The main reason that constipation occurs during artificial feeding is a violation of the diet of the child.
Regular and painless bowel movement in the baby indicates normal digestion. Regular stool of a child is an individual norm and can mean bowel movement both twice a day and once every two days. The popular claim that stools should be strictly once a day is not suitable for infants – their digestive system is still unstable.
The excitement of parents
Parents should be worried when:
- it is difficult for the child to empty the intestines;
- bowel movements cause pain;
- the stool is tight and separated by sausage or lumps;
- the frequency of the stool is more than two days.
The condition of the process is guided by the condition of the child – if the stool is rare but painless, the baby is in a good mood and plays, grows well, the problem of constipation exists only in the heads of loving parents.
Features of stool in infants
Constipation in an infant should be considered a condition in which bowel movement is slow, incomplete and painful.
Parents of first-born children often assess the condition of the child according to criteria for adults, when they consider constipation:
- stool delay for a day or more;
- separation of dense, hard and dry feces;
- defecation requiring effort;
- feeling of incomplete bowel release.
Finding a rare stool in the baby, mothers begin to worry, often – in vain. The chair is formed by food, and the approach to assessing its regularity in a baby who eats almost perfect food – breast milk or adapted milk formula, should be different.
Dr. Komarovsky constantly draws the attention of parents of babies to the fact that:
- the more suitable the baby’s milk mixture and breast milk, the better they are absorbed;
- with good digestibility, there remains a minimum of waste that is excreted in the form of feces.
Cleansing the intestines in a child depends on the age and type of feeding:
- the first bowel movement most often occurs after the first food intake, the stool is very dark in color, odorless, has a paste consistency;
- during the first days of life, stool occurs no more than 2-3 times a day and depends on feeding – breast milk forms a yellow semi-liquid stool with a milk smell, milk formulas are more dense masses with a characteristic odor;
- up to three months of age, the norm for a child on artificial feeding is considered to be painless stool once or more for a day;
- as the digestive system matures in children, the number of bowel movements decreases and amounts to two times a day at the age of 6 months. The stool should be soft, with no sour or putrid odor.
- After six months, the chair should be regular, no more than twice a day. Its appearance changes after the child begins to receive more varied food. The feces of the child darkens, becomes denser, has a specific smell.
In a child with artificial feeding, in most cases, the chair should be at least once a day. The reference point will be the well-being of the child, normal weight gain, and the absence of pain during bowel movements. All consultations on this matter to worried parents should be carried out with the attending pediatrician and adhere to his recommendations.
Constipation, types and causes
The problem with delayed bowel movement will first manifest itself in the behavior of the child.
An attentive mother will pay attention to the following symptoms:
- moodiness and frequent crying;
- poor appetite;
- restless sleep;
- hard swollen tummy;
- gas separation with the smell of rot;
- too tight stools;
- pressing the legs to the stomach;
- redness of the face, frequent attempts to push;
- screaming and crying when emptying.
Constipation in a child with artificial feeding can manifest itself by backward drawing into the anus of an already appeared stool.
Parents should pay attention to the structure of feces and the presence of blood residues in it, consult a doctor to identify the causes of constipation and its elimination.
The main cause of problems with stool is the imperfection of the digestive system of a child up to a year, its immaturity – digestive enzymes will begin to be produced as they grow older. Against this background, disturbances in the process of digestion and bowel movement will inevitably be present.
Types of constipation
Depending on the cause of constipation in newborns with artificial feeding can be divided into:
- physiological, which is caused by congenital disorders in the structure of the intestine and can occur as the baby grows up;
- functional, the cause of which is various disturbances in the activity of the digestive tract of the newborn.
Congenital pathologies in intestinal dysfunction include a too long sigmoid loop, overgrowing or congenital absence of the anus, impaired colon innervation (Hirschsprung’s disease).
Constipation in infants can be caused by insufficient intestinal motility, which is provoked by congenital disorders of the child’s nervous system, rickets, malfunctions of the thyroid gland.
Delayed bowel movements can be:
- one-time, or acute, caused by a specific reason, after its elimination, quickly return to normal;
- permanent, or chronic, which is manifested by prolonged problems with bowel movements.
Problems with stools that occur systematically indicate improper treatment of acute constipation or the existence of problems with the baby’s diet.
Reasons for the condition
Constipation in a newborn with artificial feeding is most often caused by the following reasons:
- improper selection of the mixture for food;
- a sharp transition to a new mixture;
- frequent feeding with various mixtures;
- a small amount of drinking water;
- attempts to feed too early;
- antibiotic treatment;
- violation of the intestinal flora;
- psychological trauma.
Quite often, babies are born with physiological immaturity – for intrauterine development, for various reasons, they did not form an innervation of the intestinal wall. As a result, a month-old baby suffers from stagnation of food in the intestines, which is not yet able to contract in a timely manner and transport food gruel to the anus. In a two-month-old child, such a violation disappears on its own.
Violations in the selection of mixtures
Most often, constipation in children develops due to the fact that the mixture for feeding the baby is not selected correctly. If breastfeeding is not possible, then the mixture that is offered to the baby should be as close as possible to human milk.
According to the degree of similarity, milk formulas are divided into three categories:
- highly adapted;
- little adapted;
- limited adapted.
Highly adapted mixtures are marked in the form of the numbers 1 and most of all resemble breast milk in composition. They are recommended for feeding children up to six months. There are mixtures specially designed for feeding babies with various disorders – premature babies, with allergies to certain components of conventional mixtures, etc.
