When your baby isn’t feeling well, it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is wrong. Is it gas, a tummy ache, or possibly constipation? If you think your baby is constipated, here’s some information to help guide you on what to look for and how to respond.
How Can I Tell if My Baby is Constipated?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Has it been three or more days since your baby’s last bowel movement?
- Is your baby straining or do they appear to be in pain while pushing?
- Is the baby’s belly firm and painful when you push down on it slightly?
- Is your baby refusing to eat?
- Are you finding hard, dry stools in their diaper?
What Can I Do if My Baby is Constipated?
- Move the baby’s legs in a bicycle motion while they’re laying down to help loosen the stool in the digestive tract.
- Using your fingertips, massage gently but firmly two inches below their belly button towards the lower left side.
- For babies at least four weeks old, you can add apple or pear juice to their breast milk — an ounce per day for each month of life (e.g. a three-month-old baby can have three ounces). For babies four months old or older, you can add a little prune juice to their formula or breast milk. Babies older than eight months can have six ounces of juice a day to treat constipation.
- Reduce the amount of certain solid foods you give your baby. Foods like rice, bananas, and cooked carrots can contribute to constipation. Replace those foods with more fruits like prunes, apricots, and pears to help loosen the stool.
What Can a Doctor Do for a Constipated Baby?
If all else fails, it may be time to take your baby to a doctor. And that’s ok. Never be ashamed to go to the emergency room when you don’t know what to do. You can never be too safe. Doctors are better equipped to administer a glycerin suppository that will help your baby have a bowel movement. They can also recommend different types of foods and formulas to prevent or alleviate constipation.
Your baby may also have fissures, torn skin around the opening of the anus caused by hard or large stools. Because fissures can continue to cause your child discomfort even after the constipation is gone, ask the doctor what you can do to treat that area as well.