Babies are delicate and parents need to be on high alert most of the time, at least till the time they learn to express themselves. The sneezes, the burps or the growling in the stomach, each of these symptoms calls out for attention.
Another condition that a parent must keep track of is whether the baby's bowel movements are regular or not. Though it sounds like a simple ailment, constipation definitely needs attention.
Each baby has a unique digestive and bowel movement pattern based on the eating pattern. Young parents get confused when the pediatrician assures them that there is nothing to worry about after the baby poops five times a day or does not poop at all in five days.
The early signs of constipation in infants are passing hard and pellet-like stools, difficulty in passing stools, causing the baby to arch his back and cry, and infrequent bowel movements.
Read on to know ways to handle constipation in infants.
1. Increase liquid intake
When weaning food is introduced (usually between 4-6 months of age), make a conscious attempt to ensure that you provide the baby with some form of liquid every couple of hours.
2. Increase fruit intake
If your baby is at a weaning stage and if you have already introduced fruits, you can feed her pureed apple or pear, and mashed banana to prevent constipation. If she is already a year old, you can give her ripened papaya and melons as well to reduce constipation.
3. Keep the baby active
Give your infant a little massage. Hold his legs and move them in a circular direction to resemble the peddling of a bicycle. Motivate him to turn around and lie down on his tummy. Crawlers should be allowed to crawl as much as they want to. If your baby has started walking, dedicate some time to take him out for a walk in the park. The more active your baby is, the better the chances of good bowel movement.
4. Rectal stimulation
This is another helpful method. Parents can stimulate the rectum with a cotton swab. The stimulation can immediately lead to bowel movement.
5. Glycerin suppository
These are available off the counter. However, it is important to consult your paediatrician on the dosage. This action typically causes a bowel movement within 15 to 30 minutes of administering the medication.
Dr. Anand is a Consultant Paediatrician at Columbia Asia Hospital, Bangalore.
Constipation is common in children but it does not mean you should sit back and not do anything about it. Go through this ClipBook to know about constipation in children.