What to Do if Your Newborn Is Constipated

Newborn, Constipation, Bowel Movement

What to Do if Your Newborn Is Constipated

Observing your newborn in distress due to constipation can be distressing for any parent. While newborn constipation isn’t uncommon, it’s essential to understand what it is, what causes it, and what you can do to help your baby find relief. In this blog, we’ll provide you with information and tips on how to manage and alleviate newborn constipation.

Understanding Newborn Constipation

Newborns have sensitive digestive systems that are still developing. It’s not uncommon for them to experience periods of irregular bowel movements, which can sometimes result in constipation. However, it’s essential to differentiate between typical newborn bowel movements and actual constipation.

A constipated newborn may exhibit the following signs:

  1. Infrequent Bowel Movements: While it’s normal for newborns to have several bowel movements a day, some can go several days without one. This is not necessarily a sign of constipation.
  2. Hard, Dry Stools: Constipated newborns often pass hard, dry, pellet-like stools that can be painful to expel.
  3. Straining and Discomfort: If your baby is struggling, straining, or showing signs of discomfort when trying to have a bowel movement, it could be a sign of constipation.
  4. Crying and Irritability: Constipation can make your baby fussy and irritable. The discomfort they experience can lead to crying and general unhappiness.

Causes of Newborn Constipation

Several factors can lead to constipation in newborns, including:

  1. Diet: In breastfed infants, constipation is rare because breast milk is easy to digest. However, if a breastfed baby is not getting enough milk, they might become constipated. Formula-fed babies can experience constipation if they have a formula that doesn’t agree with them.
  2. Dehydration: Newborns can become constipated if they are not getting enough fluids.
  3. Intolerance or Allergy: Sometimes, constipation can be a result of a food intolerance or allergy to ingredients in breast milk, formula, or solid foods (if introduced).
  4. Medical Conditions: In rare cases, an underlying medical condition can cause constipation. This is less common in newborns but can occur.

What You Can Do to Help

If you suspect your newborn is constipated, there are steps you can take to help them find relief:

  1. Check Their Diet: Ensure your baby is getting adequate breast milk or formula. If you have concerns about their diet, consult with your pediatrician.
  2. Hydrate: Make sure your baby is well-hydrated. Breast milk or formula provides the necessary hydration. If your baby is older and beginning to eat solid foods, offer small amounts of water.
  3. Bicycle Leg Movements: Gently move your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion, which can help stimulate their bowels.
  4. Warm Bath: A warm bath can relax your baby and sometimes stimulate bowel movements.
  5. Tummy Time: Spend some time with your baby on their tummy, which can encourage the natural urge to have a bowel movement.
  6. Consult Your Pediatrician: If your baby’s constipation persists, consult your pediatrician. They may recommend specific remedies, changes in the diet, or even medication if necessary.

When to Seek Medical Attention

In most cases, constipation in newborns can be managed with the above steps. However, it’s essential to contact your pediatrician if:

• Your baby’s constipation persists or worsens.
• Your baby is extremely uncomfortable and in pain.
• There’s blood in the baby’s stool.
• Your baby is not gaining weight as expected.

Remember, every baby is different, and what works for one might not work for another. Your pediatrician is your best resource for guidance on managing newborn constipation and ensuring your baby’s well-being.

Newborn constipation can be challenging, but with the right care and attention, you can help your baby find relief. It’s crucial to understand the signs, potential causes, and when to reach out to your pediatrician for support. Your pediatrician can provide personalized guidance and recommendations to ensure your baby’s digestive health. Your baby’s comfort and well-being are our top priorities, and we’re here to assist you every step of the way.