I remember the first time when B got constipated. He was less than 2 months then and hadn’t had a bowel movement since more than a week. Doctors say its normal for exclusively breastfed babies to not poo for upto 12 days. Sounds crazy in the adult world but apparently its normal in babies. Hmmm…
Breastfed babies are rarely constipated as breast milk is almost 100% completely digested and utilized by baby’s growing body. Breast milk leaves little “leftovers” to cause constipation. Many breastfed babies do have infrequent bowel movements however this does not mean that they are constipated.
What causes constipation in babies? The common reasons are:
1. Introducing solid foods in the infant’s diet
2. Diets low in fiber (i think this was the cause for B’s constipation..my diet!)
3. Diets of excessive dairy products
4. Foods such as bananas, breads, cereals, pasta, white potatoes also cause constipation
How to treat constipation in babies?
There are many things you can do to help relieve baby’s constipation. You can change baby’s feeding pattern and/or engage in some physical exercises.
Tummy Massage – Gently massage and rub baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction. Place your hands at baby’s navel and massage in a circular motion, moving your hand(s) out and away from the center of baby’s belly.
Bicycle Legs – Place your baby on her back and lightly hold her legs in a half-bent position. Gently begin to move your baby’s legs as if she is riding a bicycle. Alternate “Bicycle Legs” with Tummy Massage. “Bicycle Legs” also help to relieve a baby who is gassy or colicky. This is the most common exercise i made B do then, after every diaper change!
A Warm Bath – Some medical professionals suggest giving your constipated baby a warm bath. The thought is that this may help relax baby and “get things moving” again. Give a tummy massage as you are drying baby.
Diluted fruit juice – 2 ounces of diluted prune or apple juice twice daily for babies under 4 months.
Change the food diet – For babies 4 months+, try adding more fibre in their diet. Try strained foods such as plums, prunes, apricots, peaches, pears, peas, spinach. For older babies, add barley or oatmeal cereals too!