Infants – Praying for Poop
As parents of babies, it’s not uncommon to obsess over your baby’s poop. But what if there is no poop? There is nothing more upsetting than watching your baby grunt and turn red for days, or a week on end, and not be able to poop. Dealing with constipation in infants can leave a parent feeling helpless and it may be a little bit tricky to figure out.
If your infant is a newborn, constipation is not that uncommon if the baby is having difficulty tolerating what they are eating. The number one offendor is milk protein intolerance. This can be from a breastfeeding mother’s diet or from a milk protein based formula. Soy proteins are so similar in shape to milk proteins, that if the infant suffers from an intolerance to milk protein, chances are, soy protein will be a problem as well.
One of the things that you can try to do at home as a “trial and error” method would be to follow the Total Elimination Diet (TED Diet) if you are breastfeeding. This diet shows you how to eliminate offending foods from your diet and slowly add them back in. When the infant reacts, you know exactly which food is bothering the infant.
If the infant is formula fed, there are hypoallergenic formulas that you can switch to. The ones that you find on supermarket shelves DO contain milk protein, but they are hydrolyzed proteins, meaning they are very broken down, with intent of fooling the infant’s body into thinking they are not milk proteins.
This will often work, unless the infant is severely intolerant and constipation is persistant. In these cases, the infant would likely end up on an elemental formula, which is a formula made up of very easily digested amino acids, such as Neocate or Elecare.
If trial and error methods at home are not helping with your baby’s constipation, it is best to ask your pediatrician if there is anything they can do to help. Often, they will suggest infant probiotics, such as Culturelle kids. Probiotics help to add “good bacteria” back into the gut and eliminate yeast overgrowth as well, which could be another reason for constipation in infants.
Another thing that may be prescribed is a safe laxative, such as Mirilax or even something homeopathic such as a small daily dose of Magnesium Citrate. If the pediatrician is unable to help, a referral to a Pediatric Gastrointerologist will most likely occur.
This means that it is probably necessary to run tests such as an Endoscopy, in which they use a tiny scope to go down the infant’s throat and take biopsies from the stomach, esophogus and duodenum to check for things such as Celiac Disease, Eosinophilic Disorder or any other disorder that may be associated with constipation in infants.
These disorders would be remedied by diet changes and possibly medication, resolving constipation if it is the underlying cause.
Filed under: Constipation and Babies
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