A problem such as constipation occurs frequently in infants. Not all parents know how to properly behave in this case. The well-known children's doctor E. O Komarovsky recommends that young mothers not worry, but more closely monitor the condition of the child. Before taking any measures, you need to know exactly what symptoms accompany constipation in infants. Komarovsky believes that not always with a rare emptying of the intestines, the baby should be treated. In most cases, it is enough to adjust the nutrition and daily routine of the child. This is what Dr. Komarovsky teaches young parents.
Constipation in infants
In medicine, it is believed that a baby up to three months must empty the intestines two to four times a day. And constipation is called a condition when there is no feces for more than two days. But here everything is individual. Sometimes it happens that a breastfed baby completely assimilates mother's milk. And he has a bowel movement every 3-5 days. Before panicking and giving the baby medicine, the mother needs to find out what symptoms accompany constipation in the baby. Komarovsky says that if the baby is developing well and gaining weight, is cheerful and sleeps normally, and bowel movement does not cause unpleasant sensations in him, then a rare chair is normal. You can talk about the disease when, in addition to constipation, the child has other symptoms: gas formation, pain, bloating, loss of appetite. In addition, it is very important to pay attention to the condition of the stool. In infants, it should be mushy, soft, yellowish. If the child has constipation, his stool will be dark in color, with an unpleasant odor, and hard.
When do parents need to take action? It is believed that a child has constipation if the following symptoms are observed:
- stool is too hard, shaped or pea-shaped;
- putrid aroma of feces;
- when trying to poop, the baby is very tense, tense;
- the child twists his legs, groans and cries;
- the baby's belly is firm and swollen;
- the baby's appetite disappears;
- he has stool less often than 1 time in 3 days.
Causes of constipation
Only a doctor can tell if a child is sick or if such a bowel movement is normal for him. Therefore, for any deviations in the behavior of the baby, you need to contact the pediatrician. After all, before treating a baby, you need to know what caused his constipation. This condition can be triggered by many factors:
- pathologies of intestinal development, for example, Hirschsprung's disease;
- various inflammatory and infectious diseases, colds;
- violation of intestinal microflora;
- taking certain medications, especially antibiotics;
- an allergic reaction to cow's milk and certain other foods.
In such cases, only a doctor can treat constipation in infants. Komarovsky advises mothers to take some measures on their own if rare emptying is caused by other reasons:
- lack of breast milk, while the so-called "hungry" constipation appears;
- the wrong diet of the mother, because everything that the woman ate goes into her milk;
- lack of water, which helps to remove feces;
- the transition from breastfeeding to artificial feeding, since up to 4 months mother's milk not only feeds the baby, but also protects against diseases;
- the introduction of complementary foods, in this case, the child's intestines with constipation may react to unfamiliar food;
- changing the milk formula, which may contain a component that is intolerable to the baby;
- overheating the child with too warm and dry air, which causes dehydration;
- the stresses and worries of the baby due to the change in the environment, his fear when he is left alone.
Stool norm in newborns
After birth, for some time, the work of all organs of the child is getting better. In the first three days, the baby comes out with black-green plastic-like feces - meconium. Then, up to one and a half months, the baby poops as many times as he eats - 8-12. His stool is mushy, yellowish in color, with a sour odor. But up to 3 or 4 months, the child's intestinal functions have not yet fully formed, many enzymes and beneficial bacteria are absent. Therefore, constipation in a newborn often occurs at this time. Komarovsky urges parents not to panic, but to try to improve the nutrition of a nursing mother or consult a doctor about the choice of infant formula. Normally, a child who is breastfeeding should poop 4-5 times a day. And in artificialists, bowel movements happen less often - 1-2 times. Moreover, the feces should be soft, mushy.
