Constipation basically means difficulty in passing stools. Usually constipation is related to the frequency of bowel movements of your baby. But, remember that the frequency of stools can commonly vary in case of every individual baby. It will depend upon the age and the food given to your baby. Constipation in breastfed babies is a rare problem. The stool is softer in case of breastfed babies as compared to formula-fed babies. If your newborn has firm stool once a day or has difficulty in passing stools, then he/she is constipated. Blood blotches, very hard stools which might make your baby cry and cause noticeable discomfort in him/her are common signs of constipation. Here are some details on what causes constipation in babies.
Change in Diet
Babies are used to the breastfed which their body and digestive system can easily take-in. In case of sudden changes in their diet, especially introducing solid foods, can cause constipation as their body is not used to it. Even a switch from mother's milk to formula or cow's milk can lead to constipation in some babies. Sometimes giving your baby excess of dairy products can also lead to this problem. Baby food consisting of fruits and vegetables like bananas, applesauce, cereals, white potato might also be a cause. Remember solid foods must include the rich in fiber. Lack of fiber in baby food is one of the prominent causes.
Less Fluid Intake
If there is lack of or insufficient fluid consumption by the baby, it can lead to constipation. Giving your baby enough amount of water, several times during the day is essential. Also giving water between the feds is very essential in case of formula fed babies. The more the fluid intake, easier the bowel movements will be.
Another answer is some health problems in your baby. Sometimes the colon is slow moving. There might be some obstacle in lower gastrointestinal tract causing constipation. Also, a tumor might physically block the stool passage. A low residue diet might also be a cause because it will produce less stimulation than what is required for the colon to trigger its function. Cystic fibrosis can be a cause.
Anal stricture or imperforate anus can lead to constipation. Food allergy can be another cause, including allergy to formula-fed. A tear in skin around the anus can make your baby uncomfortable and he/she will further try to hold on for longer due to the pain it causes.
You should try to avoid those things that might be causing problem in your baby's routine. Make sure the fed is given properly in terms on quantity and variety. Confirm from your pediatrician the right age to start solid food and also when to switch on to formula. For constipation, treatment can include having a list of foods and fluids that must be included in your babies diet and those which should be avoided from you pediatrician. In case your child is on formula-fed and suffering from constipation you can opt for another baby formula and notice the change. Remedies include giving prune juice. Giving a lot of water throughout the day is very essential. Also, it is best to take your baby to a pediatrician as soon as you notice any discomfort in his/her regular movements or if he/she cries during bowel movements.
We saw what causes this frustrating health condition, but in some cases there might be an underlying health condition causing this problem. So it is recommended not to ignore constipation as a common problem. You can always try the home remedies, but in case the problem persists or increases you must take your baby to a pediatrician and seek help.