Published: 11/06/2015 - Updated: 07/13/2016
There are a lot of things that can cause a baby to become constipated, but one of the most common reasons is introducing solid foods into their diet. That’s why it’s important that you take a look at their diet as well as the frequency and type of bowel movement they have, in order to tell if your baby is experiencing some sort of digestive problem.
Some signs of possible constipation in your baby include infrequent bowel movements, which could sometimes even takes days to occur, as well as hard and dry feces. These are both clear signs of constipation.
Causes of Constipation in Babies
Mother’s milk is the best food for baby. Generally babies will not experience any problems with constipation while drinking mother’s milk exclusively. This is because the mother’s milk is easily digested. However, whenever you start to give them solid foods, babies could experience problems with constipation, primarily because of the following reasons:
- Consuming certain foods, like apples, bread, pasta, bananas and potatoes could cause constipation in some babies.
- Lack of dietary fiber.
- Too many dairy products, like yogurt or cheese.
Fortunately correcting constipation caused by any of these reasons simply requires a change in diet.
Massage to relieve constipation
Constipated babies can be irritable, uncomfortable, and cry a lot. If the problem isn’t fixed quickly, it could become worrisome for the baby’s health.
Massage 1: Lay the baby on his back, placing one hand on his belly just under the ribs. Gently stroke the abdomen downward. Then, placing your other hand just below the ribs, repeat this movement. Switch your hands around for about one minute. You could also use a bit of cream or baby oil made for babies, making sure it is a hypoallergenic product.
Massage 2: Lay your baby on her back. Spread a bit of baby oil on your hands, rubbing them together to warm the oil. Place your hands just above her belly button and massage in a circular motion, clockwise, moving farther outward as you continue. Cover your baby’s entire belly, and repeat the process 3 times.
Exercise to stimulate intestinal movement: This isn’t a massage, but this exercise could be quite useful for fighting constipation in babies. Lay your baby down on his back, and grab his little ankles. Gently bend them forward toward his belly, making sure not to force it too much. Move one leg at a time, as if he were riding a bicycle. This can also help alleviate gas in babies.
The easiest way to solve this problem when it is related to food, is to make a food dietary changes so as to improve her digestion.
Change her formula: If your baby drinks exclusively baby formula and has not eaten any solid foods, most likely she doesn’t tolerate the milk very well. You’ll have to change her formula. It would be a good idea to see her pediatrician for a recommendation on what is considered best for your baby.
Increase fiber consumption: Dietary fiber is left undigested from the body. It aids digestions and makes bowel movements optimal, with volume to the feces. To prevent constipation, you need the correct balance between liquids and fiber consumption. If your baby has normal but infrequent bowel movements, they might need a little more dietary fiber. We recommend eating fruits and vegetables like apricots, pears, broccoli, beans, etc.
Make sure your baby is hydrated: If you’ve already started including solid food in your baby’s diet, you need to give him enough liquids, like fresh water, apple juice, or other juices that promote digestion, like plum juice.
Avoid grains and purees: Interestingly enough, we’ve started to think that baby food should alleviate constipation, but if she has hard and dry feces, some ingredients in certain baby food products and purees could produce negative results. This is the case in apple puree with pectins. We also recommend avoiding baby food made from whole grains, and rather choose refined grains like white rice.
Some experts recommend giving your baby a warm bath to stimulate intestinal movement. You could add a bit of chamomile infusion to the bath water to help her relax. You should also take advantage of your time to dry her off to give her little belly a massage.
If your baby’s constipation symptoms do not improve, or if they experience recurring bouts of constipation, you need to see the pediatrician for an evaluation.
It’s also important to avoid the usage of laxatives that have not been approved by specialists, including natural products.