7 Signs The Baby Is Constipated And 7 Ways To Treat It

How much do Moms love their little babies? It's probably safe to say to the moon and back. Prior to having a baby, most Moms can't fathom what loving a baby will be like. We may envision it as powerful and special, but when we see that helpless little being in our arms for the first time after delivery, we feel such utter and complete love and joy. A part of our soul is in their little face and we are never quite the same again. There will never be a time when it'a just us and what we want again. Our child’s needs will forever rank up there, and we will not have it any other way.

When the baby is healthy, it's just one more thing to be grateful for in spite of a rough day at home or at work. But when the little one is sick, there is just nothing worse in the world. Even when we're sick it's not as bad as watching our little baby suffer! Anything from a cold to fever to more serious ailments and the world stands still and not in a good way. We want to do everything we can to keep them healthy, happy and safe. Most babies are quite resilient and make out alright in their first year. But there are some common baby problems that do occur. Fortunately, there are ways to help our little ones through the discomfort. One of the most common ailments that plague little ones (and their Mommies), is constipation. But how do Moms know if it's constipation and not something else? Well, here are 7 signs that baby is constipated and 7 ways to treat it which can help babies along:

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14 Sign: Baby Is Crying And Showing Discomfort

Usually right before a big poo is about to come, Mom will see baby making faces, carrying on, and just seeming really off. If she is like most Moms, she will check baby’s temperature and look to see if she notices spots on his/her skin or anything else out of the ordinary. Then all of a sudden, she may think: when was the last time they pooped? It sounds to be a funny question at first, but bowel irregularity can cause so many problems. There is pain, discomfort, and cramping. to name a few. Let’s not forget that baby can't tell us what he/she is feeling. They only know that they are uncomfortable and need relief. Once Mom notices this and does a mental calculation of how many days it’s been since baby has had a bowel movement, then she can try out many of the following techniques to get nature flowing in the right directions again.

13 Treatment: Increasing Fiber With Fiber Rich Cereal

Why do babies get constipated? Well, think about it. The first solid foods we usually start them on is rich cereal due to the fact that it's bland and easy to digest. The thing is though that rice constipates, so the poor little one’s system can take a hit on occasion. As soon as Moms see that baby can handle rice cereal, it's a good idea to introduce other cereals like oatmeal and bran which have the fiber their little bodies need to stay regular. Babies, like us, can also get off track due to sleep difficulties, viruses, and any other kinds of changes in their body or their environment. What’s a Mom to do? We need to be ever vigilant and watch for the signs of constipation. Then she can do trial and error with many of the following things to see what will work. As she will learn, baby will respond to many different things.

12 Sign: Baby Has Dry, Hard, Pellet-Like #2

Sometimes this step comes right after the first point. If shortly after baby is visibly uncomfortable due to cramping, crying, and other physical symptoms, and does have a bowel movement and the stools are hard, dry and pellet like, that is when Mom knows that the culprit was constipation. The poor little baby isn't able to tell Mom what's bothering him/her. They can’t speak, and even if they can it's hard to articulate stomach pain. This is one of the main times Mom will learn to be a great detective and try to decipher her baby’s cues as to what is bothering them and making them feel bad. When she notices these kinds of symptoms, she must perform some of the next steps in order to help baby get relief. Mom is the only one who can help with this as others will not know what baby is going through. Even after seeing the evidence, Mom may not know that it's constipation. The next few points will explain how to help.

11 Treatment: Fresh Fruit And Vegetables

Another great thing to try in helping get rid of constipation is giving baby more servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Sprinkle them in baby’s other food and on snacks like yogurt, or pureeing it on its own, or as they get better at chewing and digesting, Moms can give them small pieces to manage on their own, but always under supervision. Things like grapes or chopped up veggies can be choking hazards. It's important that Mom is there to make sure baby can handle the pieces and that they are small enough to chew. Fresh fruit and vegetables will not only help alleviate constipation most of the time, but they taste good and will help fuel baby’s growing body with more energy and health, so they can continue driving Mom crazy and keep them running around! It's a good idea to keep a steady flow of this kind of food in the house.

10 Sign: Fewer Than Three Bowel Movements A Week

It's important to make sure that baby's discomfort is indeed from constipation and nothing more serious. Not that constipation is fun, but we do want to rule out something that may need medical attention in the hospital. For constipation, it can be treated at home. If Mom sees that baby has had less than three bowel movements during the week she can be suspicious that she needs to take measures to handle constipation. This means looking at ways to make baby clean out his/her system so that he/she can be comfortable. It's not unusual for baby to have weird looking stools and not have bowel movements every day, but the frequency should be more rather than less; in other words, more than the average three times a week. Coupled with fussing and crying this would definitely signal a problem with baby’s stomach.

9 Treatment: Increase Baby's Liquid Intake

Another thing to help with constipation for big and little people, is liquid increase. Depending on the age of the baby, doctors may recommend mixing water in juice or water in milk or even giving them water separate to their milk diet. If baby is drinking formula, doctors may recommend water in between feedings but not in the formula. Not putting the right amount of milk powder in the bottle can cause baby to be dehydrated. This is often what causes constipation. Other options may be trying a different formula brand, too. Speak to the doctor to make sure. This again depends on baby’s age though. It’s important they are getting nutrients from milk and foods and not too much sugar, which is why if juice is given, it is usually given mixed in with water so baby is consuming less sugar. The good thing with added liquid as well, is that baby has more energy to move around and exercise. Exercise will in itself help stimulate the bowels and get things going. It’s important not to force baby to move when he/she is in pain. Think of how an adult would feel. All in moderation will help baby’s system go back to normal.

