5 Week Old Constipated

Updated on July 12, 2012
J.Y. asks from Kenilworth, NJ
23 answers

I have 5 week old son that i believe is constipated because of formula. I breastfeed most of the time but give him 3 oz. formula twice a day just to make sure he is eating enough. I noticed since i started giving him formula he is more fussy :( I started him with similac since thats what they gave him when he was in the hospital. But when I asked the pediatrician she said to go with enfamil prosobee which i have been doing like 4 days ago and i think this just made it worst. He used to sleep 2-3 sometimes 4 hours a day even with the similac but now with the prosobee he sleeps like 1-2 or sometimes just 1/2 hour. Please let me know what I can give him or what advice the mothers have. I was told I can give him prune juice with water but I dont know if I should.

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A.R.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,
My advice to you would be to continue him on similac. Similac has iron which will make the baby constipated until he gets used to it. I have had 4 children 2 drank similac and were constipated in the first weeks. At the moment my daughter is 12 weeks old and she does not have constipation. I have noticed that with the iron formula she does not have a bowel movement every day but instead she may go every two days. She does not exhibit any uncomfortable signs. Also if the baby is constipated, try a q-tip with vaseline it helps them go. I dont recommend switching formula it makes the baby gassy.

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A.M.

answers from New York on

Sometimes a baby just needs a "reminder" to move bowels. You can use a rectal thermometer gently inserted to stimulate the correct muscles to "go" Good Luck!

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A.S.

answers from New York on

no prune juice,karo syrup or anything, just breast milk. to ensure he's "getting enough" check his poops. as long as it's copious, it's all good! at this point he may not go all that often , so if he's going less than 1 per day, make sure it's big. breastfed babies regulate their own intake,so he's probably getting enough as long as you are letting him have access as often as he requests! good luck!

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S.L.

answers from New York on

My one year old had this problem when he was an infant. I was also told to give him diluted prune juice. I don't know if it really helped, but it definitely did hurt him. I took him to specialist who in the end told me to give him a pediatric suppository (cut in half). This helped a bit. The problem has cleared up on its own shortly after he started on solids.

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K.J.

answers from New York on

I had always though prune juice and water was the way to go. When my daughter who is now 4 was younger she used to have problems with constipation. I would give her prune juice and water just like everyone one else is saying but then we ended up having to take her to a pediatric GI specialitst due to the bowel problem. She told me to stop the prune juice because it causes too much gas before it helps move the bowels. She had us get and over the counter med but said if we couldn't find it the kayro syrup was the same thing I think I read that one of the other moms suggested it. I do hope this helps, I know that when ever anyone thinks of constipation they always think prune juice first but it actually isn't the case. Good luck.

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R.B.

answers from New York on

You can definately try the prune juice but, do 2/3 water and 1/3 juice. You can also try a formula that is low in Iron. My son was like that too and I found that a formula with low Iron works well. Hope everything turns out OK and congrats on the little one.

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K.E.

answers from New York on

OK, first of all, you can know if you are giving your baby enough nourishment by the amount of wet and dirty diapers and you may not have to give him formula at all if you don't want to. But that's all up to you. A great place to get all that info is at the La Leche League web site www.llli.org or Dr. Sears web site. But if you do want to supplement with formula for any other reason, it's going to take more than 4 days to see him level out so to speak. You were breastfeeding and in doing that, you were giving him something that is tailor made for his body and now you've introduced something that is a little tougher to digest. It's not bad, it's just making his body work harder. The cow's milk protein or soy protein is a little harder to digest and the body sees it as foreign until it gets used to it.

The other thing is that with the body getting this "foreign matter" in it's system, the (sorry if it seems gross) rectal muscles sometimes forget how to work or don't know how to work well enough to push through the waste. You can ask your Ped about that. And sometimes you may have to stimulate the rectum in order to get him to have a BM.

