Constipation is a common problem in infants that causes strain for both babies and parents. Since babies cannot speak, they cannot communicate that they are in pain or are unable to make bowel movements. This is particularly scary for parents, who usually don't know there's a problem until it's a serious issue.
Look at your baby's bowel movements and see if they are hard and dry. These are telltale indicators of constipation. Other potential signs of constipation are stomach pain and crying while making a bowel movement. Note that if your baby is breastfed, the chances of her being constipated are minimal.
Give your baby extra fluids. Not drinking enough is a major cause of constipation in infants, so make sure he's well hydrated. If he's not getting enough liquid from his formula, offer him water in between his feedings. Should the constipation persist, give your baby an ounce of prune juice mixed with an ounce of water.
Change your infant's formula. Soy formula has proven to be effective for many infants with constipation, while others claim that soy formula actually causes constipation. There is no one formula that will cure your baby of constipation, so talk with your pediatrician and see what he recommends. No matter which formula you use, be sure to use enough water and formula to make an effective mixture, as too much water or formula can be a cause of constipation.
Monitor your baby's bowel movements as you use the different methods of treating constipation. Not every method works for every child, but you should be able to do something to minimize your baby's suffering. Look for signs of improvement within the first few days of implementing these methods. If you're still not having any success after 2 weeks, ask your doctor if she can prescribe anything to help your baby.
Don't obsess over the number of bowel movements your baby makes in a day. If her bowel movements are runny or pasty, you have nothing to worry about. It's only when her bowel movements are hard that you should be concerned.
Constipation is a serious condition that can cause your baby a great deal of pain. Abdominal pain and the tearing of his anus are possible consequences; he may also make the connection between making bowel movements and pain and force himself not to go. This will only make the constipation worse.