L.E. asks from Downingtown, PA on June 06, 2007
Formula and Constipation
My question is everyone's experience with formula and if their babies get constipation. My first son got constipated and then blood in stools. Now my second son has been constipated off and on since we brought him home 3 weeks ago. I currently breatsfeed for 10 minutes or more on each breast and then supplement with 3-4 ounces of formula (I do not produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed - my 3 sisters have all had same problem) When we brought him home - 3 days later we had to give him a suppository. We have done the tummy rubs and leg movements too. We have now been doing 1 tsp of karo syrup in a bottle - it gets his bowels moving, but he gets cranky and painful as well as gets watery stools for 12 hours after - then binds up again. I cannot do the karo syrup any more and now the ped is recommending prune juice and water. This is driving me nuts - does everyones child on formula get constipated? Has anyone else gone through this - I am so stressed
M.T. answers from Philadelphia on June 07, 2007
I wasn't able to breastfeed my daughter, so she was on strictly formula, but I had a terrible time with her constipation. I switched to a soy formula and it was so much better.
L.M. answers from Philadelphia on June 07, 2007
I would ask the doctor about switching formulas. I had the same problem with my son. I did the whole Karo syrup, I didn't try the prune juice because I thought it was harsh. He was on Similac with Iron and I tried Enfamil Lipil, it was easier on his stomach and was going regularly.
Hope this helps.
L.B. answers from Philadelphia on June 06, 2007
I am going through the same thing right now with my 2 month old son. He is on Enfamil Lipil with Iron and started backing up a few weeks ago. I did the karo syrup route but that didn't work quickly at all (I probably wasn't giving him enough) and the doctor recommended 1 oz of apple juice for every month he is old. So right now he can have 2 oz 2x day....straight apple juice.
I'm told that the peds dont like to take the babies off the iron formula but I'm sure there are other options they could recommend since this happened to your baby so young.
Its so hard to watch them suffer. All we can do is trust our pediatricians.
R.G. answers from York on June 06, 2007
I'm so sorry to hear you're having difficulties with feeding your little one. It is entirely possible that the combination of too much foremilk and the formula is making your little one's digestive tract work overtime. First I highly recommend switching your nursing method just slightly to nurse exclusively on one side for each feeding. 20 minutes, for someone who is not producing a large amount of milk is probably hindering the situation considering you're only allowing a feeding of 10 minutes on each side (too much fore milk and possibly middle milk, with not enough hind milk to help alleviate the constipation). Two of my little ones could empty (not really) a breast in 10 minutes flat. One of my little ones took her sweet time, but for all of them I only nursed on one side per feeding. This will help tremendously with your supply. The advice by hospital staff to switch sides is generally counterproductive.
Constipation and bloody stools is the number one sign that a child has issues with milk. Now that doesn't mean all milk and doesn't necessarily indicate lactose or protein allergy, but it could be the formula, your diet, or the lack of hindmilk when nursing. It could also be a combination of some or all of these. Start with the one sided nursing, for at least 20 minutes, then try switching formulas. I will not recommend any formula other than homemade or Baby's Only (it has both soy and dairy and a soy only formula too). I used the Baby's Only (supplementing) after months of online and off-line research with no issues. And a low Iron formula is best as Iron has a tendency to constipate as well.
I strongly recommend contacting LLL and perhaps attending a few meetings, if you don't do so already. Your mention of low supply is a great concern and that all 3 of your sisters had the same problem is a huge red flag. The average of women that cannot supply enough milk is around 10% and for 4 of you in the family to have had that issue just doesn't jive. I'm wondering what indicator you were given to show that there's not enough of a supply...
Give LLL a call... here's the info for the Downingtown group:
La Leche League of Downingtown meets the fourth Tuesday of every month at 7:30 PM
These meetings are held at Messiah Lutheran Church, 46 W Lancaster Avenue, in Downingtown.
Call Naomi ###-###-#### or Judy ###-###-#### for more information.
There is also a group in West Chester:
La Leche League of West Chester meets the third Thursday of every month at 7:30 PM
These meetings are held at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, 15 E. Pleasant Grove Rd, in West Chester.
