Infants health

Constipation in infants… normal or not?

Constipation in infants… normal or not?
Published : October 24 , 2018
Latest Update : August 24 , 2022
Lived her childhood in Jordan, graduated from the Ahliyyah School for Girls as an A* IGCSE graduate. After that, she finished medical... more

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?

  1. Two or fewer bowel movements per week
  2. History of painful or hard bowel movements
  3. Presence of a large fecal mass in the rectum
  4. 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?

  1. Increase fluid intake more water is required.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Increase food with fibers in the diet; raspberry, green leaves, cucumber, corn, whole grain cereals, and vegetables.
  5. Try to decrease constipation causing food types like banana, carrots, and potatoes.


When to consider a doctor visit?

  1. If your kid is not passing flatus this might suggest bowel obstruction.
  2. If your kid is vomiting.
  3. If there is fresh blood on or mixed with the stools you must consider an anal fissure or a polyp which needs medical treatment.
  4. 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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