Infant Constipation is extremely common in babies and pre school children and is due to bacteria being ingested which create toxins. Infant constipation actually also a childhood illness, but not often referred to as so.
Infant Constipation is the passing of small hard stools with difficulty and the pains of infant constipation can be unbearable in babies when they need to empty their bowels.
Bottle fed babies are far more likely to suffer from infant constipation than breast fed babies simply due to the formula milk that they are feeding on becomes much harder for the babies to break down in the stomach than the breast milk. The bottle fed babies bowel have less frequent bowel movements than that of a breast fed baby and the stools will be more solid and thicker causing packing up of foeces and increasing the pains of infant constipation.
The prime causes of infant constipation are related to diet, however other probable causes are a diet lacking in fibre, not using the opportunities when the urge to pass a bowel movement is first felt, pains when passing a bowel movement, muscle weakness, inadequate fluid intake and bowel obstructions.
Signs and Symptoms of Infant Constipation
- Headaches are frequent
- Irritable stomach and bowels
- Extended abdomen
- Abdominal pains
- Lethargy and crabbiness
- Dribbling diarrhoea
Incubation Period of Infant Constipation
There is no Incubation Period associated with infant constipation.
Treatment for Infant Constipation
There are some natural ways to relieve your childs pain during infant constipation. These methods are all very effective and should be tried as they are readily available at no cost. Do not be worried about whether you get it right or not, just be confident in yourself and your ability to relieve your child of the pains of infant constipation. your child will sense your uneasiness, so make sure that you are strong and confident when attempting to treat their constipation yourself.
Warm baths would be the first thing to try with infant constipation because the relief from a warm bath is known to be both calming and relaxing at any age, therefore it can aid with the relaxing of the anus and stomach muscles and help your baby to pass stools with less stress and anxiety. Do be careful that the water temperature is not too hot or too cold for your baby as this can cause severe discomfort and agitation.
Baby massaging is also naturally relaxing and calming like the warm baths, but also helps to relieve pressure on the colon muscle and break down built up faeces. To begin baby massaging lay your baby down on a soft surace in a warm place that is familiar to your baby. Use a little oil on your fingertips and very gently massage your babies tummy using circular movements from their tummy button outwards. Observe your babies reactions and either continue or stop depending on the success of relieving your child from infant constipation.
Gentle Leg Exercises
Gentle Leg exercises are another method to relieve the pressure caused by Infant Consipation. They are very simple to perform and you do not have to be experienced to carry out gentle leg exercises as you will soon know if your child is uncomfortable with them. Lay your baby in a comfortable position on their backs. Gently, but firmly hold your babies legs and and circle them around in a clockwise movement as if they were cycling. These exercises are effective and are ideal for relieving pressure from the stomach and intestines which do cause pains of infant constipation.
Checking the Diet
Checking the Diet is very important as this could be one reason causing the infant constipation. Review your childs diet for any clues as to the source of the infant constipation and try to make adjustments and improvements to your childs food intakes. Formula milks must be the first dietry place to start checking with a young baby because the absence of fibre could be a factor, be sure to inspect the labels carefully and make sure that the milk contains pre biotic fibres.
Drink Often because extra fluids can help your baby to digest and break down thick milk formula which settles in the stomach, cooled or tepid boiled water in between bottle feeds should be enough.
However if you are worried and cannot conquer the problem then contact your childs local health centre as they can offer more advice regarding infant constipation and how to relieve your child.
If the problem of Infant Constipation persists then contact your childs Gp for possible treatment, this is normally a syrup solution of some kind , but it does tend to be fairly fast acting making the bowel movements more frequent and the stools quite loose.