From six months you can switch to mixtures of small adaptation, and after a year – to limited adapted.
In pharmacies, mixtures of various manufacturers are presented, their cost is quite high. The pediatrician gives recommendations for selection, but with a possible choice, the mixture should:
- well tolerated by the child, do not cause digestive disorders, allergies;
- produced by a company with good reputation and reviews;
- be constantly available (for sale);
- provide weight gain and development of the child.
If a child is offered a mixture with a large amount of fatty acids and components that the child’s body cannot digest due to age, sleepless nights are provided for parents.
The mixture must be diluted and prepared strictly with the requirements of the instructions on the package, too thick a meal with a reduced amount of liquid will cause flatulence, constipation.
Transition to a new mixture
The transfer of the baby to the new mixture should be carried out only in case of severe necessity – if it causes intolerance or does not meet the needs of the child (he has stopped gaining weight). If the child is full, he is not disturbed by digestive disorders (gas, stool disorders) – nothing in the diet should be changed.
When a single disorder of the stool is noted, the causes of the phenomenon should be analyzed, and not in a hurry to change the mixture or reduce its quantity – there may be a mistake in disrupting the cooking process, or there is a disease. If the phenomenon does not go away, the baby needs to be shown to the doctor, and act on his recommendations.
If you still need to translate, it is best to do it gradually, over several days, first feeding the baby, and then completely replacing the feeds with a new mixture. Optimal is the transition to a new mixture within a week.
Constipation, which occurs when switching to a new food, is often called false – this reaction of the body to a change in nutrition takes place after adaptation. A similar reaction can occur when changing the periods of feeding, when the usual conditions return, violations go away.
The presence of dense feces indicates a lack of water in the body of the child. A. Komarovsky, in his address to his parents, notes that for normal bowel movement, the child should receive a sufficient amount of water. Pediatricians believe that breastfeeding fully meets the baby’s water needs, and it is not necessary to give it to babies up to 6 months old, an exception is made for illness, high temperature in the room.
To prevent the occurrence of constipation in newborns who are fed with artificial mixtures, they need to offer some water between feedings. It is important that it was just pure drinking water, not decoctions or teas.
If the baby refuses water – it does not need to be drunk by force, but it is necessary to offer a drink without fail.
An important trace element on which intestinal activity depends is potassium, its sources are raisins and prunes. Komarovsky for the prevention of constipation recommends giving babies a decoction of raisins or prunes.
Modern pediatrics has a different point of view on complementary foods than the school of Soviet children’s doctors, which recommended starting feeding a baby from 2 months. This was due to many reasons, one of which is the insufficient nutritional value of breast-milk substitutes.
Now this is not a problem, high-quality adapted mixtures allow you to introduce complementary foods when the child is ready for this. The criterion is the appearance of at least one tooth and an age of at least 6 months. All attempts to feed a child with food that he cannot assimilate will result in constipation, bloating and a doctor’s call.
Psychological causes of constipation
Constipation with artificial feeding can be caused by psychological reasons. A child can hardly endure separation from his mother, which will affect his appetite and, accordingly, the process of bowel movement. After the reunion, episodic constipation disappears.
Another psychological reason is the unpleasant experience of the child during emptying – a cold pot, an unpleasant smell from it, can cause the child to endure urges to the last, which provokes constipation. Komarovsky draws the attention of parents to the fact that the habit of regular emptying can be developed only when creating comfortable conditions for the baby.
Often the cause of delayed emptying is overfeeding or forced feeding. Constipation in this case is a subconscious protest reaction of the baby.
Treatment and prevention
Parents of babies should know what to do if a child has constipation, and how to treat it. All ways to help with this condition can be divided into several groups. It:
- massage and laying on the baby’s tummy before feeding;
- selection of a suitable mixture for feeding;
- treatment with lactulose preparations;
- the use of enemas and other mechanical methods of irritation of the rectum.
A light massage will help stimulate the intestines of the baby and improve the waste of gases, soothe it. To perform massage movements, you do not need to have special knowledge, they are simple and effective.
To begin with, they put the baby on the back and perform the following actions:
- With warm, warm palms, stroke the belly around the navel in circular motions for a minute;
- Holding the baby’s feet and ankle joints in warm hands, in turn bend and unbend the legs in the knees, easily pressing the thigh to the tummy. Such movements need to be done 5-7 times;
- Do as in the previous paragraph, only two legs at a time;
- To continue the massage of the baby, you need to turn it on its tummy on a solid flat surface or lay it on mom’s lap. Warm palms along the spine in the direction from the shoulder blades to the buttocks with a slight pressure. Carry out such movements at least 5-7 times.
If necessary, medicines can be urgently used to help the baby. Komarovsky recommends lactulose syrup, which is sold in all pharmacies under various commercial names (Dufalac). These are not synthetic drugs, their use will not harm the child. You need to start giving syrup with small doses, as it causes increased gas formation.
Young parents often hear from grandmothers and mothers about “folk” ways of treating constipation – mechanical irritation of the rectum with a bar of soap or a mercury thermometer. Why this cannot be done. These methods are quite barbaric, in addition, form a habit, from which it is very difficult to wean a baby. With constipation, cracks in the anus may occur. What should parents do in this case? Glycerin or sea buckthorn suppositories can help, which will relieve pain and accelerate healing.