Constipation in infants… normal or not?
Constipation is one of the most common chronic disorders of childhood, affecting 1% to 30% of children worldwide
What is constipation? When do I consider my infant as constipated?
- Two or fewer bowel movements per week
- History of painful or hard bowel movements
- Presence of a large fecal mass in the rectum
- History of large diameter stools
What are the normal bowel habits for children a nd adolescent?
Parents often worry that their child's bowel movements are too infrequent. The number of bowel movements a child has in a day decreases with age and reaches adult frequencies during the preschool years. An infant averages three to four stools a day in the first week of life, two stools a day later in infancy and the toddler years, and once a day to every other day after the preschool years.
Many healthy breastfed infants go several days or longer without a bowel movement. Thus, less frequent defecation patterns may be normal and must be considered in the context of stool caliber, associated symptoms, and physical examination findings.
What can be done?
- Increase fluid intake more water is required.
- If an infant is on breastmilk pump your breastmilk put it in a bottle and add 2-3 ml prune juice on that milk and give it to your baby.
- If your child is on solid food, you can give prune juice alone and try to decrease their cow milk ingestion as cow milk increase constipation.
- Increase food with fibers in the diet; raspberry, green leaves, cucumber, corn, whole grain cereals, and vegetables.
- Try to decrease constipation causing food types like banana, carrots, and potatoes.
When to consider a doctor visit?
- If your kid is not passing flatus this might suggest bowel obstruction.
- If your kid is vomiting.
- If there is fresh blood on or mixed with the stools you must consider an anal fissure or a polyp which needs medical treatment.
- If your child did not pass stools on the first day of his life and he has constipation since birth, then further workup is needed to rule out Hirschsprung disease.
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