5 Month Old Constipated: Causes and Remedies

Now that your baby is 5 months old, you are probably enjoying every moment with him, watching his smile or hearing him laugh. At this age, he will cry when you leave or get excited when he sees you again. However, what if your baby is constipated? 

Is Your 5 Month Old Constipated?

First, you need to understand no poop doesn't necessarily mean constipation. Every baby is unique, so there is no such thing as normal bowel movements. The number of bowel movements and when they will occur depend greatly on what your baby eats, how rapidly the baby’s body digests the food and the daily level of activity that your baby has.

The common symptoms of constipation include:

  • The baby’s stools are hard, dry and sometimes there is also a presence of blood.
  • The baby did not have a bowel movement within the last two to three days.
  • The baby shows discomfort when having a bowel movement.

Constipation among babies is a normal thing which tends to occur every now and then. With the right care, your baby will soon start having regular bowel movements. If the baby has been constipated for a couple of days, is very distressed, cries constantly, has blood in the stool or has any other symptoms, seek proper medical help from your doctor.

What Makes Your 5 Month Old Constipated?

Several factors can lead to constipation among babies. Here are the most common causes:

  • Formula milk – It is more likely to cause constipation among babies when compared to breast milk. Due to formula milk, the stool will get hard, bulky and firm, making bowel movements painful and sometimes even impossible.
  • Solid foods – When solid foods are introduced, there is a great possibility for your baby to develop constipation. Giving your baby foods which are low in fibers can lead to constipation as well.
  • Dehydration – If you are not giving your baby the necessary amount of water a day, your baby can get easily constipated, especially when solid food is introduced or when you feed your baby with formula milk.
  • A disease or medical condition – Food poisoning, food allergy or metabolic disorders can lead to constipation among babies.

Rarely, constipation in 5 months old babies results from congenital conditions such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, Hirschsprung’s disease, etc.

How Is the Constipation Treated?

Treat the Cause

What to do if your 5 month old constipated? First treat the underlying causes. Note that you should not give your baby any medicine for constipation unless your doctor has prescribed it.

When you are breastfeeding your baby, constipation is very rare. If constipated, you should feed your baby more often.

If you feed your baby with formula milk, there is a greater possibility for your baby to get constipated. Here are some tips how to solve this problem:

  • Choose another brand for formula milk, instead of the one you are using so far.
  • Make the formula milk correctly, by making sure it contains enough water.
  • Use the scoop which comes together with the milk tin. Do not use the scoop of another brand or do not use a teaspoon or tablespoon.
  • Don’t pack the powder too tight on the scoop as this could lead to thicker formula milk than desired, leading to constipation.

If your baby eats solid foods or if you are just introducing solid food to your 5 months old, there is a great possibility of getting constipated. Here are some tips how to solve this problem:

  • Cut down certain types of food which can lead to constipation, such as rice, cooked carrots, banana, etc.
  • Give your baby water between two meals. Prune juice is also recommended to avoid constipation among babies.
  • Give your baby pureed fruits and vegetables.
  • Once the stool gets normal again and bowel movements become regular and painless, you can give your baby solid food again. Make sure to give smaller amounts of food, less often than you used to.

Constipation in 5-month-old babies also results from dehydration, so make sure to give your baby water between two meals. Prune juice or peach juice can also help.

Seek Medical Help

Talk to your doctor or midwife about your baby’s problem with constipation and the treatment available.

Over-the-counter stool softeners, commonly known as laxatives, might be helpful in order to help your baby have regular bowel movements. However, you should not give these stool softeners to your baby unless your doctor recommends you so.

Glycerin suppositories are also helpful when a 5 month old constipated. These suppositories are especially helpful in severe constipation. By using a glycerin suppository, the rectum will get stimulated, helping the baby pass the stool with less discomfort. It should not be used regularly as your baby can get used to it and eventually becomes addicted, being impossible to have a normal bowel movement naturally.

Other Ways to Help Relieve the Constipation

  • Tummy massage in a clockwise direction can help relieve the discomfort of your baby.
  • Bicycle legs is done by placing the baby on the back while the legs are half bent. Move the legs just like when riding the bike. Alterations between tummy massage and bicycle legs can help your baby relieve the constipation problem and have regular bowel movements.
  • Warm baths help your baby relax. Giving a tummy massage while giving your baby a warm bath will help the intestines start moving again. 
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