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How to Treat Constipation in Newborns.
Constipation can be a serious problem for newborn babies.
Left untreated, it can cause a bowel blockage that might require surgery.
Constipation in a newborn can also be a sign of a more serious medical problem.
That’s why it is very important to know how to spot constipation in your newborn and how to treat it.
Luckily, there are a number of measures you can take to alleviate your baby’s constipation.
Spotting the Signs
Look for signs of pain during your baby’s bowel movements.
If your baby exhibits signs of pain while trying to have a bowel movement, it could be a symptom of constipation.
Look if your baby makes painful faces, arches their back, or cries while trying to have a bowel movement.
Keep in mind, however, that babies often strain during bowel movements because their abdominal muscles are underdeveloped.
If your baby strains for a few minutes and then produces a normal stool, then everything should be okay.
Keep track of your baby's bowel movements.
An indication of infant constipation is long periods without a bowel movement.
If you’re concerned, try to remember when your baby last had a bowel movement.
Write down whenever your baby has a bowel movement if your are worried your baby may be constipated.
It isn’t uncommon for babies to have several days in between bowel movements.
Typically if your baby doesn’t have a bowel movement after five days, this could be a cause for concern, and you should contact your doctor.
If your baby is less than two weeks old, contact your doctor if it has been more than two to three days between bowel movements.
Examine any stools that your newborn passes.
Even if your baby produces stool, she still may be suffering from constipation.
Look for the following characteristics in your baby’s stool to determine if she may be constipated.
Small, pellet-like pieces of stool.
Dark-colored, black, or grey stool.
Dry pieces with little to no moisture.
Watch for any signs of blood in the stool or on the diaper.
A small tear in the sensitive rectal wall may have occurred from your baby forcing the passage of a hard stool.
Treating Infant Constipation
Increase your baby’s fluid intake.
Constipation is often caused by a lack of fluid in the digestive tract.
Offer the breast or formula more frequently than you have been, up to every two hours.
Use glycerin suppositories.
If dietary changes aren’t effective, you can try using a glycerin suppository.
This is gently placed into your baby’s anus and helps lubricate stool.
These are only meant for occasional use, however, so do not administer a suppository without first speaking to the baby’s healthcare provider.
Try massaging your baby.
Try massaging your baby’s tummy in a circular motion close to their navel.
This may offer some comfort to your baby and help promote a bowel movement.
Try bicycling their legs to see if this helps.
Give your baby a warm bath.
This may help him to relax enough to allow the passage of stool.
You can also try placing a warm face cloth on your baby’s tummy.
Visit your doctor.
If any of these remedies don’t help your baby’s constipation, you should take them to the doctor right away.
Constipation can cause a blockage of the bowel, which is a serious medical problem.
Constipation in a newborn can be a sign of a other serious health problems.
Your baby’s doctor will perform a full exam and can prescribe a treatment that will alleviate your baby’s constipation.
Seek emergency medical care in serious circumstances.
Constipation can be a serious problem if paired with certain symptoms.
Rectal bleeding and/or vomiting can indicate a bowel blockage, which is a life-threatening condition.
If your baby exhibits constipation with these symptoms, visit the emergency room as soon as possible.
Other concerning symptoms include:
- Excessive sleepiness or irritability
- Swollen or distended abdomen
- Poor feeding
- Decreased urination