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Baby Constipation

November 3rd, 2014 | By: Dr. Jeremy Friedman
Find out what’s causing your child’s constipation and how to deal with the symptoms and help him feel good again.

In This Article

Baby Constipation

Constipation is one of the most common and challenging problems of childhood. It refers to a pattern of infrequent bowel motions associated with hard stools, straining and discomfort. There is a wide variation in the frequency with which children pass stools. Some babies and children will go three times daily, while others will have a bowel movement every three days. Both patterns may be normal. It is not so much the frequency of stools that makes the diagnosis of constipation, but rather the associated symptoms of pain, hard stools and straining. 

Signs and Symptoms of Constipation

  • Fewer than three bowel movements weekly (babies younger than six months may only have one bowel movement a week)
  • Fecal incontinence (soiling) in a previously toilet-trained child
  • Retentive posturing or stool-withholding behaviors; a child may refuse to sit to have a bowel movement or may dance around or tip-toe, trying to hold in the stool
  • Hard (pellet-like or well-formed) stools
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Large-volume stools that may block the toilet
  • Tears in the pink lining of the anus (anal fissures), resulting from the passage of hard stools
  • Blood on the toilet paper or surface of the stool from an anal fissure
  • Urinary tract infections (especially in toddlers). Constipation may prevent the normal emptying of the bladder, leaving urine in the bladder, which can get infected.