In addition to diet and sleep, bowel movements are also important for babies to stay healthy. Babies are not able to communicate symptoms of constipation on their own, so parents need to keep a close eye on them to make sure they are not constipated. In order to do so, parents need to know the criteria for determining whether a baby is constipated or not, and the right way to deal with constipation.
In this article, we will introduce the characteristics of constipation in babies and how to deal with it.
Are Babies Prone to Constipation?
Constipation in babies is a common occurrence. Many people may have the image that babies have good bowel movements or soft stools, but in fact, many babies are constipated. Babies are said to be prone to constipation because their digestive organs, such as the intestines, are underdeveloped, making it difficult to stabilize the shape of their stools and the pace of defecation.
When is a Baby Prone to Constipation?
There are times when babies are particularly prone to constipation. In these periods, it is important to pay attention to the changes in their physical condition.
During this period, babies spend a lot of time sleeping, which tends to cause constipation due to lack of movement. It is also said that babies who drink formula are generally more prone to constipation than those who drink breast milk. This is because the lactose in breast milk activates the good bacteria (bifidobacteria) in the intestines, which can be expected to smooth out defecation, while formula contains less lactose (or no lactose), which is thought to cause constipation more easily.
Around 2 to 3 months after birth
This is the time when the digestive organs have developed to a certain extent, and stool can be stored in the intestines, which makes it difficult for some babies to get constipated.
When you start weaning (around 5 or 6 months old)
When a baby is weaned, it tends to have less water than when it was only breastfed, and the stool tends to harden. If this hard stool causes hemorrhoids, the child may hold back from defecating for fear of the pain, which in turn may cause constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation and Criteria for Deciding whether to go to the Hospital
The pace at which babies defecate varies greatly from person to person, with some babies defecating several times a day and others only once every two or three days. Therefore, it is not possible to say in general that a baby is constipated if he or she has not had a bowel movement for a few days.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, he or she may be suffering from constipation.
The number of times is decreasing
Different babies defecate at different paces, so it is important to compare their normal frequency. If your baby has fewer bowel movements than usual, such as “he used to have several bowel movements a day, but not today,” or “he used to have a bowel movement every day, but haven’t had one for three days,” it may indicate constipation.
The baby does not want to drink breast milk or spits it back up.
If your baby drinks less breast milk or formula, it may be due to stool in the stomach and loss of appetite. Sometimes, the baby may spit it back up.
The baby is in a bad mood.
If your baby’s stomach is full of stool and he or she is uncomfortable, he or she may be in a bad mood. If your baby is crying all the time even though you have fed her well and changed her diaper, she may be constipated.
The amount of stool is small and hard
The change in your baby’s stool is also a good indicator of constipation. If the amount of stool is small, there may be residual feces in the intestine and not all of it has been come out. Hard stool is also a sign of constipation. If left untreated, it may cause damage to the area around the anus during defecation.
You may not notice when he or she gets constipated easily, however, there are some signs that you can see that they have constipation. So, try to pay attention to it every day to make sure that everything is okay with them.