Constipation occurs when bowel movements occur less frequently than normal despite a good intake of food and/or if stools are hard, large and/or difficult or painful to pass.Constipation occurs when bowel movements occur less frequently than normal despite a good intake of food and/or if stools are hard, large and/or difficult or painful to pass.
When are bowel movements too few?
When there is a significant decrease from the usual bowel movement frequency (for example usually having 1-2 bowel movements per day and then skipping two days despite a good intake of food). Newborn babies pass approximately four soft/liquid stools per day in the first week of life, with breastfed babies passing more in comparison to formula-fed babies. Young infants below three months of age usually pass 2-3 stools per day. The frequency of bowel movements in breastfed babies has a wide range of normality: from having a bowel movement shortly after each feed to having one (large) bowel movement every seven days. An infant with the latter infrequent normal pattern should be distinguished from the infant who is not getting enough : the former shows good weight gain despite the infrequent bowel movements. Formula-fed babies shouldn’t go more than three days without a bowel movement. Toddlers should have 1-2 bowel movements per day, depending on intake.
When to consult a doctor when your baby or toddler is constipated: