Intestinal constipation, popularly known as “constipation” or ” trapped intestine “, can be severe in newborn babies . This disease is characterized by difficulty in evacuating, due to the large volume of hardened stools.
It can cause pain, anal fissures and hemorrhoids. Generally the constipated baby is one who is not being breastfed by breast milk , which usually happens from the age of six months, but other environmental or dietary factors can contribute to constipation in babies, in addition to rare diseases.
Constipation presents symptoms such as abdominal pain , irritability, lack of bowel movement, hard stools that cause discomfort, and in some cases, darker stools, because they have traces of blood in them. Constipation affects both children and adults, with almost the same symptoms.
However, the causes are different and it must be avoided that it becomes chronic. It is important to check your baby’s diaper to make sure your intestine is working properly: if there are no pasty bowel movements every day, it is a big sign of constipation.
What to do with the constipated baby?
If the baby’s stools are hard and dry , as well as if he cries and appears to have abdominal pain, constipation should be investigated and treated as soon as possible. In the case of the child who is breastfeeding and has not yet introduced other foods in the diet, the cause may be in the mother’s own diet.
It is important for the mother to hydrate herself by drinking plenty of water and fluids in general (4 liters daily) and to avoid foods that may have anything to do with the days when the baby had a cold.
In the case of babies who have already started drinking other types of milk, baby food or other infant formulas, the body may not have reacted well to the changes, even though they are age-appropriate foods. The ideal is to change the formula of the milk , check if the concentration of the powder in the mixture is correct, and give preference to the high-fiber baby foods. Inserting certain fruits in the small juices and vitamins helps to loosen the intestine.
Fruits that Help Constipation in Babies:
- Black plum
In the case of black plum , there is a homemade recipe that is successful among mothers: soak the fruit in a glass of water overnight and then give the baby water. There are other recommendations for constipation in newborns.
Recommendations for Relieving Constipation
- Respect the frequency of breastfeeding (for example, every three hours)
- Redouble care with hygiene and diaper rash in the baby, to decrease the discomfort
- Playing with the child, making the environment more pleasant and stimulating his movements
- Massage the baby’s belly by pressing three fingers on the belly below the navel
In case you need any laxative medicine or suppository for the treatment, the pediatrician is the only one qualified to make the indication. Do not seek medication on your own initiative.
Causes of Constipation in Babies
The feces of newborns are not the same as those of adults. They are usually pasty, more yellowish and with small lumps . Evacuations usually “get diapers dirty” more than once a day. Thus, any characteristic outside these standards can be indicative of the onset of constipation.
Parents should be aware, but as breast milk does not produce much waste or fermentation, if the newborn takes a long time to evacuate and does not feel discomfort with it, it is not a cause for concern.
From six months of age or the end of exclusive breastfeeding, the baby can begin to evacuate only once a day and with stools of firmer consistency, which is absolutely normal. Only if the decrease in bowel movement is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, irritability and hard abdomen , should constipation be considered.
IMPORTANT: In rare cases, constipation can be caused by diseases and congenital problems. Pay attention to the accompanying symptoms!
Some symptoms may indicate that the case is not a simple constipation, so when you identify the following signs, seek immediate hospital emergency:
- Rectal bleeding
- Excessive sleepiness
- Reduced urination
- Lack of appetite
- Distended abdomen
As previously mentioned, food is the main cause and consequently the main treatment for the child’s stuck intestine. The absence of maternal breastfeeding , the use of artificial milk formulas and “thickeners” to these milks can be the cause of constipation in babies.
That habit of “holding back” the urge to evacuate can gradually inhibit the child’s reflex of going to the bathroom, because the “will passes”. They do this especially if the defecatory effort causes pain, when the stool is hard.
If it hurt once, they can associate it with the act of evacuating. Then, one thing leads to another and the feces are compacted in the rectal ampoule, the final part of the intestine, making evacuation even more difficult, in a vicious cycle.
The rashes and hemorrhoids also cause pain when going to the bathroom and it can inhibit this reflex, called “mass movement” bowel. The ideal in cases of self-constipation is to treat the pain and give more water and food that release the intestine for the child to be able to empty his rectum, dissociate the act of evacuating from the painful experience, and end the cycle.
Babies also cannot be very sedentary. Although they need many hours of sleep and do not know how to walk, they need to be encouraged to move. The lack of physical activity can lead to immaturity of the locomotor system and decreased bowel movements, causing constipation.
For this reason, it is good to encourage the child’s play and crawling. For newborns, the “bicycle” movement on the legs is the recommended exercise.
Finally, another common cause of constipation is the child’s emotional state. The stress and excitement lead to the mind ignore the body’s needs, resulting in constipation. When children go to the bathroom alone, it is also common to ignore the desire to evacuate to continue playing, for example.
See Also: Baby Colic! What to do?
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.