For the past couple of weeks my daughter has been really struggling with constipation. Recently she went a whole week without pooping. Talk about tiring. If you have experienced a constipated baby you will understand. My daughter was constantly fussy, crying and wanting to be held. I couldn’t get anything done! I was used to being able to put her down for 3-4 hours at a time and then she went to letting me put her down for only 30 minutes to an hour at a time! She was miserable and I was exhausted.
I ended up calling the pediatrician’s office several times. The first time was my daughter’s first time not pooping within 24 hours. I was used to her pooping 2-3 times a day and then all of a sudden NOTHING! The nurse informed me that it was alright for babies to not poop for up to 3 days. I was still extremely concerned because it was not normal for my daughter. I started pumping her little legs constantly and she finally pooped later that evening. Sometimes it would take her several days to poop. Then last week she was well past 3 days and I called the pediatrician’s office again. The nurse told me that it was normal for breastfed babies to not poop for up to a week at a time! Again that might be true but it still wasn’t normal for my daughter. I was instructed to call back the following day if she hadn’t pooped by then, which would have made it at least a week! Of course the day passed without her pooping. So the following day I called back the pediatrician’s office and was asked to bring her in later that day. After checking out my daughter, the doctor said she was pleased with how Baby Girl was doing and that her belly was still soft. I was told that as long as my daughter wasn’t vomiting while being constipated she would be alright. The doctor suggested Baby Girl was hitting a growth spurt so she would be more hungry and fussy and said that Baby Girl would poop when she was ready to. Needless to say, I was frustrated and relieved all at the same time. My daughter still didn’t poop until the following evening.
So I wanted to share some ways that helped relieve my daughter’s constipation. A lot of it is trial and error. Some things may work better for your baby and some may not. Some people like to use a rectal thermometer to produce a bowel movement. I didn’t have one on hand, but I don’t even know if I could have done that myself! But these are some of the things that I did to try to help my daughter. I hope this list helps give you some ideas for what you can do to help you with your fussy baby.
8 Ways to Help Relieve You Baby’s Constipation
A baby’s intestines cannot push food through like an adults can and they need constant movement to help things along. Unfortunately, babies can’t really move on their own (especially early on). So we have to help them by doing some little exercises. The most common ones are the bicycle legs, leg lifts and circles, and reaching their hand toward the opposite knee. A great idea would be to have your baby exercise to music every day for 15 minutes. It’s a fun way to get all the wiggles and gas out. You can also try some exercises in a warm bath.
2. Massage & Essentials Oils
Massage is another great way to keep everything moving along. A great resource is the article How to Massage Baby from Parents Magazine. It goes through great detail on how to massage your baby from top to bottom. I like to apply an essential oil blend and then rub her belly in a clockwise direction. I also gently pressed on her intestines using my third finger from her belly button toward the right. There are also diagrams of a baby’s feet showing what parts of her feet effect which systems and I like to rub that spot on her feet with essential oils.
As for the essential oils blends that I like to use, I took a roller bottle and filled it with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per 1 drop of essential oil for my 2 month old. You want to make sure that any essential oil that you use is properly diluted before you apply it to yourself or your baby. Peppermint is typically used to help digestion and nausea, so I put that in a roller bottle along with 1 drop of Lavender to help soothe my daughter. I also already had a Peace Blend roller bottle made up for my son, and I applied that to my daughter’s feet and rubbed them where appropriate (just above the heel for stomach and intestinal problems).
3. Gas Drops
A lot of people like to use gas drops. I used Mommy’s Bliss which seemed more natural with less chemicals and contains Fennel and Ginger which both help with gas and constipation. At my daughter’s age, the instructions said I could give her up to 5 ml 6 times in a 24-hour period. I tried to only give it to my daughter once or twice a day. This really did seem to help relieve her pain almost immediately and I was able to get a short break from her constant fussing and crying.
4. Pear Juice
Most doctor’s offices will suggest for you to try to give your baby pear juice. I was told to only give my daughter a couple of drops a day because she was still so young (only 2 months). To be honest I don’t think this made any difference. I gave my daughter 2.5 ml once a day and I didn’t really see any changes.
5. Fenugreek (or Extra Fiber)
I realized that one of the changes in my diet that may have caused my daughter to be constipated was that I stopped taking Fenugreek as a breastfeeding supplement. I had been taking between 2 to 4 capsules a day but ran out. When I was breastfeeding my son I tried taking them but didn’t see a significant increase in my milk production. So now with my daughter, I didn’t think that I needed to keep taking them. But I remembered something that my lactation consultant had said, that it would help keep me regular by taking all that fiber. So I thought that since my daughter started experiencing being constipated around the time that I stopped taking the Fenugreek that maybe there was a correlation. The Fenugreek that I am using can be found at Wal-Mart, except now our local stores don’t carry it so I have to order from site to store now.
6. Change Formula
After about a week of no luck in the pooping department, I decided it was time to try some new formula. I had been using Enfamil’s Gentle Ease, which she had been using pretty much since the beginning. But I had to consider that maybe this brand or this composition was causing too much gas. To go hand-in-hand with my next point, cutting out dairy, I decided to try a non-dairy formula, Enfamil’s ProSobee which is soy based. I understand that with soy that you want to stay as organic as possible. But unfortunately at this point we really couldn’t afford it. I had coupons for Enfamil so I wanted to try another composition within their brand before branching out to other brands like Similac. For the couple of times that I gave her the soy-based formula it seemed to help a little bit and cause less gas. But within only a couple of days of starting the new formula, I have been able to breastfeed my daughter exclusively! Woohoo! Which may be another reason that has helped her poop by being able to cut out formula altogether.
7. Cut Out Dairy
I’m not really sure if dairy is causing problems with my daughter or not. But at this point, cutting it out couldn’t hurt. Which is one of the reasons why I changed her formula in the previous point. In addition to cutting out dairy in my daughter’s diet, I am cutting out dairy from my diet as well because I’m breastfeeding. Let me tell you, cutting out dairy is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do for a diet, and I’ve already made the switch to being gluten free! I did it once before when I was pregnant with my son to help with my sinuses. It really made a big difference for me then. So I thought that maybe it could help ease my daughter’s constipation, too.
8. Chiropractor Work
Another great way to help relieve your baby’s constipation is by taking her to the chiropractor to get an adjustment. Unfortunately we were unable to take my daughter at this time because we are just so tight financially. But, I’m sure this would have made a big difference!
At this point I’m not sure what exactly made the difference. The longest time between her poops has been a week. But now she is pooping almost every day! Woohoo! I have never been so happy to see baby poop! So I’m not sure if her constipation had to do with her growth spurt or if it was diet related. I will try to slowly add back in dairy after a couple weeks to see if that bothers her or not. As you can tell, with babies there is a lot of trial and error. And what works for one baby may not work for another baby. Each child is so unique and special!
I hope this list helps give you some ideas on how to relieve your baby’s constipation. Maybe you’ve found something else that really helps your baby? What works for you? Please share with me! I would love to hear from you!