Constipation In Babies

What are the symptoms of constipation in babies? What should I avoid while treating it?

As parents, we all worry about our children when they become sick. We want to make sure they are getting the right foods, the right treatments and that they will be well in a relatively short period of time. This, along with the onslaught of worrying and tension, is the norm when it comes to parenthood.

So what do we do to make sure our babies (or whatever stage our children have reached) are receiving the best possible care? First, you need to determine what is wrong with them. For example, what may look like a cold to you could actually be an ear infection. It is best to get a doctor's or medical professional's opinion before jumping into any type of remedy or treatment.

We will be talking briefly about constipation in this article. Many parents confuse this determination with a baby's natural bowel movements. Some babies only have one movement per day or one every few days - according to medical professionals, this is perfectly normal. Without the proper resources or conversation with a pediatrician, many parents jump to the conclusion their child is constipated.

How does a parent determine their child is constipated? The following is a brief list of possible symptoms (for a more detailed analysis, speak to your health care professional) to check your baby's diaper for:

- soiling between movements (a large stool with leakage around it)

- blood in or on stools

- passing hard and sometimes painful stools (grunting and straining is normal in babies and is often mistaken for this)

- stomach ache relief after a large bowel movement (generally difficult to ascertain with babies)



What do parents do if they find one or more of these symptoms?

- verify with a visit to your health care provider

- continue to breast feed

- if your baby is over six months of age, give them more fruits and vegetables

- give between one and three ounces of water in a bottle or sippy cup

- increase your child's activity

- add one teaspoon of All Bran that has been softened using breast milk to your baby's cereal

- one ounce of prune juice mixed with two ounces of water once per day

What should parents avoid when treating their children for constipation?

- laxatives

- mineral oil

- suppositories

- enemas

- one ounce of prune juice mixed with two ounces of water more than once per day

I gathered all this advice from my health care provider. Your child's health care provider may have different ideas about how to treat their constipation. The advice given here is being presented for your information only. It is not meant to replace any advice you may receive or may have already received from your child's health care provider.

Some points parents should remember:

- it is unusual, but not impossible for constipation to occur in breast-fed babies

- babies who are fed formula are not more likely to become constipated

- the number of babies drinking iron-fortified formula in relation to those who are not does not affect the chances of a child becoming constipated

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