One of the less glamorous parts of raising a baby is dealing with their bowel movements. While you will have to clean plenty of dirty diapers, there is also a chance that your child may experience constipation. While your baby may go some time without having a movement, if they go too long, then you may need to help them along. If your baby is constipated, then there are ways that you can help baby poop. Today, we will discuss nine tactics that you can use to assist your child in their time of need.
Why You May Need to Try and Help Baby Poop
Keep in mind that it is not unusual for a baby to go a few days or even a week without having a bowel movement. However, if this happens on a regular basis, then it can become a problem, and you may need to intervene.
The issue is that constipation is the result of the tightening of the large intestine, which prevents the stool from leaving the body. The problem is that the longer the stool stays in your baby's body, the drier it gets, and after a while, even if your child is able to go to the bathroom, the process can be very painful. When it hurts, your baby may try to hold it in longer, and the problem can only get worse.
If your baby experiences occasional constipation, then you can try the tips we will discuss below. However, if your baby has a trend of constipation, especially as they get older, and they experience severe pain or steady pain for over two hours, then you should call your pediatrician for advice.
Be Aware of the Signs of Constipation
In addition to a lack of a bowel movement, there are other signs that your child may be experiencing constipation. You may need to try and help baby poop if you notice that:
- Stools are consistently large.
- Stools are consistently small or pellet-like.
- You can tell that your baby is in pain because they strain or grunt in pain.
- You see blood on the outside of the stool.
- There is liquid waste leakage between bowel movements.
- Baby’s belly is hard or painful to the touch.
Causes of Constipation
Even if your baby is not experiencing constipation now, it is important to be aware of how constipation can develop so you can modify your child’s daily routine and avoid constipation whenever possible. Causes could include:
- Low fiber diet
- A recent change in diet.
- Baby has just started eating solid foods.
- Your child has been eating excessive amounts of yogurt, milk, or cheese.
- Even though it isn’t a definite cause, a diet with a lot of bananas, cereal, applesauce, pasta, and bread can cause constipation.
9 Steps To Help Baby Poop
If your baby is experiencing constipation and they need your help, then there are several tactics you can try. You don't necessarily need to try every step below or do them in the same order. However, these are great methods that you can try to help your baby pass their stool and feel better.
1. Try Exercising Your Baby
The first step that you can try is to help your baby exercise and see if it will loosen them up and stimulate their bowels. Young babies won’t be able to move a lot on their own, but you can help them in this regard.
You can help your baby to exercise by laying them on their back and moving their legs to copy the motion of being on a bicycle. In many cases, this step can do the trick.
2. Get Them Hydrated
Your baby is likely getting enough hydration via formula or breast milk to get them through a normal day. However, when they are constipated, then they may need some extra hydration.
Try adding a small amount of water to their breast milk or formula. This change could help to loosen that stool.
3. Try Fruit Juice
If water doesn’t work, then consider fruit juice. Try adding a small amount of fruit juice to their typical beverage. This change could help to loosen that stool. It is best to use 100% apple or prune juice because if the juice has sugar, then it is harder to digest.
Consult your pediatrician before you give fruit juice to your baby for the first time to ensure that it is okay. While you are on the phone, ask them about the current consumption issue. If you are given the approval to give your baby juice, then consider this modification to their diet during months 2-4 of the baby’s life to prevent an issue.
4. Give Baby a Warm Bath
A warm bath can do wonders for your baby for many reasons. When it comes to constipation, sitting in the bathtub can help to relax their abdominal muscles, which can help your baby to not strain so a movement can come easier. The bath can also relieve some of the pain associated with a tough bowel movement.
5. Make Specific Dietary Changes
As mentioned, it can be certain dietary changes that could bring on the constipation issue in the first place. While there are some usual culprits, like cereal and applesauce, sometimes, you may not know the exact issue. If your baby is experiencing constipation, then you can make appropriate changes depending on where your baby is on their food journey.
If your baby is breastfed, then the mother can make some changes to her diet so that she passes on helpful foods to the baby. Start by eliminating dairy and see if it helps. If not, then do the process of elimination to see if it makes a difference.
Consider changing to a different kind of formula if your baby experiences constant constipation. Keep trying new formula options until you find what works. You may be tempted to try dairy-free formula, but don’t do so until you speak to a pediatrician.
Babies That Are Eating Solid Foods
If your child is currently on solid foods, then try mixing in some foods that are high in fiber content, as that can ease things along. Foods that can do the trick include broccoli, peaches, pears, plums, and whole grains.
6. Massage Your Child
Another way to help baby poop is to massage their stomach. You can do that by using your fingers to make circular clockwise motions. Another idea is to hold the baby’s knees and push them gently toward their stomach.
7. Try A Stool Softener
If your baby is at least one year old, then you can try to use a stool softener like Miralax. You should be conservative with your dose, typically only giving 1-3 teaspoons with dinner. The stool softener won’t work immediately, but you should see results within 3 days.
8. Try a Rectal Thermometer
As one of your last options, consider using a rectal thermometer. You won’t be taking their temperature, but you will follow the same movement. The point is that by inserting it, you may be able to loosen the stool and help it to pass. Only try this technique sparingly, as doing it more than once can actually make constipation worse. If you find that this is the only method that allows your baby to poop, then seek professional advice.
9. Contact the Pediatrician
If you have tried some or all of the other methods above and they are not working, then it is a good idea to contact the pediatrician. You can tell them the exact scenario, and they can provide guidance.
As you can see, there are several steps and tips that you can use to help baby poop when they need it most. Just remember that occasional constipation is typically not a cause for concern. However, if you need help, then try the advice discussed here and speak to your pediatrician. We wish you the best of luck!
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