We gather in the Kolbe room, in the main church building.
Call Dana ###-###-#### or Judy ###-###-#### for more information.
I know you asked about formula and constipation, but it's entirely possible and probably likely that the short nursing sessions might contribute to the issue at hand.
Best wishes for finding the answers you need.
Wife, Mother, Friend
K.S. answers from New York on June 06, 2007
despite the common assumption, iron in the formula does not cause constipation. more than likely it is the lactose in the formula. my son had the same problem and i switched him to gentlease (enfamil) which has 1/4 the lactose as the regular formula and it also has partially broken down proteins, both of which aid in digestion and bowel function. i put him on soy for a little while and he became very cranky. i took him off it immediately. i would try the lower lactose formula before the soy and i would not try the nutramigin (enfamil) without speaking with your dr. when i thought my son had colic i asked my dr about it (it is indicated for colicky babies) and she said not to put him on it. she would only recommend it if the baby is colicky for more than 4 hours a day. try the gentlease and you will see a big difference within the first few feedings! let me know how it works...
B.R. answers from Philadelphia on June 07, 2007
My son was a premie and had the same problem. Switching formula did not help. My doctor also told me to use Prune juice and it worked. My little guy had it so bad it was causing him to get a hernia from all the straining and he couldn't sleep or eat without maoning. After using the prune juice about a month later i started to notice the difference in his belly button because he wasn't straining anymore it was going in. Go with the prune juice you will see a difference in a matter of days. I used the prune juice for about 2 months everday and gradully started to give him less he is 10 monhts now and he is perfectly fine.
S. answers from Philadelphia on June 06, 2007
No everyone does not go through this, but I did with my oldest daughter who is now 8. It is very frustrating and overwhelming, because you have a miserable baby that you don't know how to help. I soooo feel your pain!!!!! I don't know what type of formula you are using but you might need to switch. I had my daughter on a regular milk based formula and she was having similar problems and I switch her to a soy based formula and never had any more problems until she turned one. She was no longer drinking formula and was drinking regular milk and we encountered the same problems. needless to say after several tests and trips to see a GI specalist, we found our that she has a severe lactose intolerance which was causing, the constipation, stomach cramping and pain, and an overgrowth of bacteria in her intestines. So You might want to talk to your Dr. about switching formulas and possibly having a lactose intolerance test.
Hope This helps!!!!!
R.I. answers from Philadelphia on June 07, 2007
when she was about a month old, my daughter was constipated for 2 weeks while i was breastfeeding. i was also supplementing with formula and tried the Enfamil Gentlease. it seemed to work with her fussiness and gassiness. i put about a tablespoon of prune juice in each formula bottle she received also but my ped told me she was too young for that.
it is said that breastfeeding babies sometimes don't have bowel movements every day and i was very worried and frustrated after my daughter didn't have one for over a week. she seemed so uncomfortable and in so much pain. then one day she finally pooped and it's been smooth sailing ever since!!!
when my first daughter was a baby and had this problem, i took her to my old ped and he stimulated her rectally with a thermometer. lay the baby on it's belly and put a little vaseline on the thermometer tip and insert the entire silver tip, about 1/4 inch into the butt and wiggle it around a bit. if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, go to your ped and he will show you how to do it.
i hope this helps and i hope your son has a bowel movement soon!!! you can also try loosening his diaper a little bit and moving his legs around like he's pedalling a bike, that helps with some discomfort too.
J.B. answers from Pittsburgh on June 08, 2007
Hi, L.! The only thing that worked for both of my children- much to the aggitation of my pediatricians was Enfamil Lipil LOW IRON. The arguments that I had with them finally got so bad that I said that I switched to regular EHi, L.! I decided to just send you a message because you had so nfamil and didnt. My entire family cannot digest high amounts of Iron. It sounds to me that your family may be like that also. Why don't you give Enfamil Lipil Low Iron a try. It worked wonders on both of my kids. Also before you use prune juice try pear. It's much easier to drink and causes less gas.
N.R. answers from Pittsburgh on June 06, 2007
I had issues with my son over this too. Try to switch to a lower iron based formula.
That should do the trick.
As for juice, pear juice woked like a charm with my child/