How can I tell if my baby is constipated?

Babies have quite sensitive digestive systems and that’s why different health issues may arise. Of course, it makes parents anxious and stressed and they try to do their best to avoid these problems. Constipation is one of these issues and is common not only for adults, but also in the early age. Babies who suffer from it feel discomfort and become sick as it’s difficult for them to pass stool. Moreover, it can indicate some serious concerns. So parents should pay close attention to babies who show first symptoms.

What are these first symptoms?

If your baby poo fewer than 3 times a week it may reveal the problem as well as a firm tummy and less interest in food. Even having no energy or feeling sad can be the sign. But of course there are some more obvious symptoms of constipation.

Parents should really watch the child during defecation. His or her facial expressions or sounds can tell you that the process is not easy, and the child feels uncomfortable or even feels some pain during it. 

The poop itself can have an unusual shape, for example, be larger in size, or dry and hard, which are usually preceded by smelly wind. If you notice anything unusual about it, it may indicate constipation and you should look for a problem. 

What may cause constipation?

If a baby has faced this issue, parents are definitely interested in its reasons. While knowing them,  you may protect your baby from this uncomfortable problem in the long run. So what are they?

  1. Introducing some changes to the diet. It’s a quite common occurrence when babies start taking baby formulas. There are some differences in the structure of breast milk and baby formula, so it becomes harder for a baby to digest it. It’s a usual thing and a child just needs some time to get used to it.
  2. Dehydration. Your baby may simply lack fluids. It can happen because of teething, a cold, infections or other reasons. But definitely not having enough liquid your little one will find it harder to poop and more difficult to push out.
  3. Incorrect diet. Babies sometimes do not get enough variety of food and lack fibre, for example, which may cause constipation. Take into account that babies always need to get different kinds of fruit, vegetables and cereals. Make sure you give your baby all the necessary vitamins and nutrients. In addition, check the quality of foods that you give to your little one and check the reaction on each of them. 
  4. Unsuitable baby formula. Breast milk is a natural laxative and can be digested easily by babies. Baby formulas have slightly different composition and may cause some gastrointestinal problems such as constipation. Moreover, babies sometimes suffer from cow’s milk allergies and that also can be the reason. So choose the baby formula consciously.

If it happens that your child suffers from constipation, do not stress, because there are simple actions that you can take to improve the situation. Here are the main ones:

  1. Do simple physical exercises. You can lie your baby down and make some movements with their legs, pretending they are riding a bike. This may help with constipation. If your baby is enjoying it, you can also give a gentle tummy massage.
  2. If you are sure that the baby formula you currently use is causing constipation, you need to switch it into another one. There is no one best formula for constipation, but we definitely recommend certified European organic baby formulas that are as gentle and nutritious as possible. If you are not really sure what to choose, ask your pediatrician. Bear in mind that a baby’s organism should adapt to it, so give a new formula a few weeks.
  3. If your little one consumes solids, try to diversify their diet with fruit, vegetables and cereals. Some experts claim that several glasses of prune or pear juice can help babies to pass stool. But keep in mind that it’s not the main dish and use it only as an addition to food. You can divide it into a few days with small amounts. 

If these simple actions don’t help and several days have passed, consult a doctor as it may indicate more serious problems.