Is he not discharging diapers or stool after you changed his formula milk? Does the occasional stool look hardened and even have blood on the surface of the stool?
Then your baby is experiencing constipation. During constipation, babies feel irritable, to say the least. So what is constipation? Constipation refers to when your baby is having dry pebble motions.
These could be due to a number of reasons such as medication, the low fiber content in the diet, inadequate fluid, the introduction of new foods and the most common yet ignored reason being a change in formula milk.
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So, are formula babies more likely to get constipated?
That's accurate. Formula-fed babies are more likely to suffer from constipation than breastfed ones due to several explanations. One being the fact that formula milk has larger protein molecules, hence thicker in texture and harder to digest. This may likely cause gastric and intestinal issues like constipation.
On the contrary, breast milk is easier to digest and is assumed to be a natural laxative.
This is no particular way means that all formula-fed babies will get constipated or all formula milks are bad or all breastfed babies can't suffer from constipation. We have to keep in mind that every baby is unique and different and a lot of other factors can contribute to them being constipated, rather than the fact that they are being formula or breastfeeding.
Moreover, it is possible for your baby to show signs of constipation when you introduce solid food into his diet.
What are the signs of constipation?
Your baby might experience some or most of these signs during constipation:
1. Expressing pain through crying, red face, or arching their back while passing the stool
2. Their stool is stiffened and hard and may appear like a rock or pebble due to its hard texture
3. A taut belly
4. Showing little or no interest in food like before
It's also significant to note how difficult it is for your baby to poop along with the number of poops over a certain period of time. This means that if your baby is going every 3-4 days but their poop is normal, this shows that your baby is not constipated.
And if your baby is pooping daily but crying and expressing pain then this indicates that they are constipated.
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Switching from breastfeeding to formula milk
There is not much of a change when a baby switches from breastfeeding to formula.
You may note that your baby might be experiencing gas more than before, especially if he has started using a bottle or if his poop has become harder or has changed its color slightly. Other than these, there are no major differences.
Types of formula milk and constipation
There are 3 types of formula milks that you can opt for: ready-to-use, concentrates, and powder. In these types, formulas may be differentiated on the basis of milk-based, soy-based, and special formulas.
There are some formulas that are marketed as easier to digest. These formulas are processed in a way that they will break down into smaller units for easier absorption in the baby's stomach. However, there is no guarantee that this might be the case for your baby.
So, most of the time, the best way to choose formula milk for your baby is to ask other parents about their experiences with different formula milks and to do some research on the ingredients list.
Does switching formulas help?
If your baby is experiencing constipation, then changing the formula might be a good or bad idea depending on the ingredients list and your baby's body's adaptability to those ingredients.
Changing your baby's formula may change the poop as it may become normal like before. This might be due to sensitivity from some ingredients in the prior formula that had caused constipation.
It is also a possibility that your baby's constipation worsens after you change the formula or brand. It's not a good idea to change your baby's formula after giving it a time of 2 days because it may take some time to show its sensitivity in the baby's body or it may take some time for the baby's body to adapt. So it is in the best interest of you and your baby to wait for at least a week before changing a formula again.
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Some reasons why you should change the formula:
2. Tiredness and fatigue
3. Food allergies
4. Stools with blood
5. Increased irritability
How to help your baby with constipation caused by formula
For little newborns, you can try these tips:
1. Bath- a bath with lukewarm water can allow your infant's muscles to relax and help in passing the poop easily.
2. Massage- cuddling with your baby or massaging and having skin-to-skin contact with your baby may improve his digestion.
3. Bicycle kicks position- try to gently bend your infant's leg towards their chest. It's easier to poop in a squat position rather than pooping while lying flat on your stomach.
If your baby is above 6 months, then you can try giving him diluted apple juice in small amounts. If your baby has started eating solids, then you may give him baby cereals with fiber options like barley instead of rice.
when should I consult my baby's doctor?
Consult your baby's doctor if you notice hardened stool, blood in stools, frequent vomits, consistent irritable mood, and refusal to eat.
Is it necessary to keep your baby awake while formula feeding?
Yes, it is important to keep your baby awake while bottle feeding. If you want to learn more, we suggest you visit our page, How To Keep Baby Awake During Bottle Feeding?
No diaper is a bad dream for any parent. It can bring you sleepless nights with your baby, with a lot of crying and fussiness when you try some remedies.
If these remedies are not helping and your baby's constipation becomes severe or you notice more symptoms of constipation on a daily with no improvement whatsoever, then you may want to consider talking to your baby's doctor.