There may be chances that your infant is passing stools infrequently or with great difficulty. However, this is not always a sign of something being amiss. Excessively infrequent and hard stools indicate that your baby is not only hungry but may also be constipated. But this is one trend that is often seen in formula fed infants.
Symptoms Of Constipation
Infrequency of bowel movements in isolation is not a sign of constipation. This maybe your baby’s normal pattern. It is generally seen that after the first month itself bowel movements become lesser and some infants defecate as infrequently as once in five days. Constipation is indicated when stools are hard and pellet like.
Other symptoms of constipation in infants are anal fissures. These fissures are caused when the stools are difficult to pass through the rectum. The anal area may also become inflamed and red. Fissures may cause the stools to become blood stained. Babies may experience gastro-intestinal disturbances like excessive gassiness and bloating. Babies become cranky and irritable when constipation is accompanied by pain.
Constipation may last momentarily for a few days or may become chronic.
Causes Of Constipation In Infants
Not getting enough fluids in the form of water and milk may be one of the reasons. A sudden illness that causes the appetite to decrease may be another cause. Sluggish digestion and insufficient activity may make it difficult for the infant to pass stools. Anal fissures may cause pain and bleeding, compounding the problem of constipation.
Treatment Of Constipation In Infants
Constipation that is momentary and does not cause acute distress is usually not something to worry about. As a mother you should trust your instincts and report a more serious condition to the doctor especially if there are anal fissures and bleeding. The doctor will check the infant properly to rule out any abnormalities of the digestive tract. Chronic, long lasting constipation can be treated with certain changes in the infant’s diet.
You can introduce certain foods to ease constipation only after consultation with the doctor. Give the baby 50-60 ml of orange or apple juice. This can be given with a spoon, bottle or even a dropper for very small infants. Prune juice is another option.
Dissolve some fennel seeds and ajwain in half a cup of water and leave it over night. With a spoon, feed this solution to your baby. It relieves constipation and also reduces colic.
Give the baby fibrous fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas and soups with an assortment of vegetables in it. In slightly older infants, cut back on dairy. Milk can however be given.
Other Treatment Options For Constipation In Infants
Regular abdominal massage can soothe the tummy and aid indigestion. Massage the baby with warm olive or coconut oil. Small infants can be exercised by moving their legs as if on a cycle. This helps food to get digested. Glycerine suppositories may be prescribed for your baby to help him or her defecate.
Constipation should be addressed as soon as possible otherwise it can cause fissures and impacted stools. The baby will be acutely distressed. A pattern may get formed which will also lead to difficulties in toilet training in later years.
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