As a mom, you’ve probably seen and experienced almost everything with your baby. Whether it’s green stool or a full load of pee when changing diapers, the topic of bladder and bowel emptying probably doesn’t bother you as a tried and tested parent. So it’s time to deal with the unpleasant area of constipation in babies! Excruciating abdominal pain, a hard tummy in the offspring and the ever-empty diaper: These are indications of an unpleasant condition that can occur even at an early age – constipation. Of course, a baby cannot communicate the problem. That is why it is difficult to “diagnose” the presence of constipation in the offspring. The causes of hard bowel movements and irregular bowel movements are also varied. However, there are home remedies for constipation that are suitable for babies and quickly make the problems disappear.
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Causes Of Constipation In Babies
Classic causes of constipation in babies, as in adults, are rooted in nutrition. Thus, the ingredients of baby porridge are not always tolerated equally, the stomach and intestines react sensitively to the food. During the changeover from breast milk to baby food or due to the first feeding of complementary food, hard stools and similar problems are therefore not uncommon. In general, babies who have never been breastfed are more sensitive to formula and replacement foods than babies who have been breastfed. A food allergy also sometimes announces itself by constipation in the baby. Maybe your little darling is affected by wheat intolerance? In addition to the compatibility of the ingredients, incorrect preparation of the baby food can also have a negative effect on the intestinal activity. If water with a high lime content was used for preparation, hard stools in the baby are a typical consequence.
Constipation In The Baby Due To Injuries And Illnesses
Sometimes your baby has tiny injuries to the anal mucosa that cause pain during bowel movements. Because of small fissures or tears, your offspring holds back bowel movements. This can result in constipation in the baby. Food poisoning or a congenital condition such as Hirschsprung’s disease, in which there is a malfunction in the intestines, can also be causative. However, these cases are rare.
Dehydration As A Cause Of Baby Constipation
Is your baby teething and is it difficult to breastfeed or otherwise absorb fluids? Or is there a throat infection that makes it difficult for your offspring to swallow, which is why he or she has drunk too little? Then dehydration could be present. Due to the low fluid intake, especially in connection with baby porridge, hard stools may occur.
Constipation In babies: Psychological Causes
Like digestive problems in adults, those in babies and young children can develop due to psychological causes. Babies unconsciously notice stressful situations such as a move, changes and quarrels in the family, or settling into a daycare center. Some react to this with physical problems such as constipation or diarrhea. In the case of toddlers, there is an additional stressor: after they have become dry, they deliberately hold back their bowel movements for longer so as not to interrupt play with other children. This can cause constipation to develop.
Identifying Constipation In Babies: Difficult Challenge
Of course, with crying babies, it’s difficult to determine where the shoe pinches. Is the bowel to blame for the baby’s discomfort? You can recognize constipation not only by the absence of bowel movements, but also by feces in the following consistencies:
- Hard stool
- Dry stool
- Bloody stools
In constipation, hard stools are more likely than soft ones – but very slimy stools are also sometimes an indication of constipation in the offspring. In this case, the baby cannot empty the intestine, the hard stool remains in it too long and becomes soft again through fermentation.
Other symptoms that indicate constipation in the baby are:
- A hard belly
- A sore bottom
- Loss of appetite
- Pain expressed by tightened legs towards the abdomen
Changed Frequency Of Bowel Emptying: Not Always An Indication Of Digestive Problems
The frequency of your offspring’s bowel movements also gives you an indication of possible constipation in the baby. It is normal for freshly born, few-week-old babies to empty their bowels several times a day. In the course of time, the intervals can increase to one or two days. So you don’t have to worry right away on a day with empty diapers. The frequency of bowel movements also varies greatly from baby to baby. If there are no bowel movements on the following days or if one or more of the above symptoms occur, you should monitor your baby closely and, if in doubt, consult a doctor.
Constipation In The Baby – When Should I Go To The Doctor?
If the baby’s constipation occurs recurrently and sometimes without a recognizable trigger, you should consult a doctor. The same applies, of course, to long-lasting constipation and digestive problems that noticeably affect the baby’s life. If your baby acts as if he or she is in a lot of pain – cries and screams more often or pulls his or her legs towards the stomach – you should definitely not wait to see a doctor. The doctor can check whether there is a physical cause for the baby’s constipation that requires treatment. Typical illnesses that announce themselves with constipation at an early age include intestinal stenosis or thyroid dysfunction.
In addition, diabetes mellitus can become noticeable early on with digestive problems. The actual constipation can be treated with medications prescribed by a doctor that are suitable for babies. Usually suppositories or suppository-like agents are used. So-called mini-enemas gently soften the hard stool in the intestines and thus act like an enema. There are also tasteless active ingredients that are taken orally. In contrast to the classic laxative, which actively promotes bowel emptying, these are usually stool-softening preparations for babies. From around two years of age, active ingredients such as Movicol Junior, which bind fluid in the intestines and increase stool volume, can be administered. As a rule, however, an attempt is first made to eliminate the constipation with home remedies and an adapted diet.
