Baby Formula and Constipation – Top Things You Need to Know

If babies were fed only with breast milk, issues of constipation in babies might never arise. This is because breast milk is completely natural and babies will not need to put in extra effort to digest them. 

Unlike breast milk which goes through the GI tract very smoothly, digesting formula might not be so smooth. The reason for this is breast milk is not as thick as a formula.

Formula is made with various molecules. Some are easy to digest while others might be a little difficult to digest.

How to Spot Constipation in Babies

To the average mother, when a baby has not pooped in a couple of days, such a baby is dealing with constipation. While this might seem right, that is not what constipation is. A baby can be said to be undergoing constipation when their stool is hard.

The fact that a baby does not poop very frequently does not necessarily mean they are dealing with constipation. When babies are breastfed, it is very normal for them to poop once in five days. Also, when they are fed with a “baby formula”, they might poop as much as three times a day to once in a couple of days. Going by this, if your baby does not poop as frequently as you would expect, they might not be constipated.

When a baby is constipated, such a baby goes through pain while emptying their bowels and also have bowels that look like pellets. In addition to these, they also cry and arch their backs while passing out poop.

While showing signs of discomfort and crying when passing out stool are signs of constipation, they sometimes are indications of other things. This implies the fact that your baby cries while passing out stool is not a definite indication that they are dealing with constipation. Babies also cry while pooping when they are dealing with colic.

Is There an Ideal Formula for Babies with Constipation?

If you discover that your formula-fed baby is dealing with constipation and are looking to change the formula that you feed your baby with. You have to bear in mind that there is no formula that is ideal for a baby that is constipated.

There is really no formula that has a reputation for helping babies prevent or lower constipation. This implies that when dealing with constipation in a baby, you will not be able to get a solution by simply changing the formula the baby is fed with.

Although changing a formula will not necessarily help put an end to constipation in your baby, there are situations in which a change in formula is all that you need to fix constipation in a baby.

Let’s look at some situations in which a change in formula can help bring a remedy to constipation in babies.

Your Baby is dealing with Acid Reflux: To a large extent, lots of babies deal with reflux. This occurs when they are not positioned properly while being fed or when they get overfed. When your baby has to deal with reflux, you can feed them with a thicker formula.

When a baby battling with acid reflux is fed with a thicker formula, there is a difficulty for the formula to come up after going down. This can go a long way in helping with constipation. 

The Presence of Milk Allergy: When your baby is allergic to milk, a change in formula could go a long way in helping with constipation.

Certain symptoms indicate that your baby is allergic to milk. One of these symptoms is the presence of mucus or blood in a baby’s stool. Furthermore, when your baby is very fussy, it just might be an indication that they are allergic to milk.

While the signs above might seem like enough reason to change your baby’s formula, before you go ahead to do so, you should confirm if your baby truly has a milk allergy.

After carrying out a test, if your baby truly has a milk allergy, then, you might feed them with a formula that is free from lactose.

While there is always a tendency to make use of a soy formula when you discover that your baby is allergic to milk, that might not be the best alternative.  A lot of times, babies that are allergic to milk also have allergies to soy. Going by this, switching from a formula that contains milk to one that contains soy might not be the best thing to do.

How to Help Babies with Constipation

Constipation might not seem like much. It, however, is a medical condition. Due to this, you will be making a mistake by not first consulting your doctor before making any move. 

As soon as you have the slightest suspicion that your baby has constipation, you should talk with a pediatrician. Doing this will go a long way in helping you discover any allergies. 

In addition to helping you in the discovery of potential allergies, talking with a pediatrician will also help you confirm if indeed your baby is dealing with constipation. That’s not all. A pediatrician will also help you come up with the most convenient solution to constipation.

Once you are certain your baby is dealing with constipation, you do not have to be worried. There are actions that can help you deal with constipation. These actions are:

  • Feeding your baby with baby foods that contain huge amounts of fiber. Ideally, these baby foods should contain broccoli, beans, peas, pears, prunes, sweet potatoes, barley cereals, etc. in high amounts.
  • Feeding your baby with between two to four ounces of 100% prune, per juice, or apple for about two weeks. This should only be done if your baby is between four to eight months old. If your baby is between 8-12 months, you should feed them with six ounces.
  • Making use of laxatives which are not just effective but also very safe for babies. Some of these laxatives are sorbitol or Miralax.
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