Jess McLeod, who is a member of The Healthy Mummy Community, reveals her second baby suffered with severe constipation.
So, how did Jess (and doctors) help put an end to her baby’s constipation?
“They say every baby is different and that couldn’t be more true!” Jess says.
‘Leo Was Going Every 3-4 Days’
“With our first, breastfeeding was an absolute breeze and no pain. With Leo, the first few weeks of breastfeeding were a nightmare.”
The other thing that was different, says Jess, were her babies’ bowel frequencies.
“Our first baby had been an ‘every day’ pooper,” she says. “With Leo, this was the same in the early newborn days where a dirty nappy came at each nappy change, but fast forward about six weeks and he was no longer going every day. It became every three to four days.”
Jess says she heard it was normal for breastfed babies to not go for a few days, so she wasn’t too concerned. But when she went to visit her doctor and told him that Leo was hardly going, he had some great advice for her.
“Without skipping a beat, my doctor said: ‘Increase your water intake’. He then felt the fontanelle [soft spot] on the top of Leo’s head and said ‘He is hydrated but needs to be more hydrated’.”
Jess then increased her water intake to about three litres a day, and like magic, Leo was doing a poo consistently again (every day to be precise).
“I can’t believe how simple a solution it was. My tips for keeping your water up is to have a least one big bottle of water that you can drink from throughout the day. If you don’t like the taste of water, add lemon to it,” says Jess.
“I do find it hard to drink a lot if we are out and about, as I’m also conscious of needing to go to the toilet every five minutes, so I just sip on it and then scull it when I’m near a bathroom.
“The difference of a litre a day has been phenomenal and I can easily see how much happier my baby is.”
Constipation In Babies
“Sometimes a baby can have infrequent loose stools that also can mean constipation. The consistency (hardness or softness) of your baby’s poo depends on what he or she is being fed. It also varies over time as solids are introduced to the diet, and as your baby’s digestive system becomes more mature”, says Pregnancy Birth & Baby.
What You Need To Know About Baby Constipation
- Bubs that are fed breast milk generally have loose (and runny) stools to begin with. But don’t worry, their stools begin to get firmer and less frequent over time. There may be several days in between bowel movements, depending on the baby.
- Babies fed formula tend to have firmer stools and fewer bowel movements.
- Once solids are introduced, your baby’s poo may become slightly firmer.
Symptoms That Your Baby Is Constipated
- Your baby cries and looks uncomfortable before he or she tries to move their bowels.
- Are your bub’s poos and farts a little smelly? This may also be a sign of constipation.
- Your baby isn’t eating all that much.
- Your baby’s belly feels hard.
What You Can Do To Help Them
According to Pregnancy Birth & Baby, you can ease your baby’s constipation if you nurse them more often if they are breastfed. It may also help if you drink more water.
If you formula feed your baby, you may need to check your formula contains enough water. Check the measurements on the label and make sure you shake the bottle rigorously before feeding them.
You can also try gently massaging your infant’s stomach to help with their movement.
When To Take Your Baby To See A Medical Professional
- If your baby is less than eight weeks old and has not passed a stool for 2-3 days, and they are gaining weight very slowly.
- If your baby has been constipated for a while and is very distressed, or they have blood in their poo or another sign of illness.
“Frequency of stooling varies significantly, from every feed through to once every 7-10 days. Anything in that period of time can be completely normal, provided the stool quality is also normal i.e. a large, wet stool once a week is fine; however passing pebbles once every day or so is not,” says Dr. Scott Dunlop, Director of Sydney Paediatrics, and Founder of Paed Preferred.
“If your baby is constipated, there are very simple measures that can be used to soften the stool. Small amounts of cooled boiled water can be very effective, either straight or used to dilute formula slightly.
“Symptoms you should look for are hard, pebble-like, infrequent stools with straining, unsettledness, feed disruption, and vomiting are all signs you baby may be constipated. Many parents worry about stool straining – if the stool is normal in appearance and consistency i.e. wet and loose or seedy, then the straining is usually not a concern.”
If you have any other concerns about your baby’s constipation, we advice you to take your baby to a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible.
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