Constipation can include passage of hard stools and/or decreased frequency of stools. Various causes of constipation exist, including low fiber, low water intake, withholding due to toilet-training, and more. Formula-fed babies may go 1-2 days between stools. Breast-fed babies may go several days to 1 week between stools because they are using every calorie to grow instead of poop.
Toddlers and older children will be able to tell you they are having an issue passing stool. They may also tell you that it hurts to potty, their tummy hurts, or they feel nauseous. With infants, parents will need to keep track of number of stools per day and pay attention to baby’s behavior. Infants may scream/cry during pooping, may arch their backs, or have blood in their stool. If any of these signs develop, please notify your pediatrician.
Things that may help relieve constipation at home include increasing water intake, increasing fiber (fruits, vegetable, flax seeds, etc), try juice (specifically apple, pear or prune), doing some exercise, and possibly laxatives (ask your pediatrician for guidance on dosing). For infants, parents can try some apple/pear/prune juice (1oz for every month of life), increase tummy time, and bicycle the legs. If constipation persists, please notify your pediatrician as medicines may be needed.