My son had a similar thing at the same age. I breastfed, but had to be hospitalized for what I thought was an appendicitis attack that turned out to be diverticulitis. I couldn't breastfeed for a few days because of the medications they gave me and because of the barium they had me drink for the CT scan. So we introduced formula. It was horrible, we thought he was constipated, gave him a little sugar water (under the Ped's advisement) and it would get better for that BM but go back the next time. His rectal muscles were weak and he needed to be stimulated. (your PEd can tell you what or if you should be doing this) It wasn't until 2 weeks later that we saw an improvement. I was able to breastfeed again, and his system re adjusted. We've since learned that he has a slight cow's milk allergy and he's definitely lactose intolerant.

Also, just so you know, our Ped had told us that with any change, formula or otherwise, it takes at least 2 weeks for the intestines to re adjust. So hang in there, visit the la leche league web site, they have great breastfeeding help and tips regardless of weather or not you are supplementing with formula. It's not a sin. ha ha You're just doing what you think is best for your baby.
You guys hang in there. This will pass. You're such a wonderful mama to be looking for advice so that you can do the best for your little guy. He's very lucky indeed!

Hugs!
Kel

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K.D.

answers from New York on

Your baby is too young for prune juice, even w/water. He most likely was getting enough from you, and doesn't need the bottle, or he wouldn't have been sleeping so good for you to begin with. When my baby was that young, i used to gently rub her belly down-word, and that worked for her. Good luck. K.

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K.W.

answers from New York on

he will move his bowels on his own (if he hasn't by now)
prune juice is all natural and won't hurt him...I have used it on my son.
all kids go through that period occassionally..it's normal. don't worry.

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E.S.

answers from New York on

hope this works. try karo corn syrup in comes in clear or like a dark brown. its found in most grocery stores. i would check with your doctor.i give my son or daughter a teaspoon for every 4oz of liquid.stir it. do that for about 2 to 3 days.if u still breastfeed dont eat alot of apples or bananas in a day cause it will bind you.good luck

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N.S.

answers from New York on

It is perfectly fine to give your child prune juice with water. 1 part prune juice and 2 parts water. He won't even need to drink that much of it. I don't forsee why you would have to incorporate formula into his diet if you are breastfeeding unless you want to wean him off. My son had the same problems from formula I never breastfed though. Just try giving him even a little water to see if that helps him. I have tried just about everything. Don't switch his routine a lot either it will make it worse. But, just for the response Prune Juice will NOT harm him!

Contact me if you want anymore detail and good luck

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D.S.

answers from New York on

Hi J.,
Unless your pediatrician told you you could give him prune and water, I wouldn't do it. I've read in an enfamil magazine that babies up to 6 months should not have water. Breastmilk is enough for them as long as they're fed the proper amount. As for the formula...it's completely your choice and i can understand wanting to make sure he's getting enough to eat, however your breastmilk really should suffice unless there are complications with not getting enough milk, which i could suggest taking/eating/drinking supplements to help produce more milk. Did your ped. suggest this or say that it's normal/ok? I'm about to have my first child this december so I'll probably feel the same way as you wanting to give him/her more to eat..so i'm just curious.
If the doc says you really don't need it, I would just take him off the formula and do more breastfeeding. It's probably healthier that way also.

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M.O.

answers from New York on

Stop giving him the formula right away. Breastmilk is a natural laxative, so the constipation will clear up. He is uncomfortable from the formula - it is probably giving him excess gas. Just nurse him when he is hungry. Offer him your breast often. If you nurse your son on demand you will ensure that 1) he is eating enough and 2) that you milk supply reamins sufficient to fulfill him. By substituting formula for a nursing session, you are telling your breasts that the baby does not need as much milk as they are producing and your supply will go down. If you are worried that he is eating enough, his weight gain at each check-up should tell you that he is getting enough. Just be advised, breast-fed babies weigh less than formula-fed babies. The WHO came out with weight charts for breast-fed babies last year or so. You can find them online. At this young age, all you son needs is breast milk. He is too young to digest the juice. Nursing him should clear things up in a few days. Good luck.

