Newborn Constipation


Constipation is common in newborns, pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears says. “Their stool should be nice and mushy,” he explains. When it's not, there's usually a reason.

Switching between breast milk and formula can cause constipation, as well as the introduction of any new milk source.

Common symptoms:
• Straining to pass firm stool less than once a day

• Painful, dry, hard stool
• Hard, pebble-sized stool
• Abdominal discomfort

“Check your baby’s diapers!” Dr. Sears says. “Baby poop is a way of telling how healthy your child is.”

The diaper decoder:
Greenish-black: When a baby is first born, his or her diaper may show a greenish-black substance. It’s actually not stool, but rather meconium -- the substances that were ingested in utero, such as amniotic fluid, mucus and skin cells. This is a normal for a newborn 2 to 4 days old.
Clear or jelly-like streaks: Baby may have an allergy or an infection.
Yellow or tan: This color signals that your baby has started digesting breast milk or formula and that his or her digestive tract is healthy.
Reddish brown: Call your pediatrician. This could indicate a milk-protein allergy, constipation or infection.
White: If your baby consistently has white stools, it could indicate a significant liver problem. Be sure to consult your doctor.

Treatment options
Make sure to give baby lots of fluids, which will increase fluid in the colon and stool.

"In general, if your baby is always having the same kind of poops and then it changes, that’s something to [talk to your doctor] about,” Dr. Sears says.

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Constipation in children
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