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Thread: Info regarding bowel habits and constipation in Babies

  1. #1

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    Default Info regarding bowel habits and constipation in Babies

    Normal Elimination of Bowel motion
    As the anal sphincter of the baby is not fully developed the baby is unable to empty to bowel at one time. Water remnant left in the bowel will be absorbed slowly and cause the first section of the next movement to be hard and more difficult to pass. If the following action is wet and soft, after the first section whihc is dry and hard, this is NOT constipation.

    In well babies, generally speaking the bowel action of every baby/infant is different. If the baby/infant is feeding well and gaining weight, parents need not worry about the form, colour, frequency and smell of the bowel action. If the bowel motion is wet and soft it is not regarded as constipation.

    Breastfed babies: The bowel motin is usually yellow or green/yellow in colour. The Texture is soft and glue like. The smell is slightly sour or odourless. It is normal to find white grains 'curds' in the bowel motion. They may vary greatly in colour, numver and bulk as the diet of the mother affects the motion.

    Formula Fed Babies: If baby is formula fed, the motion will be firmer but similar in colour, shape and smell of the motion of the BF baby. It will be green/yellow, brownish/green/yellow or brown in colour with the occasional curd in it. Iron may change the colour of the moiton to be darker green. Casien (part of the milk formula) causes an unpleasant odour. Some fats contained in the formula (aminal or vegetable) may cause foul smelling motions, indicating it is not well digested and absorbed.

    Bowel Habits
    Breastfed Babies: BF babies can pass up to fifteen bowel motions each day. If there is a growth spurt they may not pass a motion for up to eight to ten days as all the milk is absorbed. If this occurs and baby is having frequent wet nappies, is settled between feeds and showing no signs of discomfort do not be alarmed. The baby should pass a motion within this 8-10 days, however if you are concerned consult your health professional.

    Formula Fed Babies: In the first 4-5mths of life there may be two to four bowel actions each day. Some babies may have a bowel action after each feed and others once every 2-4 days.

    Constipation
    Constipation is where the bowel motion is dry and hard. The motion looks like small pellets which may not stain the nappy. the motion may be difficult to pass and often infrequent. It could cause pain for bleeding from the anus. If bleeding occurs contact your GP or Paed.

    Why Constipation occurs
    During hot weather constipation can be caused by lask of fluid, especially water as it is lost through perspiration and wet nappies. If sufficient water is not replaced, it will result in reduction of water in the bowel motion. Occasionally ther may be a condition where there is a crack in the skin next to the anal opening. If you suspect this has happened contact your GP or Paed for a consultation. Constipation is often caused by incorrect preparation of the formula when water volume is decreased in the feeding bottles. It may also occur if extra scoops of formula have been added agaisnt instructino of the manufacturer or in some cases not enough scoops. It may also occur when the baby is being weaned from the breast to formula. Frequent changing of brands and type of formula may also be cause.

    Hints for Prevention of Constipation
    • Prepare milk exactly as directed. Never add more formula than directed. Remember, water must be added BEFORE the powder to reduce loss of water in the feeds.
    • It is not recommended to change the formula frequently as this may interfere with bowel function.
    • In older babies, 15-30mls of warm/cooled boiled water may be given between milk feeds. This will stimulate the bowel and prevent thirst.
    This information was complided by Maureen Price (Midwife and Mothercraft Nurse) and Jillian Treganowan (Registered Nurse, Midwife MSc and Lactation consultant). It is intended as general information only and not a substitute for professional advice.


  2. #2

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    Thankyou so much for this Sherie, i realise now tha Lachie is not constipated as first thought and that its just the way he poo's.
    He poo's every 2nd-3rd day and although his face goes bright red, and looks like he struggles when pushing and gets all teary (doesnt cry), his poo's are not hard like you described, they arnt completely soft either but soft enough, and are the colour you describe too.
    I am really glad you posted this, as i was about to change formula, but will now keep the same formula and seek help re:reflux meds as talked about with you before

  3. #3

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    Default bright green motions

    Hi, my DD is 13wks and I have been bf, but she wasn't gaining weight so I have been giving her 1-2 bottles of formula S26 gold a day. In the last week she has gained significantly but I have noticed in the last three days her dirty nappies have been green. Up until now they have always been a browny colour and its sort of runny. Is this normal? She seems quite content. Thanks.

  4. #4

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    The green poos could be due to the increased iron in the formula.

  5. #5

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    I am at a loss, con anyone recomend a formula that works, my ds was unable to BF and so we have put him on formula at 3 weeks unfortunatly we started with using s26 but he got constipated from this (pellet like) so we have now changed formula and he seems to be now going through the same thing again its breaking my heart to see him like this. Any advice???

  6. #6

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    You could try giving him some infants friend, I have found that to work really well in aiding constipation and the tummy pain that goes with it.

  7. #7

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    Lyndall, please don't be offended by me saying this, it sounds really silly, but double check that you are making the formula up correctly! If you're not, you wouldn't be the first mum to make that boo boo

    If all is okay there, I would check with your MCHN what she thinks. You dont want to go mucking around with formulas too much if you can help it.

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