Constipation in infants while breastfeeding
A child who feeds on mother's milk may not poop for up to 3-4 days. It is considered normal if the baby is not worried about anything, if he is cheerful and cheerful, sleeps well and gains weight. This means that breast milk is suitable for him and is well absorbed. Only in rare cases, there is real constipation in babies when breastfeeding. Komarovsky believes that it is necessary to take action if the baby is not gaining weight, is restless and crying. But before using any medication, you should definitely consult your doctor. In most cases, you can fix the problem simply by changing your mom's diet.
What rules should a woman adhere to in order for a child to have regular bowel movements?
- you need to drink at least 2 liters of water, it will help stimulate intestinal motility;
- regularly eat prunes, dried apricots, raisins and beets;
- the daily menu should include buckwheat or oatmeal, pumpkin, apricots, plums and dairy products;
- it is necessary to exclude coffee, tea, chocolate, smoked meats, fatty and spicy foods from the diet;
- you should limit the consumption of rice, legumes, potatoes, fresh milk, walnuts and baked goods.
But even if the mother observes all the rules, sometimes there is constipation in a baby while breastfeeding. Komarovsky believes that this is due to a lack of water. He recommends that in hot weather, supplement the baby with clean water or a decoction of raisins. But it is undesirable to use a bottle with a nipple for this, so that the baby does not get used to it. You can drink a child from a spoon or a special drinker, and you can give a little one water from a syringe without a needle.
Constipation in infants with artificial feeding
If, when breastfeeding, mothers rarely encounter real problems in emptying the baby's intestines, then with artificial people this happens more often. What to do to prevent constipation in a bottle-fed baby? Komarovsky recommends following these rules:
- you need to dilute the mixture strictly according to the instructions, you cannot make it more concentrated;
- be sure to give the baby water, you can add a few drops of dill seed decoction;
- if constipation in a child occurs frequently, it is necessary to change the mixture, choosing one in which there are lactobacilli.
Constipation after introducing complementary foods
Komarovsky recommends feeding the baby only with breast milk for up to 4-5 months. If the mother has enough of it, then the baby will receive everything he needs. Very often, constipation occurs in infants with the introduction of complementary foods. Komarovsky advises, in order to prevent this, to start not with egg yolk or fruit juices, but with vegetable puree or dairy-free porridge. After a while, the baby's nutrition needs to be varied so that he receives a sufficient amount of dietary fiber. Therefore, vegetable soups and mashed potatoes, cereals, especially not ready-made, but made by their mother, are very important in the diet of children. After 7-8 months, the baby should be given coarse bread, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Sometimes it happens that there is constipation in infants after the introduction of complementary foods. Komarovsky advises in this case to give the child juice or puree of prunes, pumpkin, raisin decoction. It is advisable to include these foods in the diet if the baby is already 6 months old. Food for a child should be prepared immediately before use, it is undesirable to boil it well. If you follow these rules, you can prevent constipation in babies.
What to do
Komarovsky gives some advice on how you can help your baby. After all, it is not always possible to immediately consult a doctor. But every mother is able to alleviate the condition of the child. And only if these measures do not help, you must definitely contact a medical institution. So what if the baby is constipated? Komarovsky recommends the following methods:
- massage the baby by gently moving a warm hand along the baby's tummy clockwise;
- the exercise "bicycle" helps to activate the bowel function: you need to take the child's legs and gently bend them alternately at least 10 times;
- you can put a diaper heated by an iron on the baby's tummy;
- a warm bath will help the baby to relax;
- the doctor considers glycerin suppositories to be an effective remedy for constipation;
- in extreme cases, you can give the child a laxative medicine prescribed by a doctor.
It is necessary to call an ambulance or see a doctor as soon as possible if the child has the following symptoms:
- abdominal pain, gas, bloating;
- decreased appetite, refusal to eat;
- impurities of blood appear in the feces;
- frequent vomiting;
- the baby's feces and urine are dark, with an unpleasant odor.
What medications can be used for infants with constipation
It is not recommended to give any medicine to babies without consulting a doctor. Even the safest and most approved drugs from birth can harm the unformed intestinal microflora of the child. Therefore, only in extreme cases is it recommended to use medications to cure constipation in infants.
