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What is constipation?

Some babies go to the toilet more often than others but if your baby is in constant discomfort and has hard stools that look like small round “pellets”, then they are likely to be constipated.

Causes of constipation

  • Constipation is often more frequent with formula milk. This is because it is not so easily digested by the baby’s tummy.
  • Introducing solids is often a time when babies get constipated. Their bodies need time to adapt to new foods and often there is not enough water or fibre in their diet.
  • Dehydration is a major cause of constipation. Baby poop is just like everyone’s and if it lacks water it will be harder to pass through the bowel.
  • Illness is also a common cause. If the problem persists be sure to seek medical help.

Treating constipation in babies

  • Be sure to always provide plenty of fluid with your baby’s meals.
  • “Cycle” the legs as if they pedalling a bike. This can help their muscles in the intestine to move the poop along.
  • Massage the tummy. Again this can help get things moving.
  • Include fruit juice when the baby is old enough. Fruit juice helps get water into the lower bowel and makes stools softer.
  • Increase fibre by including pureed fruits such as blueberries, apricots, apples and grapes. A small amount of breakfast cereal such as instant oats might also help.

Do not worry if the problem is not immediately solved. Constipation is not likely to be serious unless it is untreated for some time. If in any doubt visit your doctor and remember to increase your own fibre intake as well. Children learn a lot of their dietary likes and dislikes from their parents. Make good choices and pass them on!

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