Some people might shy away from this topic. They might think it gross, or inappropriate... but I'm guessing those people aren't moms. You see, parents think a whole lot about food - both going in and coming out - of their children. Tracking bottles in and diapers off is a mathematical dance that starts in the hospital and stops...I don't know; when they go to college? A happy tummy is one of the most crucial ways to make a happy baby, so with that in mind we delve in to the dirty topic.
Constipation in infants is very natural, believe it or not. They utilize so much of what they take in, that the bi-product is often just a wet diaper. A formula fed baby can easy go a few days without a bowel movement, and an exclusively breastfed one can go over a week. They should be going sometime though, and the inability to do so can be painful, or a symptom that something else is wrong. So how do you know if you have a problem on your hands?
- If your baby is feverish, appears to be in pain, or experiencing other abnormal symptoms.
- If your baby cries or strains when attempting to go.
If you experience these symptoms, see your baby's doctor. He might recommend some exercises to help work the digestive system, encourage a small amount of water or prune juice, or something more serious, as the case requires.
New foods can cause all kinds of "interesting" results in the diaper. You might see rashes, discolored stool, and yep - constipation can happen. If first foods and simple purees cause problems with bowel movements, consider a few options:
- If your baby has tried prunes, apples, bran, or water rich foods (like melon), encourage more of these to aid digestion.
- Babies over 6 months can have filtered water in small doses to ward off dehydration.
- Give lots of floor activity (tummy time, crawling, and other movement).
The introduction of dairy, more solids, and more physical chewing sometime causes this age group a little trouble. They also develop bigger appetites and preferences that can sometimes cause mom a little trouble striking a balanced diet.
- Don't go overboard with things like bananas and cheese. These two foods especially can cause a little tummy to back up.
- Fewer bottles doesn't mean your little one needs less liquid. Encourage drinking milk and water. If you have trouble, try cutting the water with a little apple juice for flavour, or offering a real fruit juice frozen treat.
Every kid's tummy is different, and whether it's a matter of learning the proper balance, discovering a minor disagreement, or uncovering an actual allergy, it takes time. It's very easy to over think symptoms, and experience might be the only thing that teaches you when your child has a mild tummy ache or something more serious. Don't be afraid to speak to the support system in your life if you're concerned. For you, that might be your mother, a trusted aunt, a fellow mommy, or just your family doctor. It's always better to feel a little embarrassed because you overreacted, than have the guilt of not acting soon enough.