Constipation is the compactness of stools and the difficulty in passing them out, and rarely referred when the frequency of bowel movements tends to be less than three times a week.
However, if constipation in babies happens, it is a condition where stools become firmer and harder and not the frequency of a bowel movement. The consistency and number of stool vary according to age and depend on a case to case basis.
Newborns tend to have several stools a day and are typically soft, with seedy mustard consistency. This is the character of stool, mostly on breastfed babies.
Formula fed infants usually have fewer, darker and firmer stool. The moment solid food enters the diet, the stool becomes more formed and less frequent.
Babies typically defecate daily. However, other babies may have a bowel movement without difficulty once every three days and still considered normal.
One of the following signs that indicate if a newborn is constipated is a firm stool less than once a day with straining and difficulty expelling out. Another is the occurrence of dry, hard stools with pain during defecation.
The tendency of having hard, pebble like stools passed by a newborn that strains during a bowel movement, with legs drawing up on the abdomen, with grunting and red faced is one of the signs of constipation in babies.
The presence of streaks of blood along the surface of the stool are also a sign of constipation. When a baby feels abdominal discomfort, which goes along with hard, infrequent stools, he could be constipated.
The causes of constipation in babies vary. Normally, when digested food travels down the intestines, absorption of water and nutrients take place, and the waste materials turned into stools. Enough water must remain in the waste material to form a soft stool.
The lower intestinal and rectal muscles must contract and relax to help the stool move and be expelled. If there are not enough water or hydration and the muscle movement is weak, constipation may be experienced by the baby.
This can make them feel very uncomfortable. Hard stools cause pain as it passes through the intestines and out of the rectum. This, consequently, makes the child hold on to defecation.
The longer the stool remains in the intestine, the harder it becomes. The longer the stool stretches in the intestines, the weaker the muscle tone becomes. These all make it more painful and difficult to excrete.
The major factor affecting this digestive health problem is the kind of milk given to them. A breastfed baby rarely gets constipated.
This is due to the fact that breast milk is easily digested. Breastfeeding helps babies have several types of bacteria in the large intestine.
This makes the large intestine capable of breaking down some of the indigestible proteins found in milk. This results to having softer stool, which eventually make bowel movements easier. In addition, breastfed babies have higher levels of motiline.
It is a hormone that helps increase the movement of stool out of the body. The composition of breast milk alters as the baby grows older, which makes it possible to supply the needs of the baby at all times.
In the case of babies who are bottle fed, or those who have formula milk instead of breast milk, they frequently suffer from constipation. It should be known that babies found formula milk harder to digest.
A baby who receives formula milk alone has fewer bowel movements compared to a child who is exclusively breastfed. They tend to have thicker stools, with different, greenish color.
New foods and milk can set off constipation, also, switching from breast milk to formula cow’s milk are most common. As the baby grows, introduction of new foods is normal, which predisposes constipation in babies.
It is advisable if constipation in babies is present and the suspect is a change in milk or food to return to the looser stool diet. It is also advisable for bottle fed infants to consider various milk formulas first and settle for the one that is kindest to the stools. Allot an extra bottle of water daily for babies who are formula fed.
If you want to make your own natural remedy, one of the best natural remedies can be done as followed: put dried plums in a pot, add water and bring it to a boil, cool the water and give your baby to drink it.
It s recommended to use this remedy for babies who are more than six months.