Having children is one of the greatest gifts of life. However, it is not easy and you end up subjecting yourself to subjects and things you never thought you would like bowel movements, diarrhea and vomit.
As we all know, keeping your children safe and healthy is of the utmost importance for parents. Having a constipated child can ruin your day and also greatly impact their daily routines..
What is Constipation?
If you are a parent, you probably watch your baby’s every laugh, hiccup, and cry for clues about their well-being. Some signs of a problem, though, can be a little more difficult to detect.
Bowel movements, for example, will change a lot over the course of your baby’s life. From time to time those changes may provide a sign that your baby is constipated.
A baby who exclusively consumes breast milk may not have a bowel movement every day. Often, nearly all of the nutrients are absorbed. This is very common. In fact, babies who take only breast milk almost never become constipated.
Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, may have up to three or four bowel movements in a day, or have a bowel movement every few days.
Still, normal bowel movement patterns in healthy babies vary widely and greatly affected by type of milk, whether solids have been introduced, and what specific foods are being consumed.
Understanding the possible signs of constipation can help you detect a potential issue before it becomes a big problem
It’s helpful to know the symptoms of constipation so when your child is not feeling well or their behavior changes, you’ll know if constipation may be the culprit. If you notice the following symptoms in your child, you should ask them how often they’re going to the bathroom, or start tracking their bowel movements:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Poor appetite
- Irritable behavior
- Hard stools
Your child is considered constipated if you find out they’ve had fewer than three bowel movements in a week. If their symptoms last two weeks or longer, or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms such as fever, pain during bowel movements, or blood in the stool, it’s time to bring them into the Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition for medical intervention.
Why should you seek medical intervention?
If you are confused or concerned at any point, don’t hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician. In almost all cases, your child’s constipation will clear on its own or with a natural treatment or two.
If those strategies don’t work, asking your doctor for advice or suggestions will be helpful. Your doctor will also be able to help you spot other signs and symptoms (such as fever) that could be an indication of a larger problem that may require medical treatment.
Aside from the fact that your child is in pain and irritable, the longer your child is constipated, the harder the condition is to resolve. Other complications from chronic and long-term constipation include:
- Anal fissures
- Rectal prolapse
Prevention and treatment options
If you notice signs of constipation, you can try several strategies to offer your baby relief. These include:
Switch up the milk
If your baby is breastfed, you can try adjusting your diet. Your baby may be sensitive to something you’re eating, which could be causing the constipation, though this is uncommon.
Bottle-fed babies may benefit from a different type of formula, at least until the constipation clears. Sensitivity to certain ingredients can cause constipation.
Use solid foods
Some solid foods can cause constipation, but others can also improve it. If you recently started feeding your baby solid foods, try adding a few high-fiber foods, such as:
- skinless apples
Instead of refined cereal or puffed rice, offer cooked grains, such as barley, oats, or quinoa. Whole-grain breads, crackers, and bran cereals also add a lot of bulk to stool, which may help clear the constipation.
Use pureed foods
If your baby is over six months and has not made the transition to solid foods yet, try some of the foods listed above in their pureed form.
Keep in mind that fruits and vegetables have a lot of natural fiber that will add bulk to your child’s stool. Some are better than others at helping stimulate a bowel movement.
Up the fluids
Proper hydration is essential for regular bowel movements. Water and milk are great for keeping your baby hydrated.
For babies over 6 months, occasional prune or pear juice may help speed up your child’s colon contractions, which may help your baby produce a bowel movement more quickly.
If the juice is too sweet or tangy for your baby’s palate, try diluting it in a cup of water. Talk to your doctor before giving your baby under 6 months anything besides breast milk or formula.
Movement speeds up digestion, which can help move things through the body more quickly. If your child isn’t walking yet, leg bicycles may be helpful.
Gentle stomach and lower-abdomen massages may stimulate the bowels to pass a bowel movement. Do several massages throughout the day, until your child has a bowel movement.
If you have been searching Google for a gastroenterologist near me, gastroenterologist for children near me or children’s gastroenterologist near me, look no further then Gainesville Pediatric GI. Schedule a consultation online at gastrohealthforkids.com