Baby Constipation: Importance of understanding constipation in children

Constipation is commonly found among children. The condition is refer as passing hard stool or feces with difficulty. Secondly reduce of frequency is also observe during this condition.

Parents are always worried about their children bowel movement and their habit to live with it.  Secondly what is the frequency require to pass the stool?

How it shape up and what it’s appears or look like.

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Parents especially mother’s anxiety starts when this condition of constipation prevails in the child who is too young. She has to observe how frequently and what is the condition of the stool baby passes either it is with the decrease or increase in frequency.

  • Feeling pain and difficulty in passing the feces due to the constipation.
  • How frequently diapers or nappy gets dirty. This need to be change at the earliest or soon she came to know nappy is dirty.
  • We don’t have to panic in this situation, patience is needed to deal with this condition.
  • This condition needs the management through balance and recommended healthy diet.
  • This will bring it back to normalization of feces condition such as (semi solid) and also passes easily in right frequency.
  • If condition of constipation still persist, please do consult your baby doctor and follow his or her advice.

For us it is important to recognize the condition of constipation at early stage, this will enable us to stop or avoid it from becoming a chronic condition.

To define what is the normal frequency of stool.  It is very difficult to say and this varies from child to child or adult to adult also. As a mother or parent you know very well what is normal frequency of passing stool in case of individual child.

If you observe change in frequency and mainly if frequency is reduce than normal trend, this means the problem of constipation persist. This needs to be taken care by you or by the doctor of baby.

Baby may pass stool or open their bowl several times a day or may do it once after few days. As a parent you need not to worry with this situation. What is important is to observe does baby passes stool easily and does its shape is hard or soft.

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It has been observed if baby is on mother breast feed they digest it better as compare to bottle or top feed baby. 

Breast feed child pass runnier stool and its color will be mustard or yellow.

Breast fed newborn baby’s normally passes stool after every feed which is normal and  in certain cases it is observed baby open their bowl after weeks. Both conditions are term as normal and no need to worry.

If baby is on bottle feed or on infant formula milk than mostly baby need to pass the stool and open their bowl on daily basis, reason is the stool will be heavy and smells badly. This will resemble like adult feces.

There is no fix formula in newborn babies and young children. It has been observed baby’s stool may vary in color and its consistency on day to day basis. If there is any change observed on long term basis such as it’s getting harder and decrease in frequency of passing stool than this is the sign your child is suffering from constipation. You need to take care and if needed consult your child doctor.

With the passage of time baby grow older reaches age of 5-6 months, now it’s time to start solid food besides breast feeding. After initiating solid food you will observe their stool pattern changes in term of color and odor. The stool child passes has become darker in color as well as thicker and smell more badly. This change in pattern is observe, because we have start feeding the child with solid food. At this stage their stomach is also developing and trying to cope up with solid food which mother has started. Child has to digest food due to new dietary change and in their pattern of eating. This change can be observe by you while changing baby nappy

As the baby grows older with the passage of time from the age of toddler to young baby, as a parent or mother you observe further changes in the pattern of stool passing, its frequency and consistency. These changes will depends upon what you have fed to your baby.

 It is important for us to know your child bowel. What is normal and what is irregular or unusual.

As explained in earlier paragraph you will see a great variation in passing of stool and their bowl habit. This depend upon the age of baby and what are food intake.  To judge normality or abnormality in the bowel habit, if this is from three times to one time a day is normal.

If passing of feces is less often which means with gap of more than 2 days that means constipation. Secondly this has also to be observe if stool are well formed, soft and it passes easily as feces than this condition to be term as normal.

This has also been noted may be baby face turn bit red when they are trying to pass the stool which can be normal. This is not the condition of constipation, whereas constipation is more serious problem.

This has been noted babies who are fed via mother breast they normally do not suffer from constipation. Reason for it is very simple breast milk contains the well balanced/ healthy nutrition which keep their stool soft and allows it to pass easily.

It is highly important for us to understand and recognize the difference between diarrhea and constipation.

Diarrhea is condition in which runny stool passes with more frequency than normal pattern observe.

Less chances of diarrhea in baby who are breast fed than who are not. Nature has provided protection against germs as well immunity in mother breast milk.

 baby-constipation-understanding-constipation-in-children

It is important for us to understand constipation in children

This may be recognized as follows:

  • Passing stool with difficulty or having feeling it is hurting.
  • Stool which passed are large and hard or it can be in form small pellets.
  • Feeling of abdominal pain and also observed in many cases having poor appetite.
  • Having pain while passing stool and sometimes observe small amount of blood spots during change of nappy or while cleaning the area.
  • Blood spot observe because small rip or scratch at skin passage of stool passing area known as anus.
  • Frequency of stool has reduced per week, means less than normal frequency, which may be less than 3 normal quantity of stools per week
  • May be having feeling of irritation, nausea or sign of unhappiness.
  • If constipation condition is severe this may cause large stool are held in rectum. This further aggravate the condition of child.
Article written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First website and facebook.

About Mahmood Hussain

Professional Experience More than 36 years work experience in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sectorDirector & General Manager Baby First (Pvt.) Ltd Pakistan March 2011 – till to date I have been associated with Baby First (Pvt) Ltd for more than 5 years. It is advisory, community and social interaction medium for parents 16-38 years and babies 0-6 years.General Manager Aga Khan Health Service Pakistasn December 2005 – December 2007 (2 years 1 month)Based at Karachi Pakistan Worked as General Manager managing Karachi & Baluchistan Health care services of AKHSP which includes primary and secondary health care centers and diagnostic centers on all areas nearly 102 centers which include three leading hospitals in Karachi.General Manager Janssen Cilag (Johnson & Johnson) February 1998 – January 2005 (7 years)Education MBA, Marketing 1995 – 1996, Preston University MSc, Biochemistry 1970 – 1974, Karachi University

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