More than nine out of every ten babies will have at least one bout of stomach problems before the age of 2. An infant’s digestive system is still developing. It often takes time for babies to adjust to solid foods and a regular stooling routine. Here are the most common causes of stomach problems in infants, and home treatments you can try.
If your baby is constipated, the baby will probably be uncomfortable and maybe even a little fussy. It can be normal for constipation to happen whenever the baby’s diet changes. This can happen with a newborn who is new to the world and learning how to poop and also to a baby who is moving to solid foods.
SYMPTOMS OF BABY CONSTIPATION
Since a baby doesn’t need to poop every day, it can be hard to tell if baby is constipated or not. Here are some signs your baby might be constipated.
- Bowel pattern changes
- Straining more than usual to poop
- Fussy behavior
- Stool gets hard or loose and watery (instead of soft and mushy)
- Belly seems bloated or swollen with gas
- Appetite decreases
- Painful cramps
- Baby is suddenly not sleeping well
HOW OFTEN SHOULD BABY HAVE A BOWEL MOVEMENT
There is a wide range of what is typical for baby poop. It can even change through the course of your baby’s life. Some will poop after every single feeding and others will be more like once a week.
The frequency of poop can also change during a growth spurt. It is common for baby to poop less during a growth spurt.
It is wise to keep a dirty diaper count so you know how often your baby is typically pooping. If you do not have it written down, it can be hard to know you for sure know the bowel habits of your infant.
CAUSES OF INFANT CONSTIPATION
There can be many things that cause constipation. If baby has some signs of constipation, you might want to consider of any of these are true:
- Change in baby’s diet
- Moving from breast milk to formula
- Starting solids
- Not getting enough fluids
- Eating too many foods that can block or slow bowel movements (like rice cereal or bananas)
- Medical issues (thyroid, metabolic disorders, nerve issues, etc.)
HOW TO RELIEVE INFANT CONSTIPATION
The good news is that there are lots of home remedies you can to do to stop constipation.
- If baby is old enough to drink water, give baby water to help increase fluids
- Gently rub the tummy to stimulate a bowel movement
- Bycicle baby’s legs – move baby’s legs in a bicycle motion
- Give baby a warm bath – this can help relax baby
- Feed bran cereals and high-fiber foods (oatmeal, wehat, or barley)
- Give baby 100% fruit juice to help (pear, prune, cherry, or apple). For 1-3 month olds, stick to pear or apple juice and do just once ounce a day per month of age (so 2 month old = 2 ounces)
- Focus on fruits and vegetables that help baby poop (prunes, pears, peaches, and peas)
- Use a glycerin suppository if you have tried the above ideas for a few days
- Talk to baby’s doctor. Some additional options your doctor might approve include laxatives, baby mineral oil, or enemas
WHEN TO CALL THE DOCTOR
When you have tried the above remedies and baby is still constipated after a few days, call your baby’s pediatrician.
You will also want to call if your baby is vomiting from the constipation or if your baby is in extreme pain. If you see blood in the stool, this is also a time to contact the doctor.
HOW TO PREVENT CONSTIPATION
There are a few ways to help prevent constipation. One is to pay attention to the diet. Do not over-feed foods that cause constipation. Make sure you have variety in the diet and include foods that help keep bowel movements flowing.
You can also help your baby keep physical motion going that helps baby be able to pass stool. If your baby seems prone to constipation, make this part of your baby’s day.
Independent playtime is also a big help. Many babies prefer to have a bowel movement while alone, just like older people do. Some time alone each day can help keep baby regular.
Gripe water is something else that can possibly help keep bowel movements regular.