Constipation is common in babies as they adjust to different foods and different types of milk. Constipation makes it difficult for babies to produce stools and it can cause them severe pain and discomfort.

Causes of constipation

There may be many different causes of constipation in babies; common causes include:

  • Formula milk: formula milk is harder to breakdown and digest than breast milk
  • Solid food: starting your baby on solid foods can change their bowel habits temporarily while they adjust to digesting new types of food
  • Dehydration: if your baby isn’t getting enough fluids they may find it difficult to go to the toilet because their faeces will be harder and therefore more difficult to pass
  • Illness: occasionally, illnesses such as food poisoning or an allergy may cause constipation

Symptoms of constipation

By the time you have changed a few months worth of nappies, you will be familiar with your baby’s toileting habits so you will probably notice any changes; common symptoms of constipation include:

  • Crying when passing wind or before going to the toilet
  • Hardness in the abdominal area and tummy
  • Small, hard faeces
  • Nasty smelling wind
  • Loss of appetite
  • Raising the legs towards the tummy (this may indicate your baby is suffering with abdominal pains)

Treating constipation

Constipation can usually be treated fairly quickly by giving your baby plenty of water between feeds, stimulating their digestive system by gently massaging their abdomen and moving their legs in a bicycle motion and giving them dilated fruit juice drinks.

Guide to NewBorn Health

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Birth Defects