What to Do if Your Formula Fed Baby is Constipated
Constipation is an issue most parents will deal with at some point in their child’s development. What causes constipation to occur and how do you know if your child is truly constipated? Although some babies struggle with constipation more than others, constipation is often the cause of certain formula ingredients or solid foods.
Signs and Symptoms of Constipation
Every child is different when it comes to the frequency of bowel movements. What is normal for one baby may not be for another. For example: it’s not uncommon for a breastfed baby to only have one bowel movement a week, however, formula fed babies typically have one a day.
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of constipation, include:
- Hard, dry stools
- Prolonged periods of time without a bowel movement (more than 3 days)
- Difficulty passing stool
- Excessive gas
- Unusual fussiness or discomfort
Causes of Constipation
Some of the more common reasons for constipation in infants, include:
Because breast milk is perfectly balanced, it’s unusual for an exclusively breastfed baby to get constipated. However, it’s not unusual for a formula fed baby to experience mild to severe constipation.
If your formula fed baby is dealing with constipation, it may be due to the type of formula you’re using. Sensitivities to milk or additives in formula are often the cause of constipation in infants. Although it can be difficult to determine what ingredient is the source of the issue, if your baby is struggling with constipation, we recommend switching to a formula that is designed to promote healthy bowel movements like HIPP Special Comfort or HIPP Bio Combiotik
In some cases, switching to a goat milk formula like Holle can also be a welcome relief for constipation sufferers. Goat milk is a smaller protein and less likely to cause stomach or digestive issues than cow milk.
Solid foods are often the cause of constipation in babies older than 6 months. One of babies’ first foods – rice cereal – is low in fiber. Fiber promotes regularity and helps food move through the digestive system. Keep in mind: it can take a little time for baby’s stomach to adjust to solid foods, so you can promote regular bowel movements by serving foods rich in fiber like prunes and avocados.
Lack of water
The older a baby gets and the more solid food he is eating, the more water he needs. A lack of water can result in your baby drawing water from the foods he eats and his bowels, which can cause hard stools. Make sure your baby is getting enough water, which for a 9-month-old baby is approximately 4 – 8 oz. of water a day.
When to be Concerned
When should you be concerned about your baby’s constipation? If your baby is refusing to eat, has blood in his stools or is losing weight, it’s time to call your child’s pediatrician. If your baby is younger than 4 months, it’s best to have them seen by their doctor if they haven’t had a bowel movement 24 hours from when they typically go number 2.
Resolving a constipation problem can be as easy as switching to a different formula or adding prunes into your child’s diet. However, when in doubt, it’s also best to consult your child’s pediatrician. Together, you can come up with a plan to keep your baby’s bowel movements healthy.