As you may be aware, constipation can hit a person at any age. That said, if you notice that your infant is producing hard stool, you should not let this situation continue without trying to remedy it. In most cases, a simple change in diet will ensure that your son or daughter is able to pass stool with a softer consistency. If you find that these changes do not work, you will be well served by bringing your child to a pediatrician as soon as possible to discuss the issues of newborn constipation.
Regardless of whether you breast feed, or give an infant formula, he/she may not be getting enough water. Ideally, you should provide extra water between feedings. This will provide more liquid available to create softer stools. You should never try to replace milk with water. If you find that your baby simply can't take in extra water in addition to the milk, it may be best to look for some other remedy. Without a question, you will not want to sacrifice meeting nutritional needs while you are trying to manage baby constipation.
Introduce New Foods and Baby Formulas Slowly
Even though you may have followed directions on the baby formula can, your baby may need a bit more time to adjust to formula changes. If you notice baby constipation, it may be of some benefit to refrain from making additional changes to food. On the other hand, if the pattern continues, it may be better to go back to the previous formula brand. You may also want to check with your pediatrician and ask about specific remedies that may be of some help. At the very least, you can ask if certain formulas come with an increased risk of causing baby constipation.
Make Sure Baby Formula is Mixed Properly
Oddly enough, the wrong proportions of water to baby formula account for a large number of newborn constipation cases. Therefore, you should always check the labels carefully, as well as ensure that you are paying careful attention each time you mix a fresh batch of formula. This should help prevent future baby constipation cases, as well as alleviate ongoing ones.
Increase Dietary Fiber
As with adults, newborn constipation often comes from a lack of fiber. Depending on the baby's age, you can use prune juice to increase fiber intake. If your baby is old enough, you can also try feeding him/her soft prunes. You may also want to try other fruit juices on a maintenance level basis. Aside from helping reduce the tendency towards newborn constipation, fruits and vegetables are always an excellent source of nutrients that will give your baby all the best opportunities to grow strong and healthy.
Address Psychological Issues
If your baby experienced pain when trying to pass feces, he/she may try to retain it the next time it becomes necessary to defecate again. This, in turn, creates a situation where the stool will become direr and harder. As the cycle continues to get worse, so will the constipation.
There are also a number of other reasons your baby may develop psychological issues related to passing stool. As may be expected, if you notice unusual signs of distress prior to passing stool, it may be of some help to discuss the matter with your pediatrician. He/she may be able to offer advice about how to find out what is causing the stress, as well as how to alleviate it as quickly as possible.
Typically, you should not give a baby laxatives for constipation. As with adults, the baby may become reliant on these aids. Unfortunately, in the long run, this will do more harm than good. In almost all cases, you will find that addressing dietary and psychological issues will alleviate the problem. If you are having problems narrowing down the issue, your pediatrician should be able to help you discover the cause of constipation, as well as show you how to correct it.
There is no question that newborn constipation can be very frustrating to parents, as well as to the baby. That said, if you follow some general guidelines, you should be able to alleviate current problems, as well as prevent future ones. At the very least, when you focus on addressing the dietary causes of constipation, you can also have peace of mind knowing that you are most likely doing something that will help improve the baby's diet.
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