How to Relieve 'painful constipation' for Babies in Seconds - Video
How to Relieve 'painful constipation' for Babies in Seconds - Video

Key points of constipation in babies and children

Constipation in babies is quite common, but it can still be a cause for concern for parents.

  • Constipation happens when poo builds up in the bowels and is hard to push out.
  • Children can get constipated if they hold poos in, or they aren’t eating enough fibre.
  • Prevent constipation with a high-fibre diet and regular toileting.
  • If your baby is constipated, it’s best to see your GP or nurse.

What is Constipation in babies

Constipation is when poos (stools, or faeces) are hard and dry or difficult to pass. Sometimes a baby can have frequent loose stools that also can mean constipation.

How to relieve 'painful constipation' in seconds -watch video

Mum and certified massage instructor, Elina Furman, explained how to relieve painful constipation on TikTok where she's racked up almost one million likes with her parenting hacks, like how to get your baby to sleep through the night.

Symptoms of constipation in children - signs of constipation in Babies

A normal poo should be easy to push out and look like a sausage.

But if your child is constipated, poo becomes hard to push out. Your child might feel pain and discomfort when doing a poo or trying to do one. This might make your child avoid pooing, which can make the problem worse.

Hard poo might overstretch your child’s anus and cause small tears on the surface, which might lead to pain and bleeding.

Your child might also have tummy pains that come and go. Some children might show ‘holding on’ behaviour like rocking or fidgeting, crossing legs or refusing to sit on the toilet. They might also seem generally cranky.

If your child has been constipated for a long time, they might poo in their pants without meaning to. It might be a small or large amount of poo, and it might happen at any time of the day. This is called soiling or faecal incontinence.

Some children poo 2-3 times a day, and other children poo twice a week. This range is normal.

The most important sign of constipation is that the poo is hard and dry or crumbly and it looks like marbles. Other signs of constipation in babies are:

  • Your baby is crying and looks uncomfortable before doing a poo. (Some straining is normal when babies do a poo; this usually does not mean constipation.)
  • The poo or wind smells bad.
  • Your baby isn’t eating as much.
  • Your baby has a hard belly.

Causes of constipation in children and babies

The most common cause is when a child will not pass a stool because they expect pain so they delay toileting and the problem gets worse.

When constipation occurs in a baby, it is often because they are not getting enough fluid in their diet.

It is quite rare in a baby who is only fed with breast milk, but is more common in babies who have been introduced to solids and sometimes formula.

Constipation might also happen because children:

  • aren’t eating enough fibre
  • have been sick and have been eating and drinking less.

These situations can all lead to a build-up of poo in the bowel. When this happens, the poo gets too big or hard to push out easily.

There are some underlying medical conditions that might cause constipation in children, but these aren’t common.

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