Signs and Symptoms of Constipation in Newborns
Before diving into solutions, it’s crucial to correctly identify constipation in newborns. Although bowel movement frequency can vary among infants, there are certain signs that may indicate constipation:
- Irregular bowel movements: If your newborn has less frequent bowel movements than is normal for their regular pattern, this could be a sign of constipation.
- Hard or pellet-like stool: When stool is dry, hard, and difficult to pass, this often indicates constipation.
- Straining or discomfort: Noticeable straining or discomfort while passing stool may be a symptom of constipation.
- Bloated abdomen: A swollen belly, along with fussiness, could signal that your baby is constipated.
Simple Ways to Help Relieve Constipation in Newborns
Once you’ve established that your newborn might be constipated, you can try several methods to provide relief. Here’s a list of recommended practices:
- Bicycle legs: Gently moving your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion can help stimulate their intestines and ease constipation.
- A warm bath: Soaking in a warm bath can relax your baby’s abdominal muscles, making it easier for them to have a bowel movement.
- Massage: Gently massaging your baby’s belly may also stimulate bowel movements. Use a clockwise motion around their navel.
- Hydration: Ensure your baby is getting enough fluids. Breastfed babies usually do not need extra water, but those on formula may benefit from a small amount of water or fruit juice as advised by a pediatrician.
- Dietary adjustments: If your baby is old enough for solids, offering purees with high fiber content, like prunes or pears, can help.
When to See a Doctor
If you’ve tried home remedies without success or if your baby seems particularly uncomfortable, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional. Some scenarios that warrant a doctor’s visit include:
- Persistent symptoms of constipation over several days
- Visible blood in your baby’s stool
- High levels of irritability or signs of pain
- Poor appetite or difficulty feeding
|Move baby’s legs in a cyclical motion.
|Helps stimulate the intestines.
|Give your baby a soothing soak.
|Relaxes abdominal muscles.
|Gentle clockwise belly rubs.
|Can promote bowel movements.
|Ensure adequate fluid intake.
|Particularly important for formula-fed babies.
|Introduce high-fiber purees if age-appropriate.
|Prunes and pears are good options.
Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Help Newborn With Constipation: Soothing Tips
What Causes Newborn Constipation?
Newborn constipation can be due to formula changes, dehydration, or transitioning to solid foods, among other factors.
How Can I Relieve My Newborn’s Constipation?
Gently massaging your newborn’s belly and bicycle leg exercises can help relieve constipation. Offering a warm bath may also aid in relaxation and bowel movement.
Is It Normal For Newborns To Struggle With Constipation?
It’s common for newborns to experience constipation, especially during dietary transitions, but it should be temporary and manageable with simple home remedies.
What Foods Help Newborn Constipation?
Breastfed babies might benefit if the nursing mother eats prunes or other fiber-rich foods, while formula-fed babies may need a different formula to assist with constipation.
Dr. Leah Alexander, M.D., is a board-certified Pediatrician in New Jersey and has been working at Elizabeth Pediatric Group of New Jersey since 2000. Since 2005, Dr. Alexander has worked as an independently contracted pediatrician with Medical Doctors Associates at Pediatricare Associates of New Jersey.
She also has a passion for culinary arts that extends beyond the medical realm. After completing culinary school at the French Culinary Institute, she started Global Palate, LLC, a catering firm, in 2007. She ran her own catering company for six years and served small group parties as an owner and executive chef.