Once you have a baby, some things you never thought would be important become the most important thing. When was the last time the baby pooped? Your baby’s poop can tell you a lot about them; if the baby is breastfed versus formula fed, or what they have eaten if they are digesting their food appropriately. Some parents will find themselves immersed in their baby’s poop. When did they poop? What color is it? or How runny is it? These questions sound disgusting and frankly, it can be. Unless you have a baby that just doesn’t seem to have a regular bowel movement.
So what is constipation? It isn’t just lack of going. It can be having trouble going, uncomfortable going, hard stools, black or bloody stools, or the absence of going once every five to ten days. Not going every day does not mean that your baby is constipated. Breastfed babies tend to absorb the milk almost fully into their bodies. This way, you won’t have anything to worry about them not having a bowel movement. When your child is a bit older and eats solid food instead of just breast milk or formula, you should look for bowel movements at least three times a week. The stools will be hard and difficult for them to pass. If so, then your child is constipated.
One of the biggest reasons your child is constipated is due to their diet. It can be when an infant is being introduced to new foods and they are trying to learn to digest food. Or, this is when the child gets a little older and they don’t have enough fiber in their diets. On the other hand, if there isn’t enough fiber and there are a lot of processed foods in the child’s diet, this can cause constipation as well.
Another reason for constipation is withholding of going to the bathroom. This can happen if your child has had a particularly painful bowel movement and they just stop themselves from having another one backing up their system. Your child not wanting to go to the bathroom may be due to potty training. If they have had bad experiences in potty training and they just don’t want to go on the toilet, they can hold in their bowel movements causing their system to get all backed up. Even in potty training children getting them to use a public bathroom may be difficult. Making sure they feel at ease wherever they need to go is important.
A funny saying is vacation constipation, that can even affect adults. Being away from their regular bathroom can cause discomfort making it harder for you to have a bowel movement. This can affect children as well. Getting a child out of their normal routine or using a different bathroom than they are used to can cause them to have vacation constipation. Even the change of going to school or preschool where they are somewhere else for long periods of time during the day can trigger a child to be constipated.
You may be able to just blame your family. If there is a family history of constipation the likelihood of your child to be constipated increases. This can be because of the shared genetics, or even just because you share the same environment. Not everyone has the same bowel movement schedule.
Sometimes constipation can lead to a diagnosis of an underlying illness or disease. Constipation usually is nothing to worry about but if your child has other symptoms along with constipation you may want to speak with your doctor. Constipation can show a metabolic or digestive system problem, or other serious GI (gastrointestinal) problems.
Constipation is very common and can usually be managed with home remedies. With your children it can be as easy as to make sure they keep their fluid intake up. Water is always so good for your child. If you notice that even with water your child still is constipated on occasion you can try having them drink 100% juice either prune, mango, or pear. Try to keep their diets high in fiber and low in fatty non fiber foods. Make sure that adding in the fiber foods you do slowly so not to cause too much gas and bloating. Make sure your child is getting enough exercise. If they are a toddler make sure they are getting their running and playing out of their systems during the course of the day for at least thirty to sixty minutes a day. If the body is moving so are the bowels. Be encouraging and as positive as you can with your child when they are going through potty training. Also you can help them by setting a schedule. Same time every day to go to the bathroom and have your child sit for ten minutes. Whether they feel like they have to go or not you can almost train your child’s body into associating these times of sitting and relaxing with when they are supposed to go to the bathroom. You can put a stool under your child’s feet to help them get some leverage to push. If that doesn’t work you can take some medicines. Miralax in the correct dosing once a day can help your child be able to have normal bowel movements. Also sometimes if your child is on medication for something else a side effect could be constipation. If this is the case you can review with your doctor if change in medicines or doses is acceptable.
There will be a time in your child’s life when their poop isn’t everything anymore. When they are tiny though it does seem to be the main focus behind how much they have eaten and how much they have slept. Constipation is common and is usually not something you need to be overly concerned about. There is a lot you can do at home to help ease your baby’s belly to relieve the constipation. If the home remedies do not work though make sure to talk to your child’s doctor. There may be an underlying problem that you weren’t aware about. Typically though it’s just that everyone has different bowel movement schedules.
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- 1Diet is one of the main factors of your baby’s constipation.
- 2If your child has had a discomforting experience in bowel movement, they may stop themselves from going again.
- 3A change in routine can trigger a child to be constipated.
- 4Shared genetics and same environment can cause child constipation.
- 5Sometimes constipation can lead to a diagnosis of an underlying illness or disease.
- 6Child constipation can be managed with home remedies.
- 6There will be a time when constipation wouldn’t be your child’s problem. There are things you can do to ease the problem.
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