I think every new mother gains a whopping amount of knowledge about baby poop as the months... or even years lol.. pass. But at the start of this motherhood journey, I knew practically nothing about it. So here's what I've learnt and found useful so far with regards to constipation in babies. Hope new mums who are Googling worriedly right now because their baby hasn't pooped in days, will find this post useful :)
Firstly, frequency is not a reliable indicator of constipation. Infrequent stools are not necessarily a cause for concern as long they are soft and the baby does not have pain passing the stool. Especially before starting solids, Myla Rae would go days without pooping. If I remember correctly, the longest she had ever gone without a poop was 5 days. And it's normal for some young babies and newborns who are breastfed to go up to 8 days without poop. So don't worry!
You'll know if your baby is constipated because constipated babies will experience pain and discomfort during bowel movements. They will look like they are having a tough time straining to poop. Some might even cry. The poop itself will look harder and drier than normal, often like small dry pellets or round marbles.
When she was younger and I was less experienced about managing constipation, Myla Rae has had some horrifically hard poops to pass... the kind that scared me. Thankfully, we have never had a bleed or tear! Though... I've heard that is not uncommon as quite a few of my friend's have had their young babies passing such hard, dry stools that you see a little blood or even slight tears (fissures) in the delicate skin near the opening of the baby's anus (OMG so heartpain!). If that happens to your baby, you can apply some aloe vera lotion to the area to help it heal. And keep the area as clean and dry as possible.
If constipation gets too bad and your baby isn't eating, loses weight, or has blood in his stool, please see a doctor. They can recommend a stool softner or an enema.
Here are my tips for avoiding constipation in babies using natural ways, so hopefully you can help your baby avoid the discomfort and pain that comes with constipation.
There are 2 things that a good soft poop needs. Fiber AND water. Lots of people make the mistake of increasing the fiber in a baby's diet thinking it will help them poop. But additional fiber will only make the stools even harder and drier if water intake is inadequate! Offer your baby water regularly, especially on a hot day.
If your baby is under 6months old or hasn't started solids yet, the usual advice is that they cannot have water on its own. (Although, on a few occasions, I did give my baby sips of warm water when she was under 6 months old).
2. Don't dilute milk!!!
A lot of parents think it's okay to dilute the milk formula in order to prevent constipation. It's not ok!!! Especially not for a young baby. Milk formulas have a specific recommended dilution ratio to ensure your child gets the maximum nutrients from it. It is better to feed your child extra water in between feeding times instead. You can read more about the roles and functions of your child's digestive system and also how Friso's LockNutri preserves nutrients in natural form making it easy for your child to absorb. I picked up a lot of good tips on baby's digestive health from that site.
3. P vs. B
Certain types of solid food are more likely to trigger constipation. These are usually B foods like bananas and bread. Other foods can help prevent infant constipation, these are usually P foods like prunes, peaches and pears.
My baby loves bananas and wholemeal bread. She will chomp down really fast. While these are great foods for active toddlers, I don't let her have them everyday. Moderation is key.
Myla is wondering why I'm bicycling her legs (for this demo shot), I only used to do this (A LOTTTTT) when she was a young infant. lol
Now that's she's an active toddler, we face a lot less constipation. But before she was crawling, I found that low activity levels can lead to constipation. Infants often need assistance if you think they are not getting enough exercise.
Grasp the baby's lower feet and gently move the baby's legs in a bicycling motion if the infant is not yet crawling. Bringing the infant’s legs up and down can help the intestines work.
A gentle belly massage can help ease constipation. Out of habit, I still do this till today. After her bath, before I put on her diaper. I place 3 fingers across her stomach, and massage in a clockwise direction, with gentle pressure. When she was constipated, I would do this massage while she was lying on her changing mat trying to poop, I swear it helped her to push her poop out. And so does lifting her legs to her chest.
I also use Telon Plus oil for this massage, it is slightly warming and comforting and keeps mosquitos away. I tried Ru Yi oil when she was younger but it burnt her belly skin Eeek!
This has so far been one foolproof method to avoid constipation (apart from bananas and durians... too much of those make her constipated). She eats quite a lot of fruit now, and loves it... and thus is seldom constipated. But when she was younger, whenever she hasn't pooped the whole day, I would increase her fruit intake (and also pray lol)... and to my delight, I am greeted with a very wet poop filled diaper that evening or early the next day. Watery fruits like watermelon, kiwi, dragon fruit... works the best for her.
Hope that these easy tips to add to your baby's daily routine will help ease constipation or avoid it completely! Do share with us (in the comments) if you have any other tips on maintaining a healthy digestive system. Thanks in advance! :)
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