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If your newborn is having consistently hard and dry bowel movements, there is a chance that your child may have baby constipation. Unlike constipation in adults, constipation in infants doesn't necessarily mean that nothing is being passed. In fact, there is no medical harm in a babies stool staying in the body for an unusually long period of time, and the frequency of bowel movements also doesn't mean you have a constipation infant. The most sure sign of true constipation in babies occurs when the bowel movements make your baby feel significant discomfort and pain while movement is being passed. The stool will also be very dense, hard, dry and very dark. Normally, a babies stool should be very easy to pass and have a soft, almost liquid consistency due to the fact that they are not eating any solid foods at this point in their life. Newborn baby constipation is a common condition and is not necessarily harmful to their health unless it is not observed and dealt with in a timely manor.
Are Infrequent bowel movements normal for a baby?
The short answer is that infrequent bowel movements are very normal for a baby. Just because your baby passes stool infrequently doesn't mean you have a constipated baby, babies and constipation is a more complicated matter. The reason that infants have infrequent bowel movements is that they are using almost everything they ingest, namely milk. Mother's milk and certain formulas a very nutritious substances, and being a growing being, a babies body might actually absorb most of it, causing very little to pass through their digestive system. Most perfectly normal breastfed babies will actually only make a bowel movement once a week. Some babies just have a naturally slower gut so they will bass stool much less frequently. Both of these instances are quite normal and are not signs of constipation babies. In only a few rare cases, a period of severe and long term constipation for baby systems can have a medical cause. For instance, in only a few rare cases the muscles in the intestine don't work properly or some for of blockage has formed somewhere along the path in the digestive system. But if you have a baby constipated, this is rarely the cause, and if it is there will be other, more telling signs of this being the case.
When you should worry about infant constipation
If you notice that your babies stool is of a hard, dark and very solid consistency and your infant is experiencing a high level of discomfort when it is passing stool it is highly recommended to contact your pediatrician. If your babies bowel movements are only infrequent it doesn't mean that it necessarily has infant constipation. If your babies stool is of a normal consistency but only very infrequent it is not a severe condition and actually rarely requires any kind of medical intervention. The normal consistency of an infants stool is to be very soft, if not even liquid in its consistency. It should also not be very dark due to what it is ingesting. Stool only gets dark once it starts eating solid foods, especially meat and other heavier substances.
If your baby becomes constipated there will be a few treatment options available to you. Fortunately, most treatment options consist of diet altercations. In only a few rare cases is any kind of medical intervention required to deal with baby constipation. The most important thing to consider about infant constipation is that it needs to be noticed sooner rather than later. In general, when raising a child in its infant years you should be keeping track of patterns and when there are deviations from these patterns you should seek medical help. Even if your baby is not constipated, it is perfectly normal and even encouraged to notice and worry about even the most small changes.