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The Constipation Situation: How To Make Your Baby Poop

3757206163_105b6ca8d2_m Submitted by Danny Grubb, Seattle, WA
It happens every once in a while in our house. The twins get plugged up for some reason and don’t poop for a day. We nervously eye the jar of prunes we keep on hand for just such a situation. We don’t really want to use it because we remember what happened last time… for 24 hours straight! But our children are suffering, so we do what we know we must and get the prunes… and our goggles. Hey, nobody ever said parenting was glamorous.

All Babies Get Constipated

When your baby transitions to solid food, the stool pattern that you’ve gotten used to will change dramatically. Depending on what your baby eats she may poop 3 times a day or once every 2 to 3 days. The real problem arises when she starts having hard stools. If hard stools persist for a while they can cause cracks around the anus which may start to bleed. This can result in your baby starting to hold back stools. So when your baby struggles to poop and passes stools which could pass building code inspections its your cue to take some action.

A Few Things To Try First

Don’t reach for the prunes right away! There are strategies for loosening up bowel movements without turning your baby into a NASA rocket.

Baby Bicycle

Lay your baby on her back, take both feet into your hands and move her legs as if she is pedaling a bicycle. This motion can help all the right muscles relax and can loosen up her stool enough for her to pass.

Bath Time

Those of you who have experienced the poop in the bath might be hesitant to try this, but its worth a try if it will make your baby feel better. When you give your baby the bath, gently massage her belly. Babies tend to relax in the bath and while being massaged, this combination can knock that stubborn poop loose.

Liquid Relief

Giving your baby a bottle or two of room temperature water through the day may soften things up enough for her to poop.

Prunes: The Last Resort

The reason prunes (dried plums for the uninitiated) work so well is because they contain a natural laxative as well as copious amounts of soluble fiber which cleanses your baby’s system (that stuff has to come out somewhere, right?). 

You shouldn’t be scared to go here, at this point your baby is probably not happy and you would be thankful just to see something other than pee in her diaper. Grab that jar of prunes (which you keep on a different shelf so the babysitter doesn’t accidentally feed it to her) and feed your baby. It might take a couple of hours, but your baby will poop and poop and poop. Just grab some extra diapers, extra clothes and settle in for a long day of changing diapers. Keeping your favorite baby butt cream around may not hurt either.

If your baby for some reason doesn’t poop (even with the prunes) call your pediatrician!

Photo © belongs to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tusnelda/

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