Why Seeing A Doctor Is Important For Persistent Constipation
Hard bowel movements that recur or persist over the long term can, in rare cases, be an indication of serious illness or hereditary diseases. These must be ruled out by a medical examination. For example, the hereditary bowel disease Hirschsprung’s disease is a possible diagnosis. In addition to constipation, typical symptoms include flatulence and loss of appetite, as well as viscous stools that are often “pencil-shaped. If your baby suffers from this disease, the doctor will recommend surgery. If hard stools and constipation persist, they could become a chronic problem for your baby and later for the adult.
Affected people often have accompanying symptoms such as fatigue and exhaustion. The risk for depression also increases. Furthermore, an undiagnosed underlying disease behind the constipation can cause problems. This must be ruled out by a visit to the doctor.
Active Against Constipation: Home Remedies For The Offspring
If you notice constipation in your baby, you can take countermeasures early on with home remedies. Massages, exercise and heat are among the popular measures.
Circular Massage Against Constipation: Home Remedies Without Risk
Gentle circular movements over baby’s tummy can help to stimulate digestion, which has become unbalanced. There are special oils that you can use for a baby’s tummy massage. One of them is warm caraway oil. Even without oil, your offspring will benefit from this typical home remedy for constipation.
From the baby’s point of view, you should start the massage on the lower right side of the belly and make circular movements clockwise around the belly button so that you end up on the lower left side of the belly. A massage is not only possible on the belly, but also on the anus. For this, use warm baby oil, which you also massage in circular motions.
Another good idea is to actively involve your baby in the “fight” against constipation. You encourage him to make leg movements while lying on his back (similar to riding a bicycle). In the best case, this gets the bowels going and playing together is fun, too!
A Warm Bath: The Relaxing Constipation Home Remedy
Warmth is a popular home remedy for constipation. That’s why it’s time for your baby to take a bath! A baby bath at a pleasant temperature can stimulate bowel activity and loosen hard stools. After the bath, you can perform the massage described above and, through this typical home remedy for constipation, additionally help with the regular bowel movements of your offspring.
Caution: Avoid These Home Remedies For Baby Constipation
There are home remedies and remedies for constipation that promise relief for adults, but are taboo for your baby. These include preparations such as psyllium husks or rotten bark. The benefits and risks here are in an unbalanced relationship, due to the side effects they should not be used in babies and young children.
Constipation: Home Remedies Are Followed By Homeopathy
If home remedies do not help with constipation, you can also treat your baby’s hard stools homeopathically. Globules, the small balls against various ailments, are also applicable against constipation in the baby. They are administered orally. So that your darling does not swallow the globules, you should carefully fill them into the cheek pocket of your offspring. The globules will remain there safely until they dissolve and can unfold their effect in the body. Different globules can be used for constipation in babies. Depending on the consistency and color of the stool, a different one is suitable.
Prevent Constipation In The Baby
Even if constipation in babies does not affect many babies in general: You can protect your offspring twice by paying attention to a few things.
Support Fluid Intake
The right amount of fluids can help with digestive problems. Of course, it’s difficult to get your baby to drink when he or she is suffering from a toothache or sore throat. Nevertheless, you should try to give 140 milliliters of fluid per kilogram of body weight. This applies to babies up to the age of one. Later, the amount needed drops somewhat, to 120 milliliters per kilogram.
Choosing The Right Food
If you want to introduce your baby to complementary foods, you should wait until at least 5 months of age. If the time is too early, the baby may experience hard stools or constipation. The type of complementary food is also important: Making baby food yourself is great. Here you have an overview of all the ingredients. High-fiber fruits such as apples, strawberries and grapes support the healthy intestinal activity of your child. On the other hand, avoid foods known as “constipating,” which include bananas and sugary foods like chocolate.
Tip: After the introduction of complementary food, it is particularly important for your baby to drink more fluids. This ensures that the porridge does not settle and that hard stools cannot develop. As your children get older, you should also make sure that you cook as balanced and healthy a diet as possible.
Respect Mealtimes And Rest Times
A regular, well-structured daily routine promotes equally regular bowel function. Make sure that your baby’s feeding times remain the same every day. The same applies to rest times. These are important so that your baby’s body can convert the nutrients into rest. This prevents hard stools and constipation.
Exercise As A Home Remedy Not Only For Constipation
Lots of exercise is a popular home remedy for constipation, but it should also be incorporated into your baby’s daily routine as a preventative measure. Encourage your child to romp more often and let him or her romp regularly, for example crawling around and actively exploring the environment. But when do babies actually start crawling?
A sluggish body is the ideal prerequisite for a sluggish bowel, which tends to cause constipation. Conversely, hard stools are less common in active babies and children.