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Health & Safety

Alison Rhodes, "The Safety Mom"

National Child Safety Expert, Alison Rhodes, “The Safety Mom,” is one of the country's leading child safety authorities, providing tips and advice to parents on a broad range of issues facing all children - newborns to teens.
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Learning to recognize whether or not your baby is constipated is a common challenge for new parents. But for young children, especially breastfed babies, constipation is rare. Some babies have several bowel movements a day while others will go a few days between bowel movements. Knowing your baby's pattern of bowel movements can help to diagnose possible constipation.

Though stools vary in color, if your baby seems to be passing hard, painful stools, small pebble-like stools or if you notice a streak of blood in the stool, he or she is more than likely constipated. Don't be alarmed if there is a tinge of blood in the stool, this is caused from straining the rectum, causing a small tear (also called an anal fissure). You should however, always mention blood in your baby's stool to your pediatrician, just to rule out any other serious health problems.

So what causes such discomfort for our children? There are a number of factors that contribute to a child becoming constipated. The most common is a diet high in milk products and low in fiber. Your baby's stool is stored in the large intestines and colon. The intestines and colon break down waste and absorb water, making a bowel movement firm. Dehydration and dietary changes such as switching your baby to whole milk or solid food can make constipation more prevalent.

To relieve constipation in babies younger than four months of age, you could give fruit juice (such as apple, pear, white grape, or prune) diluted with water. The mixture should be one part juice to two parts water. Give a call to your pediatrician and ask what they recommend to relieve constipation. A warm bath can also be a very relaxing and soothing experience for a baby with abdominal cramping.

If your baby is eating solid food, adding foods higher in fiber like apricots, peas, raisins, beans, spinach, prunes or whole grain cereals can help to relieve constipation. Your doctor may also recommend changing to a soy baby formula if they feel regular formula is the problem. If changes in your baby's diet don't appear to bring relief for your baby, call your pediatrician. The doctor may advise using glycerin suppositories or a stool softener, but these should only be used with your pediatrician's approval.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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