There are several things parents learn to keep an eye on when it comes to babies, and probably even more things that they debate are normal or not. One of those things is baby's poop. For moms who formula feed, there can be several instances when they find themselves wondering, " is my formula-fed baby constipated?" Luckily, the ways to tell are pretty straightforward.
Things like the color of a baby's poop or how often they dirty a diaper in one day don't generally have any impact on whether or not they're constipated. That because, according to a Parents interview with pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu, baby's poop schedule, color, and even type of poop is constantly changing. Instead, it's important to focus on the poop's consistency the baby's cue. More often than not, if there's an issue with constipation, your baby will start to show some fairly common signs that you'll notice are out of character for them.
Along with monitoring your baby's stool, you may also notice a difference in facial expressions, appetite, or overall temperament. If you suspect constipation, take a look at the six common signs highlighted below to see if it may be time to contact your pediatrician.
1. They Don't Have Daily Bowel Movements
Although breastfed babies sometimes go days without pooping, this isn't the case for formula-fed babies. According to Kids Health, formula-fed babies generally have daily bowel movements. So, if you notice your baby is consistently getting through the day without a bowel movement, consider bringing it up at your next check-up.
2. They Have A Firm Belly, Painful To The Touch
As Shu said in the previously mentioned Parents article, a firm belly that's also painful to the touch is a sign her intestines are backed up. Especially if this symptom is coupled with refusal to eat or straining faces, put a call into your pediatrician to get their suggestion.
3. Their Poop Has A Pebble-Like Or Hard Texture
According to Baby Center, "a formula-fed baby's stool is a little bit firmer than a breastfed baby's, about the consistency of peanut butter." If your baby's stool is appearing to be even harder than that, it can be sign of constipation. And is worth contacting your pediatrician for further evaluation.
4. They Cry When Pooping
According to the aforementioned Kids Health article, babies who cry while pooping might also be constipated. If you can tell your baby is upset, straining more than normal, or pushing extra hard when pooping, it's very likely constipation is the issue.
5. They Poop Blood
The first time I saw blood in my baby's diaper I was beyond concerned. Fortunately, I learned a small amount of blood is normal when babies are having constipation problems. According to the aforementioned Parents article, poops that are difficult to pass can stretch the anal walls and cause a small streak of blood in the stool.
6. They Have Several "Off" Diapers With Solid Foods
According to Baby Center, constipation can be common in formula-fed babies who are having solid foods introduced into their diet. One or two diapers that contain pebble-like stools are OK. But if it occurs in more than two or three diapers, it's a sign ongoing constipation is occurring. Reach out to your pediatrician for suggestions in this case.
If you notice these signs of constipation in your baby, it's generally an easy fix after consulting with your pediatrician. Sometimes something as simple as a formula or diet change can be implemented. Other times, in my experience, your doctor may suggest something like 100 percent prune juice. And occasionally it may take a little more persistence or medicine. Regardless, constipation can be solved several different ways with the guidance of your pediatrician or health care provider.