Do babies suffer constipation?

Dear doctor; My two-month old baby is still exclusively on breast milk but it appears like she suffers from constipation. Do babies suffer constipation or is something else causing her to cry all the time and not been doing regular defecation?

Dear doctor;

My two-month old baby is still exclusively on breast milk but it appears like she suffers from constipation. Do babies suffer constipation or is something else causing her to cry all the time and not been doing regular defecation.

Angelique

Dear Angelique,

You have not specified whether the baby passes stool once  everyday or after every feed or is it some times in a week, does she cry while passing stools? Is there any associated vomiting or passing blood via rectum? Normally breast fed babies do not remain constipated because mother’s milk is suitable for digestion of the baby. A breastfed baby can have variable bowel movements, passing stool after every feed to defecating after one to three days. There can be idiopathic, that is to say, unexplained constipation without any cause. If the baby is not crying, not passing blood through rectum, tummy does not feel tight or bloated, stools passed are soft, then there is nothing to worry. However, If there is excessive crying, stools passed are hard, hard stool gets impacted in anus or baby passes blood per rectum or there is associated vomiting, then it should be looked into.

Some diseases like hypothyroidism can cause constipation, abnormal development of the bowel as in Hirchsprung’s disease, other congenital abnormality like cystic fibrosis, all these can cause constipation in a baby. Certain neurological conditions like congenital abnormalities or diseases of brain and or spinal cord can also cause constipation in babies.

Sometimes using small glycerin wicks or just pushing a soft clean finger coated with glycerin to evacuate loaded rectum helps, but these should be done only after other problems are excluded. If your baby seems to be sick with constipation, it is better to take her to a pediatrician.

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