My baby is constipated!
Do breastfed babies get constipated?
It’s not common for a breastfed baby to have constipation, most of the time the constipation in a breastfed baby is caused through introducing solid foods.
Some moms might think their babies have constipation when their babies make weird grunting noises, or pull straining faces, but this is normal, as all babies sometimes have a bit of difficulty getting the stool along through their intestines, even if the stool is runny.
For a detailed explanation on infant stools and different color and texture stools in the breastfed infant… visit our infant stools page.
~ Stool frequency ~
So how often should baby have a poo?
Baby might only wet one or two diapers in the first 3 to 4 days of life…this is until mom’s milk starts coming in.
After moms milk comes in, baby will start to produce quite a few dirty nappies especially urine nappies. Newborn babies under 6 weeks old should be having quite a few poo nappies daily…if you think your newborn might be constipated it's best to go straight to your doctor.
Then the frequency changes again after six weeks, when breastfed babies produce very few poo nappies (sometimes only one every eight days) this is because breast milk is digested completely and much more easily than formula.
After six weeks, if baby is still putting out a few urine nappies every day, seems happy most of the time, has soft stools when he does have a stool, and is gaining weight you don’t need to worry about constipation.
~ The causes and signs ~
Causes of infant constipation in the breastfed baby
- Changes in baby’s diet (adding formula, other liquids or solid foods) Read more on starting solids here
- Illness (contact your pediatrician if your breastfed baby has very hard stools and has not been eating solids)
Signs of baby constipation
- A constipated baby will have dry hard stools
- Constipated babies sometimes have streaks of blood in their stools
- A baby with constipation may start vomiting.
- Baby cries when straining to poo
- Pain in the belly area
- Stools seem like little pellets
Foods that may cause constipation in baby
- Banana and apple sauce
- Rice cereal
- Carrots and squash
- Cow’s milk
~ Remedies ~
What can I do if baby is definitely constipated?
Contact your pediatrician before using any of the following advice
- Breastfeed baby more frequently as breast milk is a natural laxative.
- If baby is older than 4 months you can give him small amounts of pear, peach, plum, peas, prunes or apricot.
- A well know baby constipation remedy is apple juice, it can be given twice a day to soften the stools. Juices should only be given to babies that are older than 4 months.
- You can put baby in a bath of warm water during the times he is straining to pass the stools. This will help him relax.
- Tummy massage can be used to help get the stool pass easier. Read more on baby massage here.
- Move baby’s legs in circular motions. This is especially helpful in constipated infants (newborns)
- If the above things don’t work you can mix ½ tsp of unprocessed bran with baby’s food twice per day. (for babies older than 4 months)
- Put 1 tsp of corn syrup in 2oz of water. This is an effective baby laxative, but should be used only if baby is very constipated, and only after trying the above methods first.
- If you find that the stool is sticking out and hurting baby you can put some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) around and a little on the inside of the anus to help the feces glide out easily.
- If baby has repeated episodes of constipation you should see your pediatrician.
Breastfeeding and colic
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