True constipation is often more difficult to detect than diarrhea. Infrequent pooping is not necessarily a symptom of constipation as for some babies, pooping only twice a week can be normal. Babies who are truly constipated will poop very infrequently and off of their “regular” schedule. Their stools will be very hard and might also have a very tar like texture. If a baby is truly constipated, then she will have a lot of discomfort and difficulty when she is struggling to pass these stools. She may grunt, groan and even show signs of pain. Just remember that infrequent poops are not necessarily a sign of constipation but very hard and painful stools most likely indicate that your baby is indeed constipated. Here are a few simple remedies that you might try to get things moving again. Believe it or not, simple exercises may help to relieve baby’s current bout of constipation. These exercises are appropriate for babies of all ages:
Tummy Massage – Gently massage and rub baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction. Place your hands at baby’s navel and massage in a circular motion, moving your hand(s) out and away from the center of baby’s belly.
Warm Bath – Some medical professionals suggest that giving your constipated baby a warm bath might be extremely helpful. The thought is that this may help relax baby and relax her bowels as well. Why not give her a tummy massage as you are drying her too?
Bicycle Legs – Place your baby on her back and lightly hold her legs in a half-bent position. Gently begin to move your baby’s legs as if she is riding a bicycle. Alternate the Bicycle Legs with Tummy Massage.
Bicycle Legs also may help to relieve a baby who is gassy.
Relieving Constipation in Babies Younger than 4 Months:
You can try giving your baby approximately one to two ounces of diluted fruit juice daily until her bowels get back to normal.
Fruit juices such as pear, apple, or prune offered twice daily should have baby’s bowels back to regular in a day or two.
When using juice to help alleviate constipation, be sure not to overdo; you want to ensure that baby still has plenty of room to fill her tummy with breast milk and/or formula. You should also continue to practice some of the exercises previously mentioned as the combination of juice and exercise tends to work very well together.
It is important that you always consult your pediatrician about the appropriateness of any new foods and juices that you may use to help ease your baby’s constipation.
Relieving Constipation in Babies 4 Months to 12 months:
Offering your baby strained foods that are high in fiber will help put her bowels back on track. Feeding fruits and veggies such as apricots, prunes, peaches, plums, pears, peas, and even spinach will add some fiber to baby’s diet which is important to help maintain bowel regularity. If your baby has just begun to eat solids you may want to avoid foods such as rice cereal, applesauce and bananas as these foods are known to cause and/or further aggravate constipation. The foods mentioned above as well as barley or oatmeal cereals and most vegetables are preferred foods when a baby has constipation. Juices can also be particularly helpful with easing constipation in older babies but please be sure to use them in moderation. Juice is not as nutritious for babies as formula or breast milk, and you don’t want to fill baby’s tummy with so much juice that he won’t have room to meet his daily milk requirements.