How To Deal With Digestion Problem In Breastfed Baby ?
Created by Dr. Surbhi Saini Updated on Aug 27, 2018
Are you in a dilemma when it comes to the bowel movements of your infant? I know how it can get with new-borns. On some days, your baby will pass motion more than once a day, and then there will be days when s/he won’t poop for a straight couple of days. Now, in the medical field both little ones and adults, when don’t pass stool daily – we consider it to be a case of constipation. Now, you may ask, “Is my infant constipated too?” Well, to tell you the truth, exclusively breastfed babies between 0-6 months of age are rarely constipated.
What Does Constipation in Your Baby Mean?
To begin with, let me explain this in simple words. Constipation refers more commonly to the appearance of stool rather than frequency. Dry, hard stools or small, firm pebble-like stools indicate constipation. Now, when your baby will feel difficulty in pooping, you will notice that his/her face turns red during bowel movements and s/he tends to pull both legs up to her/his stomach as a natural reflex. In fact, you may even notice streaks of blood in your baby’s stool as hard stool may cause injury to the rectal wall.
What Causes Constipation in Your Breastfeeding Baby?
This could be because your baby is dehydrated. Normally, by 6-week of age, your breastmilk consists of 90% water. So, if you increase the number of feeds, you can ensure your baby is well- hydrated. However, in a child less than 1 year of age, cow milk should be avoided. The reasons being –
- The protein in the cow's milk is predominantly casein, which is harder to digest for the baby. A baby’s digestive system is not yet fully mature to digest them thus causing digestive issues.
- It contains elements like sodium, potassium, chloride that can put the strain on the baby’s kidneys.
- It lacks essential vitamins and nutrients that are needed for a baby’s growth in the first 12 months of life.
- It lacks VitE, Zinc, and iron which can manifest as iron deficiency anaemia and even internal bleeding.
- If by any reason mother is unable to breastfeed her baby, it is advised that she contact her paediatrician for a suitable alternative which is tummy friendly.
Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for the baby until at least 1 year of age. Cow's milk is advised only after the baby completes 1 year. Since most babies do not like a taste of cow’s milk, the transition should be gradual so that even baby’s digestive tract can adapt to it. It can be given; mixed along with regular formula feed or alternate with breast milk. Read More: What Causes Constipation in Breastfeeding Babies?
What Are the Worrying Signs?
If you ever spot blood in your baby’s stool or decreased amounts of urine, saliva, tears, sunken eyes, lethargy and irritability in your baby or if she is refusing to take feeds and is crying most of the times – please see your pediatrician at the soonest for a physical examination.
How to Deal with Digestion Problem in Your Breastfed Baby?
If your baby is 6-months or above you can occasionally give him/her small sips of water or fresh fruit juices. Avoid giving or administering ORS/electrolyte or any other medication since it can lead to electrolyte disturbances in your baby. Also, I suggest not to rely entirely on home remedies, as dehydration can set in very quickly in your infant and can get worrisome. After a certain age is reached one can introduce cow milk provided your baby isn’t allergic to it.
So, continue exclusive breastfeeding, eat a balanced diet yourself and if you spot any worrying symptoms in your infant, please see the paediatrician for a check-up. However, in case you are not able to breastfeed your baby, please consult your doctor about suitable alternatives that are tummy friendly and have growth promoting nutrients, protection and overall growth, ensuring that your child is happy. If this blog was useful to you, do share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Disclaimer: SHSH programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Consult a doctor for queries about your or your child's health.
| Nov 22, 2018
In babies below 6 months, its not advised to give ORS or any medication or water without a paediatrician's advice. It's normal if they pass stool once in couple of days. Gas formation is when, child is feeding rapidly, position of baby while feeding is not correct, he hasn't burped, and also on mother's diet.
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