It is sad for parents and guardians to experience constipation in infants because they know how hard and uncomfortable it is to be in such a state. Yes, infants are not exempted from being constipated but by getting pertinent information about the condition and by following some expert how to help infants with constipation tips and advices, the onslaught of constipation in infants can actually be prevented.
Constipation in children is said to normally occur when the child starts eating solid foods, toilet training and going to school. Because of their tender years, constipation in infants should be treated as an emergency. Infants that have constipation need immediate help and prompt relief.
In understanding constipation in infants, parents should know that breast-fed babies are less prone to being constipated compared to those fed with formula milk like soy or cow milk. Moreover, a parent may be guided by the following normal bowel schedule: A week-old infant normally has four soft bowel movements daily; a three-month old baby’s bowel movements are reduced to thrice a day; when the child reaches at least two years of age, he would have two bowel movements daily; and as he grows even older, a bowel movement at least once a day is desirable.
Infant constipation would mean that the child defecates less than the desired bowel movement schedule movement for his age and diet. Constipation in infants further means that the baby excretes stools that are harder than usual. A constipated baby often cries when trying to move bowels and is usually tense during the process. Because the infant is straining to push the bowel down, the baby could be cringing or fidgeting and stiffening alternately, and his face turning red.
Constipation in infants occurs mostly because of improper diet, frequent abrupt changes in milk, and transition from liquid to solid food. Along with milk, babies must drink lots of water every day. Further, should they start eating solid food, fibrous fruit and vegetable cereals and puree are highly recommended.
A second common cause for constipation in infants is when the infant voluntarily or involuntarily withholds his bowel movement. This may be due to a painful experience while trying to move bowel out; or the infant may have a tear in the anus; or the infant merely feels uncomfortable during bowel movement. A solution to the latter is for the parent to clean the infant and change his diaper immediately after every bowel movement in order to avoid any discomfort.
A third major cause for constipation in infants relates to other health conditions and constipation medications.
In any case, a parent must immediately seek a doctor’s advice when constipation in babies is recurring or persists. The infant might need the help of laxatives, which only doctors can prescribe. More than anything else, expert help is necessary when the child is suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, or any other unusual condition that accompanies constipation.
Meanwhile, the following temporary home remedies might help ease constipation in infants : massaging the baby’s tummy in a circular motion; stretching the baby’s legs in a cycling motion; and regularly bathing and cleaning up the baby.