Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baby Constipation

Kid #3 is exactly 3 months old today!  We're planning on celebrating his 100 day birthday korean style.  Grandma C is coming to meet him for the first time and to plan the party.  Being chinese, I'm not that familiar with the korean traditions but one common theme across most asian cultures in general is that it involves food.

So this kid has been pooping every 4-7 days.  Constipation you say?  Well, actually for babies constipation is determined more by the consistency of the stool and not so much by the frequency.  Some breastfed babies can go 8-10 days without a bm because breastmilk is absorbed better than formula.  Formula fed babies usually go at least once a day.  As primary care physicians, we get calls all the time from distraught moms worried that their baby is constipated.  Depending on age and circumstance, sometimes a glycerin suppository is warranted... or the good 'ole rectal stimulation with a thermometer... but probably more times than not, baby is fine and not really constipated.

Common causes of constipation would be:
  • switching from breastmilk to formula
  • recently starting on solids
It is rare that mom's diet will actually affect baby to be constipated.  However, if getting the sense that certain foods make baby more fussy or break out in rashes... then common foods to avoid include:
  • milk (lactose) products
  • soy
  • wheat
  • corn
  • eggs
  • peanuts

So if you think baby is truly constipated, call your physician.  However, if baby seems fairly happy, not straining to poop, and poop is not really hard... then the timing may just be a variant of normal.  

Ofcourse it is always harder when it is your own kid.  After day 4 or 5 of no poop... there is usually much rejoicing when we get a stinky poopey diaper!