What Is Constipation?
Causes of Constipation
How to handle Constipation
If your child poos once every few days, then something is not right though children between the ages of three to four tend to show different variety in pooing patterns.
Constipation is the passage of infrequent, hard and painful stools. This is a common problem that affects a number of school-aged children.
Causes of Constipation
- Painful Memory: One painful bowel movement can cause your child to fear passing stools and to withhold further movements.
- Kind of Meal: Babies can become mildly constipated when they start to eat more solid food. That’s often because rice (a common first food) is low in fiber.
- Dehydration: when a child is dehydrated, his/her system will be absorbing the fluid from whatever they eat or drink, also from the waste in their bowels, this makes the stool very difficult to pass.
- Medical condition: constipation can be caused by already existing medical condition such as hypothyroidism, botulism, and certain food allergies and metabolic disorders, though this happens like 5% of the time.
Signs of Constipation
- Hard stools: Poop shouldn’t be hard that it causes painful straining, especially for children. If this is noticed, then there is a possibility you’re your baby has constipation. Though breastfed babies don’t tend to witness this, but babies that are formula-fed might witness this.
- Firm belly: When a child’s tummy feels hard, full or even bloated, this is another indication that this child could be having constipation.
- Less Bowel Movement: Less frequent bowel movements than usual, especially if your baby hasn’t had one for three or more days and is obviously uncomfortable when he/she does.
- Refusing to eat: Due to the less bowel movement and discomfort in the bowel, the baby tends to refuse eating, even after hours since the last meal he/she had.
How to handle constipation
- Massage your baby’s belly: Lay your baby on his/her back, below her navel on the lower left side and apply gentle but firm pressure there with your fingertips. Press mildly until you feel a firmness or mass. Pay attention to your baby’s reactions, if he/she cries, then you are pressing too hard.
- Little Exercise: If your baby’s a crawler, encourage her to do a few laps, movement sometimes helps with making the bowels move. If not a crawler yet, lay your baby on his/her back, lift up his/her legs, gently move the legs in circular motion to seem as if the baby is riding a bicycle. This routine also sometimes helps in reducing abdominal pressure.
- Increase Water Intake: If your baby is either breast or bottle fed, one can easily assume the baby is getting enough water due to the kind of meals they take in. But once the baby is beginning to seem constipated, try giving him/her more water after each feeding to help bowels flush properly.
- Prune Juice: Add a little prune juice to formula or breast milk if your baby is at least 4 weeks old as it has a natural laxative effect, but pear or apple juices also work well to relieve minor constipation. To avoid gassiness, start slowly with less than 2 ounces of juice after feedings. Give her an ounce a day for each month of life, up to 4 ounces for a 4-month-old. After 8 months, your baby can have as much as 6 ounces of juice a day to treat constipation.
- Speak to your baby’s doctor: If after trying one or all of these listed ways to handling constipation, symptoms still persist, speak to your baby’s doctor. The doctor may also suggest you try a glycerin suppository if your baby is severely constipated. The suppository stimulates your baby’s rectum and helps her pass a stool. Using a suppository occasionally is fine, but don’t do it on a regular basis because your baby could wind up relying on them to have a bowel movement. Do not give your baby laxative without his/her doctor’s approval.