Baby Constipation: How to Identify Constipation and What to Do

Being a new parent can be amazing and very scary. You’ll watch and listen for your baby’s every sound and move. So, it’s easy to get scared by, sometimes, the simplest things. Since we’re all about bowel movements, we did some research on constipation in babies and want to share what we found.

*Please note: Do NOT use fiber supplements and fiber powders to treat constipation, diarrhea, and bloating in children younger than 6 years old.

First: Identify Constipation in Your Baby

Parents are the best ones to identify a change in their babies bowel movements.

Parents know their infants more than anyone. So, you are the best judge to determine if their bowel movements are not as frequent. To check, ask yourself:

  • Is my baby having less frequent bowel movements than usual?
  • Does my baby’s stool look like hard little pebbles [Consistency is the biggest indicator over frequency]? 
  • Is my baby more fussy than usual when trying to have a bowel movement?
  • Does my baby strain for more than 10minutes without any results?

What is straining?

Straining happens when trying to pass a bowel movement. If you’ve ever been through the experience of constipation with no luck, then you know what straining is.

Also, it’s important to note that babies grunt for their first few months. So, if your newborn is grunting don’t be alarmed. This is their way of trying to pass a bowel movement since their stomach muscles have yet to develop.

“A newborn who grunts usually passes soft stools.”

This means grunting is not the same thing as constipation. 

Second: The Cause

It's important to first identify and know the signs to determine if your baby is experiencing consitpation
Studies have shown babies who consume breast milk, are less likely to have diarrhea and an upset stomach.

If you believe your infant is constipated, there could be a couple reasons. 

If you are breastfeeding, “Breastfed babies are less likely to have diarrhea and upset stomach” than compared to babies who are formula fed. This doesn’t mean breastfeeding is the better option if your infant is already used to formula. Keep in mind, with formula your baby will more likely experience constipation. 

Another reason, if you are breastfeeding and believe your little one is constipated, it may be the diet of the parent. Although, this isn’t typically the reason. What you eat still affects them when you’re breastfeeding. So, a simple diet change could help!

In addition, not receiving enough fluids like milk or water can impact your infant’s bowel movements. Just like you! Read all about how water is digestion’s best friend here!

Third: Remedies

First, , we recommend contacting your pediatrician.

There are a few home remedies that can alleviate your infant’s tummy troubles. First, if they are formula-fed, try switching to another formula. 

Second, try movement. We’ve talked about how movement is great for digestion in this blog post. So, it will also help your little one! To do so, have your baby lay on their backs with their knees up. Then do bicycle motions with their legs. The movement should help get their digestive system moving and grooving. 

Third, if your baby is eating solid foods or puree foods, make sure to include some high-fiber foods like:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Prunes
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa 

The Bottom Line

As the parent or guardian, you are ultimately the best person to determine if your baby is experiencing constipation. Afterwards, we recommend contact your pediatrician before trying any of the remedies on your own.

We do NOT recommend using fiber supplements or powders on children younger than 6 years old.

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