Bowel motions that are very firm, and look like little pebbles. Quite a lot of babies look like they are concentrating hard or may get very restless when passing a bowel motion. This is normal, providing the bowel motions are soft and there is no blood.
NOTE: breastfed babies rarely become constipated.
Making changes to baby’s diet should always be the first step – before giving medicines or suppositories. Discuss this with your Child Health Nurse.
- Breastfeed regularly.
- If bottle-fed, give warm boiled water between feeds: 30 ml for the young baby, more for the older baby. Check the strength of the formula. Are you making it up correctly? Always put the water in the bottle first, and then add powder. Don’t pack down the formula in the scoop.
- Put some oil on your hand and gently massage baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction.
- At change time, leave nappy off for a few minutes, and do “bicycle” motions with baby’s legs, gently moving their legs backwards and forwards as if they were pushing the pedals of a bike.
A. Breastfed baby
Consistency: soft and runny.
Colour: mustard yellow to orange.
Frequency: every feed to once a day.
B. Bottle-fed baby
Consistency: soft paste (like toothpaste).
Colour: greyish green to yellow, depending on type of formula.
Frequency: every one to two days.
C. When baby is on solids
Consistency: more solid (but still soft and easy to pass).
Frequency: may be less frequent.
Appearance: may contain undigested food.
- Increase the amount of fruit (e.g. stewed apples, pears and prune pulp) and vegetables (e.g. spinach and carrot) —preferably ones you’ve cooked yourself, as these will have more roughage than commercial baby foods.
- Decrease the amount of baby cereal for a few days. If baby is over six months, make sure you use mixed grain cereal.
- Give pieces of raw or dried fruit to chew on.
- Don’t forget to give extra water and/or diluted fruit juice (half water).
- If you have tried the above suggestion for two to three days and there has been no soft bowel action, see your Child Health Nurse.
- If there is blood in baby’s motion, see your doctor.