Managing constipation in toddlers

Managing constipation in toddlers

Breast fed babies

Amongst breast fed babies, there is a wide variation in frequency of passing a stool. While one newborn infant may pass a bowel motion after every feed, another may pass a bowel motion once every 7-10 days. It is unusual for a baby who is breastfed on demand to be constipated.

A baby breast fed on demand is also unlikely to need additional water. However, if your baby becomes constipated, offer cooled boiled water between feeds. If the weather is hot, feed baby more often. Mum should also ensure she also has plenty to drink.

Formula fed babies

Babies fed on formula do tend to have firmer stools, as do breast fed babies who receive some formula feeds. This can be of concern to parents, especially when they first start introducing formula. Remember, firmer stools do not necessarily mean constipation. Usually all you need to do is ensure that baby’s fluid intake is adequate.

Formulas are sometimes incorrectly blamed for causing constipation. The iron content of formula will not cause constipation, however, frequent changing of formula type and brands may contribute to constipation

If your formula fed baby is constipated, ask yourself:

  1. Is the formula being made up to the correct dilution?

    Ensure you are adding the correct number of scoops of powder for the quantity of water. Always pour the water into the bottle first, and then add the powder. When measuring out the powder, don’t pack the powder into the scoop. Don’t tap the filled scoop in any way (e.g. against the tin or with a knife) before you level it. Never heap powder in scoops.
  2. Is your baby is getting enough fluid?

    Add up the total volume of formula your baby is drinking in 24 hours. Is it enough? Check this against the guideline given on the formula packaging, or ask a health professional, who will calculate daily total fluid requirements according to your baby’s age and weight. Remember that babies need more fluid in hot weather.

What to do if your formula-fed baby is constipated:

  • If your baby is getting enough fluid and you are sure that the formula is being prepared correctly, offer small amounts (30-50ml) of cooled, boiled water between feeds.
  • As a temporary measure until bowel motions are soft again, add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar to each feed, or mix ½ teaspoon of brown sugar with 50ml boiled water and offer between feeds until bowel motions are soft again.
  • Babies over 3 months of age may be offered prune juice diluted with water. Give baby 1 teaspoon of prune juice mixed with 1 – 2 tablespoons of cooled, boiled water once a day. Discontinue sugar water or prune juice once your baby’s bowel motions are following their normal pattern.
  • Do not add prune juice or kiwifruit juice to feeds for infants under 3 months of age, as your baby is too young to tolerate fruit juice.

About Eleanor Harris

Hi, there. It's my blog about nutritional solutions. I post the most helpful content in this topic ❤️ I got master degree 4 years ago at University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Now i work for Danone as Nutrition Executive

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