- It is best to use preparations containing lactulose. This is the safest laxative. Lactulose syrup is a prebiotic. It stimulates the production of beneficial bacteria in the intestines and helps to remove stool to the outside. The following preparations containing lactulose are recommended: "Duphalac", "Normase", "Portalak", "Lizalak" and some others. For starters, it is best to give these medicines in a reduced dosage. And if you need a long-term admission, you should definitely consult a doctor.
- To reduce gas formation in the intestines, doctors prescribe the following drugs to babies: Espumisan, Plantex or Sub-Simplex. They help relieve cramps and gently flush out gas to relieve bloating.
- Komarovsky considers glycerin suppositories to be the best remedy for constipation in infants. Children are very rare on sale, but you can use ordinary ones as well. One candle needs to be cut in half lengthwise and then across. There are four parts. With one piece of the candle, with clean hands, you need to smooth out all the edges and carefully insert it into the baby's anus. Gently pinch his buttocks and hold for a little. Such a candle will help soften the stool and gently bring them out.
How to give an enema to a baby
Many believe that this is the only way to treat constipation in babies. Komarovsky recommends using an enema only in extreme cases. Frequent use flushes beneficial bacteria from the intestines and weakens its tone. How to do an enema for a baby?
- Take a rubber bulb with a soft tip, it should be up to 60 ml.
- Usually, chamomile decoction is used for babies. It should be at room temperature. Too warm water is immediately absorbed through the intestinal wall.
- Lay the baby on its side or back. Lubricate the anus and the tip of the enema with baby cream.
- Squeeze the pear a little to remove air from it. Gently insert the tip no more than a couple of centimeters into the baby's intestines. If you feel resistance, you can't push.
- Slowly release the water without using force. The process of intestinal contraction takes place in waves, so if you feel resistance, you need to wait a little. Pull out the enema.
- Squeeze the baby's buttocks and hold it for a couple of minutes.
But ready-made microclysters, which are sold at the pharmacy, are more convenient to use and safe for the child. For example, you can purchase "Mikrolax". But do not do them often to prevent addiction.
Folk remedies for constipation
Many mothers try to help their child with recipes that their grandmothers used. They push a piece of soap, a cotton swab smeared with petroleum jelly or a thermometer into the baby's anus. So in the past, constipation in an infant was often treated. Komarovsky warns parents against using such funds. He believes that this is child abuse. In addition, such funds can injure the mucous membrane, cause irritation in the anus and further exacerbate the problem.
From folk remedies, the doctor prefers decoctions that help remove gases. It is best to brew dill seed, anise, or fennel. Komarovsky considers a decoction of raisins to be very useful. In addition to the laxative effect, this drink enriches the body with potassium, which is very important for the normal functioning of the intestines. There is a wider choice of remedies if a baby is 6 months old with constipation. Komarovsky recommends giving your baby juice, broth or puree of prunes, including foods rich in fiber in the diet.
Prevention of constipation
Everyone knows that a problem is better prevented than looking for ways to cope with it. Doctor Komarovsky says a lot about constipation in infants, but the main thing he focuses on is that you need to establish proper nutrition for the baby. How should you act to prevent constipation?
- A bottle-fed baby should get enough water.
- If the baby feeds on breast milk, then the mother needs to drink at least 2 liters of liquid and eat foods rich in potassium.
- Put the baby on the tummy more often, ideally for 5 minutes each time before feeding.
- Regularly do gymnastics with the child: raise his legs, bend them at the knees, exercises on a gymnastic ball are useful.
- It is necessary to give the baby a light tummy massage, it helps to relieve muscle spasms and reduce gas formation.
- The baby should not be overheated.
- The food of babies who are already receiving complementary foods should not be highly heat-treated and very soft.
You need to treat constipation in infants on your own only if it is the only symptom. And when the baby is experiencing abdominal pain, he has increased gas production and has no appetite, an urgent need to consult a doctor.