Constipation is a common disorder in babies and young children. The working order of each baby’s intestines and the frequency of defecation are different. Some babies may not poop every day. If the baby’s stool is soft, the baby poops without difficulty, and his/her weight gain is regular and his/her general condition is good, there is no need to worry.

If the baby has not been able to poop outside the normal frequency for a few days, if the baby has hard and dense stools, sometimes pebble-like, if there is pain while doing this, or if there are bloody traces in the stool, it means that the baby is constipated. If constipation lasts more than three days and blood is seen in the stool, the baby should be taken to the doctor.

Constipation in Newborn Babies

Constipation is much less common in newborn babies. It is normal for the baby’s face to turn red while pooping, it does not mean that he is constipated. Generally, breastfed babies do not experience constipation because they poop more frequently. Babies drinking cow’s milk or formula-fed babies are more likely to experience constipation.

If the baby is breastfed and still experiences constipation, foods that prevent constipation should be given priority in the mother’s diet. If babies and young children are taking formula, foods that prevent constipation should be preferred. If constipation still occurs in a young baby, it is most likely due to malnutrition. Therefore, it is especially important to give the baby adequate amounts of breast milk or formula.

Constipation occurs when the muscles at the end of the colon become stiff and prevent the normal passage of poop. The longer poop stays in the intestine, the firmer and drier it becomes, and the harder it is to pass out of the body. Hardened poop causes tears and cracks as it passes through the last part of the large intestine. This causes convulsions in babies and children. Children may want to hold the poop and suppress the feeling of defecation to avoid this pain. This causes the poop to dry out more inside and reach larger diameter and volume. Thus, the constipation cycle begins.

Causes of Constipation

There are many causes of constipation. It usually occurs due to eating habits and irregularities. Some infectious diseases, metabolic diseases and some medications can also cause constipation. Switching to supplementary foods and teething are also factors that can cause constipation. The most important situation in constipation is the meal pattern. Precautions to be taken include ensuring that the child consumes fiber-rich foods, consumes plenty of fluids, and goes to the toilet for regular defecation. In addition to improper nutrition, inactivity in babies and children can also cause constipation.

When complementary foods are started in babies; Bananas, potatoes and rice porridge can cause constipation. These foods should be given at more intervals. More fruit and vegetable purees should be added to the baby’s diet. The baby should not be given cow’s milk until the age of one. Diluted fruit juice and warm boiled water between meals can relieve constipation. If ready-made food is used, its size should be reconsidered under the supervision of a doctor and foods containing prebiotic fibers should be preferred.

Nutritional style in babies and children who switch to complementary foods; It should be rich in fiber foods that leave residue, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole wheat bread and oats. Especially in the nutritional diet of children; There should be prunes, apricots, raisins, peas, beans, broccoli, zucchini, whole wheat and grain breads.

Children with constant constipation are generally children with poor appetite who get full quickly. At the same time, these children like to snack on junk food in between meals rather than eating at main meals. In such cases, it is useful to consult a nutritionist. Abdominal pain, cramps, nausea and vomiting may occur in children with recurrent constipation.

Do not intervene without consulting a doctor

In case of constipation, laxatives, suppositories or enemas should never be administered to the baby without consulting a doctor. The main purpose of constipation treatment is; The aim is to empty the large intestine at the first stage, then to maintain regular bowel habits and to eliminate the pain and fear associated with pooping. The condition that will eliminate the pain is for the poop to remain soft and not thick. This requires acquiring the habit of staying in the toilet for a sufficient amount of time, as well as a regular and controlled diet. Children who have gained toilet training should be made to sit on the toilet for 5-10 minutes after breakfast and dinner.

Treatment duration varies from child to child. Young children need to be treated for longer periods than older children. In addition, surgery can also be performed as poop remaining in the intestine for a long time causes the large intestine to expand.