Constipation in your newborn

What causes constipation in your newborn, what to do next and when to seek help

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Is he constipated or just pulling a funny face? It isn’t always easy to second guess your newborn.
Your newborn baby can have great variation in the number of poos he does. A newborn can also look constipated when he’s not. It’s rare for him to get constipation, especially if breastfed.
“Even if your baby goes from pooing several times a day to only going once every three or four days, it’s not considered abnormal unless the poo is hard and causes pain when passing,” health visitor Tricia Blossom explains.

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What can cause newborn constipation?

“It’s most likely your baby isn’t getting enough fluid,” says GP Dr Eileen Nolan. “A change in the milk he’s having can also cause different toilet habits.”

What can you do?

“If your baby’s bottlefed, offer an ounce or two of cooled, boiled water between feeds, and give a breastfed baby some extra feeds,” says Dr Nolan. “Or try a teaspoon of freshly squeezed orange juice (if he’s over 6 weeks). As a last resort I’d prescribe a small dose of lactulose (a laxative syrup), but don’t buy it without your doctor’s advice.”

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Mum’s story:

“Different formula caused constipation”

“Ethan developed colic at 6 weeks, so my health visitor suggested I try a different formula (I was bottlefeeding). But it caused terrible constipation – Ethan was getting really distressed. My GP prescribed lactulose, which worked really quickly. We switched to his original formula and used colic drops instead.”
Lisa, 29, mum to Jake, 2, and Ethan, 6 months

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