8 Sign: Baby Has Foul Smelling Wind And #2

Oh yes. Another dead giveaway to constipation in little babies are the fact that baby has foul smelling wind and poo when it does happen. This most certainly points the finger at constipation as the culprit. As baby gets older and toilet trains, a parent can direct them to the washroom so most of the smell will not be a problem. At this young age, however, as babies are not toilet trained, they could care less about offending Mom’s smell sensibilities. They will generally pass wind, and will really not be affected by the smell of their poo until many years to come. At first when they even do discover it, they will be fascinated by it and maybe even want to play with it. But then, that’s another article completely. It's important that when Moms and Dads see or rather smell this sign, they know immediately to jump into action helping with constipation.

7 Treatment: Massaging Belly

This is another great tool - to either massage the child’s belly with circular motions or the child’s back gently in the same way. Hey, who would not love a message anyway, right? But all jokes aside, massage is not only relaxing, it's therapeutic and could help move things around so that digestive issues can be cleared up naturally and pain free. This is also a great tool to use for Mommy/baby bonding. The power of human touch is so restorative and healing even for us adults. Our children crave our touch, and this is something Moms can carry through even after baby’s digestive issues clear up. But in the meantime she can introduce baby to this great tool for relaxation and physical relief of constipation symptoms. Another plus? It will help Mom stay calm and relaxed. A Mom can’t give a proper massage without benefiting from its zen results. There are many Mom/Baby massage classes where Moms can learn the art of this with professionals. It may be something beneficial for her to check out.

6 Sign: Loss Of Appetite

If baby who is normally a good eater with liquids or solids is all of a sudden not wanting to eat or is not eating well, Moms can take this as a sign that baby is experiencing constipation. If the look of food is making them cry or get upset, or if they are pushing food away and look unhappy, we can safely guess that don't want to eat because they're experiencing discomfort in the bellies and abdomen. There are many other reasons why baby could be experiencing loss of appetite, but once those are ruled out, Mom needs to consider it can be something as simple as constipation affecting baby’s desire to eat food and drink liquids. All baby knows is that the thing they love and need is, at that moment, making them sick. It's normal then that they push food away, even if it seems counter intuitive to them and to us.

5 Treatment: Lifting Legs Gently To Stimulate Bowels

This is a really effective tool to help with more severe constipation. Many Moms have used this on their children. It looks a little strange and at first baby may protest having their legs gently pushed back over their heads and moved in circular motions. A good idea would be to make a game of it. In a sing song voice Mom could gently move the legs back telling baby what she is doing. Mom could also sing songs to baby and make a game out of it with doing a little peekaboo. “I see your legs, now I don’t,” kind of thing. As always, Mom will be using her instinct to see how baby is responding and what works best for him/her and makes them as comfortable as possible while this is being done. At the beginning baby will have discomfort with this move, but if he/she associates it with a game this will make it go over a little better. The best motion is a bicycling one. This helps move the hard poo through the intestine.

4 Sign: Hard Belly

Oh yes. The hard belly, and we mean hard like a rock, will usually signal constipation right at the gate. Sometimes baby will be crying or fussing, and sometimes they will give Mom no indication whatsoever. It’s safe to say if a Mom notices baby’s hard belly though that it means baby’s tummy is having a major backlog. As Moms get more experience they will be able to read baby’s signals better too, and understand just what they're feeling, thinking and doing. This will lead Moms to see that baby does indeed have digestive or other issues going on. Again, Moms should rule out anything more serious with baby’s pediatrician, but after that is cleared up she can safely bet that she has things under control for now in that she knows what the problem is, and then she starts finding solutions. Moms all become experts at that.

3 Treatment: Stimulating The Area

Another natural method to try if none of the above have worked for baby, would be using a rectal thermometer to stimulate the area. This is called rectal stimulation as it usually gets things moving in the rectal area after the thermometer is inserted once or twice gently in the bum. Contrary to how it sounds and what Mom does, babies usually don’t’ protest this as long as Moms are gentle when inserting the thermometer. Most Moms are gentle anyway, as none of them want to risk anything that could harm baby. This will usually stimulate the area, and baby will end up having a bowel movement a hour or so later. Sometimes it takes longer for nature to take its course so Moms must be patient. In time her little one’s system will be back to normal, and she will be kept busy and on her toes running after or tending to them as it should be.

2 Sign: Trouble Sleeping

If baby is exhausted but is having trouble falling asleep, alarm bells need to go off in Mom’s head. This means that baby is not feeling well and the cause needs to be determined. If baby does not have a fever, a visible rash or is not doing anything else out of the ordinary, Mom has to stay nearby to see what happens next. It may be constipation and other signs will start to emerge that could point the way to what she needs to do first to alleviate baby’s pain and discomfort. Mom could give baby liquids, calm them down with cuddling and holding, and try to get them to bed as soon as possible. After a good night’s sleep baby’s stomach may clear up on its own. If not, at least Mom will have all the other mentioned strategies for constipation.

1 Treatment: Special Baby Laxative

At this point if Mom has tried all of the above and baby is still constipated, this means that the constipation is more severe than the usual experience. After an examination, the baby’s doctor may prescribe a special baby laxative such as macrogol or lactulose. Mom would be administering this strictly as stipulated by the doctor and the instructions on the package. The important thing is to make this the last resort as it is best to help baby’s system get rid of waste naturally and without any chemical intervention. It's not good for baby to become reliant on a laxative relieving them of constipation. Chances are that one if not most of the above remedies would work very well for baby to unblock their stomachs and soon they will be back to their normal level of activity. Mom too will be back to her normal routine with a happy baby.

So as long as Moms are attuned to the physical and psychological signs that their babies are sending them, they now have all the necessary tools to help baby if they are experiencing constipation. When baby is relieved of pain, so is Mom. Then they can both go back to the fun parts!

Sources: Baby Centre UK, Parents, Media Cache, Baby Care Mag

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