What Is Constipation?
- Constipation occurs when bowel motions become difficult to pass and leads to pain and discomfort
- Signs of babies being constipated are when their stools are pellet-like, dry or crumbly
- Frequency of bowel motions is not necessarily an indication of constipation. Each baby is different, as some moving their bowels everyday while others only once or twice a week.
When Constipation Can Occur
- Not having enough fluids, particularly during warmer weather
- Formula is made incorrectly, specifically when too much formula powder is added to water
- Change in milk, especially when introducing a follow-on formula or cow’s milk
- Introduction of solid foods.
How To Treat Constipation
- Make sure your baby has enough fluid. Between 0-6 months, bottle-fed babies may require cooled, boiled water in between feeds and breastfed babies may need to be fed more frequently. From 6 months, small amounts of cooled boiled water can be used to supplement breast milk or formula
- For formula-fed babies, ensure correct mixing of formula. Use the correct number of scoops as indicated. Do not pack the scoop, as it both concentrates the milk and always measure the water first then add the powder
- Try laying your baby on their back and move legs in a cycling motion, flexing and extending them
- A gentle massage on the tummy or warm bath may also help relax your baby’s muscles
- Medicine – only when prescribed by a doctor.
What Not To Do
There are some things you should not do to alleviate your child’s constipation. For instance:
- Do not give your baby prune juice if they are under 6 months of age; it has a natural bowel irritant
- Avoid introducing solids before 4 – 6 months as a way to treat constipation
- Do not give your baby laxatives, any medications or an enema, unless prescribed by your doctor.
If you’re concerned about your baby, be sure to seek advice from your healthcare professional.
Constipation is when bowel motions become difficult to pass, and may cause pain and discomfort in babies. Here's some helpful information on the causes, symptoms, and possible treatments