Baby and Toddler Sickness: Constipation

Upset and uncomfortable baby

How to tell if your child is constipated – and how to help if they are.

Constipation is when your child’s poo is hard or infrequent – this can often be painful and uncomfortable for them.

There’s a wide range of ‘normal’ poo for babies who are breastfed; from six weeks, they may pass a bowel motion every day or every 7-10 days. Doing any of these things doesn’t necessarily mean they’re constipated. However, if your child is not breastfed and is pooing less than every three days and their poo appears hard, dry or pebble-sized, they are likely to be constipated.

If your little one is just a baby, you can try giving them a warm, relaxing bath and a gentle baby massage . For children on solid foods, there can be many causes, including not drinking enough water or having enough fibre, among other factors. You can try increasing their fluid and fibre intake and encouraging them to be more active but if the constipation doesn’t resolve, take your child to an appointment with your GP.

For more advice on keeping kids healthy, visit kidshealth.org.nz.

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