I noticed that my 8-month old baby appears to be a little bit constipated lately. What really causes this? Since I have just started weaning, is it caused by baby food? And what should I do to relieve her constipation?
Thank you so much in advance for your advice!
Constipation frequently occurs especially as we introduce solid foods. We need to monitor how frequent our babies defecate..for example whether at least every 2-3 days. Their stools should not be hard and without any blood or mucus when wiping. Constipation can also make babies unsettled.
Constipation is common amongst babies and children. The usual cause is functional when there is slow transit in the gut. Also, constipation can also be due to intolerance/allergy to cow’s milk, coeliac issues, thyroid and calcium level issues. It can also be caused by changes to their formula feeding or even introduction of solid foods. Excessive cow’s milk in diet, poor dietary fiber and fluid intake are the typical causes of constipation.
Further, constipation may be due to neurological or spinal cord issues that may be congenital or anatomical abnormality in the lower gastrointestinal tract. Patients need to be properly assessed by their doctor for constipation concerns.
If your baby is constipated, the approach to address constipation depends on the age of the baby. I would suggest to reduce intake of cow’s milk and to maintain an optimum balance of diet especially when your little one has started eating solid foods. Laxatives can be given if constipation has become a problem. However, if you are still concerned, take your baby to see a pediatrician so the doctor can thoroughly assess your baby and provide direct guidance.
To sum up, constipation is a common condition that occurs among babies and infants. Allow a balanced diet, fluid and milk intake, especially breast milk. Monitor bowel habits including the character of the stools, and finally, seek your medical doctor’s advice.
Dr Irene Lovella Soriano,
MD, FRACGP, Clin Dip Pall Med, DCH