infant constipation

Is It Normal To Have Hard Stools In Baby?

A baby’s digestive system is immature at birth, making newborns prone to digestive disorders like colic, diarrhea, and reflux. One such problem is constipation that leads to irregular bowel movements and difficulty in passing stools.

Signs of Constipation in Babies

  • Infrequent Bowel Movements Normal bowel movements differ in every baby. Some babies may have a frequency of passing stool once a day, while others may have a frequency of 3-4 a week. However, if the baby is having infrequent bowel movements rather than his usual normal frequency, it may be a sign of constipation.
  • Taut or Firm Belly Bloating and pressure caused by constipation can make the baby’s tummy taut or firm.
  • Hard/Dry Stool Constipation may cause hard/dry stool in babies that are difficult to pass. The baby may push or strain more than usual to pass stool, make fuss or cry.
  • Blood in Stool Too much pushing or straining while passing stools may cause tiny tears around the anal walls, resulting in the bloody stool.

Causes of Constipation in Babies

  • Changes in diet, such as switching from breast milk to formula feed and introduction of solids can cause constipation.
  • Infants may have milk protein allergy, which is an abnormal response of the body’s immune system to a certain protein present in milk.

Remedies for Baby’s Constipation

  • Breastfeeding Breast milk contains oligosaccharides which are non-digestible carbohydrates which acts as prebiotics, that serve as food for good bacteria present in the baby’s gut. The good bacteria help improve digestion and overall gut health.
  • Prebiotics Rich Food If the baby has started eating solids, they can be given prebiotics rich foods such as oats, barley, bananas, and asparagus, etc. Prebiotics improves gut health and immunity that reduces the chances of falling sick.
  • Hydration Proper hydration helps regulate bowel movements and soften stools. Breast milk is the best source to keep the baby hydrated for first 6 month.

The first few months of a baby’s life are crucial as he/she is prone to digestive problems such as constipation and other illness due to immature gut and immunity. Proper early life nutrition can help build immunity.