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Y.K.

answers from New York on

HI J., i wouldn't give him prune juice nor formula, if your baby is hungry- breast feed him, the more he eats the more milk supply you'll get,if you worried that he's hungry then feed him on demand (even if its every 2 hours). He will never have constipation if he's breastfed exclusively! good luck hope he feels better

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A.M.

answers from New York on

change formulas... the similac may have tooo much iron

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A.S.

answers from New York on

He's too young for Prune juice as he is only 5 weeks old. I advice you to change formula. Similac did not work for me but Enfamil did. Take your doctor's advice on that and if he is still constipated, reduce the amount of formula (powder) by 1/4, because it might too thick for him and his digestive system cannot process that. I also tried Karo and it works, they have the light Karo in the grocery store. Just put a little tiny bit in your formula and see what happens. Good luck J.!

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D.F.

answers from New York on

when my daughter was about your son's age, she had the same problem and she also was on Prosobee. My sister told me to give her a bottle of water with maple syrup in it (just about a teaspoon). well, within minutes, she exploded all over the place, and after a nice bath to clean her up, she slept for 12 hours straight!! so, it wouldn't hurt to try it.. good luck.. let me know how it goes..

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J.G.

answers from New York on

hi J.! You say your baby might be constipated I recommend giving him similac with LOW IRON. I breast feed and formula feed my baby too and I always use similas with low iron I bought the other kimd one time and my baby started to get fussy when I changed to the other kind it was better. Some say the amount of iron in the formula doesn't matter I say it does. Try swithing to low iron and see how it goes. Keep me posted!!

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D.E.

answers from New Orleans on

I have nursed 5 children. If you continue to add formula to his diet that will cause your milk supply to decrease.You don't need to give him formula to make sure he is getting enough. If he needs more breast milk he will eat more often to build up your supply. Formula will cause constipation. Drop the formula and just rest and nurse him more often. Every time he has a growth spurt he will nurse more often to build up your milk supply. Relax and enjoy him and let him nurse as often and as long as he wants. The sucking time will build up your milk supply and give the two of you and wonderful Mommy baby bond.

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M.A.

answers from New York on

hey J....well i think you should give him prune juice with water ans see if that helps thats what i gave my girls when they were constipated...good luck :)

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E.M.

answers from New York on

J.,

You might try breastfeeding exclusively, as breast milk is typically easier to digest. Though the benefit of formula is that you can measure what your child is taking in, you may want to just trust that if he is eating every 2-4 hours and producing dirty diapers he is taking in enough breast milk.

I didn't introduce formula until my son was 9 months old. Though at an early age 6-12 weeks I was able to deduce that iron gave him HORRIBLE gas, talk about fussy! I had to watch my iron intake and when I introduced formula he could only tolerate the one with low iron (Similac with a green label).

I hope he is able to get comfortable soon.
E.

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L.S.

answers from New York on

First, what makes you think he is constipated... fewer stools? Straining? Somewhere between 4-6 weeks, breastfed babies start to have (sometimes dramatically) fewer stools... down to one or two a day or even one every few days. As long as you are getting the 6 to 8 wet diapers a day and he is gaining weight, he is getting enough milk. Another factor may be the 6 week growth spurt. It is a doozie! More frequent feeds, less sleep, irritability. Relax, do what works, and you will get through! If you really DO think he is constipated, the BREASTMILK is the best laxative around. Do more nursing and fewer bottles and see what happens! PM me if you have questions!

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V.P.

answers from New York on

I had the same problem. So my doctor recommended that we help him release his stools. That meant I had to use a thermometor or my pinky finger and put it inside him to help him. That hurt me so much that I had to do that. But it did work. We tried every type of formula then switched him to soy milk formula. It's done wonders. If you're worried that he would have to drink soy milk for the rest of his life; well my son is now 14 months and when he turned one, we introduced him to whole milk and he's doing just fine. If you need to talk, just email me. :-)

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