Constipation is not only a problem of adults. Even infants can develop constipation and this usually worries parents and put them under lot of pressure. This condition is accompanied by pain and several more symptoms and the baby cries all the time. Parents do not know what to do and they become anxious even more watching their child suffering.
Constipation is a common problem in infants and it can be easily noticed since parents change baby's diapers and have insight in baby's pooh. If baby does not defecate frequently or there is absence of stool for longer period of time he/ she is most definitely suffering from constipation.
Symptoms of Infant Constipation
Constipation is infrequent bowel movement followed by hard stool. Defecation in constipation cases intensive pain. Sometimes people have infrequent bowel movements and yet they do not suffer from constipation. But, if a baby does not defecate for a longer period of time and has some of the following symptoms he/ she is definitely constipated.
Apart from infrequent and painful bowel movements baby's stool may contain blood. There may even be direct bleeding from the anus. Furthermore, the baby loses appetite and there is consequent weight loss. Some babies suffer from vomiting and majority of them are irritable and cranky.
Causes of Constipation in Infants
Constipation rarely affects breastfed babies. Mother's milk is of particular structure and is rather easily digested and most commonly does not cause constipation. Constipation may occur if baby is shifted from mother's milk to formula or cow's milk. Another cause of constipation is low intake of fluids. Furthermore, constipation may develop once the baby is introduced to solid food. Digestive system of an infant requires time to adapt to any kind of dietary changes. Constipation can also occur during potty training when infants refuse to pass stool and hold it back. Intake of food low in fibers is another cause of constipation. Even intake of certain foods may lead to constipation. And finally, certain medications administered during different illnesses may cause constipation.
Treatment for Infant Constipation
First thing a parent should do is to change infant's diet. If a baby eats solid food the diet should include fruits and vegetables since they represent an excellent source of fibers. Moreover, infant needs to drink plenty of fluids. And if the cause of constipation is formula, parents should change it.
Some infants can benefit from certain medications such as glycerin suppositories. Babies who have severe pain may be prescribed enema. No matter what medication is administered it can be only prescribed by a pediatrician.
And finally, to help the child to pass the stool parents should perform exercise and massage. Moving baby's legs as if he/ she is cycling may be of great help in loosening of the stool. Warm bath followed by tummy massage is also recommendable.