liquid during the day. A diet lacking in fiber may be contributing. Usually constipation is worse at night, so it’s harder to determine exactly how much liquid your baby should be taking each day. Your pediatrician can help with recommendations based on age, weight, and frequency of feedings. For constipation that has no obvious reason, however, he’ll probably recommend a trial of a new diet designed for infants.
Many first-time parents are surprised to see that toddler constipation are common. Some toddlers are constipated only occasionally. They might feel a little bloated and a little like they need to urinate but they still don’t seem like they need to. Other toddlers are constipated all the time. Their poop almost always smells bad and they seem uncomfortable when they need to go. You may wonder why pooping becomes such a problem for your baby, but it’s a natural part of growth.
If your baby seems to be constipated more often than normal, talk to him thoroughly about it. He may want to try a new milk-based formula instead of water, and he may also prefer a different formula made by a different company. Try to introduce at least one new food item every two weeks so that he gets a chance to try them. Even if he still has constipation problems after six months, you’ve provided him with another opportunity to learn that he needs to consume less liquids.
Weaning is another possible cause of constipation in babies. Weaning is the process of removing breast milk or infant formula from a baby’s diet as he becomes ready to accept solid foods. Experts advise that wean children between four to six months old before introducing solids. Introducing solid foods before this time can cause constipation and other gastrointestinal problems, so wait until after the baby is weaned.
The lack of fiber in the mother’s diet has been associated with insufficient amounts of good bacteria in the digestive system, so even though a baby is being weaned, the parent should provide her baby with plenty of fiber. In addition, experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months after weaning to ensure that babies receive all the nutrients needed. At six months, experts believe that baby’s intestinal tract has formed a strong connection with its mother, which helps him to absorb her nutrition. He will not need to eat solid foods, but he will probably take in a lot of breast milk, which provides calcium and other important nutrients.
Constipation in babies can be very uncomfortable, frustrating, and stressful for parents, but there are solutions. Most of these problems can be cleared up by providing good nutrition and encouraging regular bowel movements without stressing the child out. However, if constipation continues or worsens, it could be a sign of more serious problems, such as a bowel obstruction. If you have concerns that your baby is suffering from constipation, contact your pediatrician immediately, and do not delay treatment. Waiting too long could cause intestinal blockage that requires surgery to remove the obstruction.