Feeding and Digestive Issues: Constipation
Just because your baby is having less frequent bowel movements and seems to be straining, it doesn’t necessarily mean constipation. While breast-fed babies rarely get constipated (the perfectly balanced milk always produces soft stool), formula-fed babies can experience this discomfort for a number of reasons, including illness, insufficient fluids or possibly a more serious medical problem.
Signs that your baby is constipated:
- Hard, small and dry stools, possibly with blood
- An increased amount of crying and crankiness
What you can do:
- Ask your doctor about possibly switching formula brands.
- Move your baby’s legs in a circular bicycle-like motion while lying on his or her back.
- Your baby might not stand for this, but try massaging his or her stomach in circular motions. You might feel a firm mass about an inch below your baby’s naval that you can try and focus on.
- Increase the amount of fluids.
- Ask your doctor about a possible over-the-counter solution for chronic constipation.
When to call the doctor:
Before your baby is introduced to solids, there isn’t much you can do besides continuing to feed as normal. Never give any kind of laxative or enema without the pediatrician’s consent. Although it isn’t rare for a bottle-fed baby to be constipated from time to time, call your doctor if:
- This is your baby’s first bout with constipation, just to rule out any other medical condition.
- Constipation is a regular occurrence.
- There is blood in your baby’s stool.