I am having this frequent argument with my husband about my baby's apparent constipation. Well, that is just what my husband believes since the baby doesn't have bowel movement every day though I have read in some websites that it's still normal as long as the frequency isn't less than 5 times per week.
He believes that the baby must be given plain water to promote better gastro-intestinal movement (in addition to his milk intake), and insists on using Q-tip cotton-swabs whenever the baby grunts as he tries to poop. But I don't know if these practices are really doing good for the baby (I personally don't think we need that Q-tip whenever the baby hasn't pooped in two days).
Wouldn't the additional water be okay to give? And is there any other way aside from inserting the cotton swab to stimulate bowel movement?
Just to add, if this helps:
- My baby is just 3 months old.
- He has been on formula milk since he was just two weeks old (no breastfeeding since then).
It is generally advised not to give babies who are less than 6 months old any water. This is because:
-they do not need water: they get all they need from breast or formula milk
-giving a young baby water can make their tummies feel full and they will then want less milk which can lead to them not gaining weight or developing properly.
-too much water can make it harder for the baby to absorb the nutrients they need from their milk.
Formula fed babied tend to poo more frequently than breastfed babies. For formula fed babies, this is generally once a day but every baby is different. Constipation is more common in formula fed babies but if you baby does not seem in pain or uncomfortable when he is pooing then he is probably not constipated. If the poo is soft then he is unlikely to be constipated. Babies can make a lot of noise and fuss when they poo but this doesn't mean they are constipated.
If you are still unsure, I would see your healthcare professional. I would only give a baby less than 6 months old water if it was specifically advised by a healthcare professional.
Hope this helps,
Let us know how you get on,
Hi LJ, I didn't know about water affecting nutrient absorption. Thanks for that additional information.
Yes, the poo is soft as I think it should. That's why I think he's not constipated.
I will do take these things in mind. Thanks a lot!
You're very welcome Madysen. If the poo is soft then that doesn't sound like constipation to me.
Do let us know if we can help any further with this.
I would want to see a child have a bowel movement at least once a day, if not twice (or more). The reason for this is because we want to be sure that toxins are being carried out of the body frequently. The longer toxins are in the body the more "poisons" are absorbed back into the blood stream.
I've heard of parents stimulating a bowel movement by inserting their pinky finger or a Q-Tip SLIGHTLY into the baby's rectum, but I'd say this is only needed if the child has a specific condition that makes it difficult for him to go.
At 3 months of age, many doctors will say that it is okay to start a child on solids. I don't start my children that young, however, in this case, I would probably try some prune juice in addition to baby's formula. Another thing you can do is try a low-iron formula, as iron can cause constipation and a child's bowels to become backed up.
Is the baby on a formula that has iron? Is there a lower iron version available?