Breast Constipation Feeding

By Dr. Jeeno Jayan, MBBS

Breast feeding and constipation

There is your newborn, having 6 or more bowel movements a day, and there you are, wishing for just one bowel movement. 

You're the one who has struggled with constipation for months before your child was born, and you just wish it would end. 

Lets examine a few things that might be behind the problem of breast feeding and constipation.

Why Constipation after Pregnancy

For many women it is normal to not have a bowel movement for a day or two after their baby is born. 

Statistics show that around one out of every 5 moms are bound up after having a child.

Physically, there are some reasons that a mother may have a problem defecating for the first few days after child birth.

  • There is a high level of progesterone, a hormone that can be carried over from the pregnancy.

  • There is a slowing down of the digestive system while a soman is in labor.

  • If there were given pain relievers like pethidine or diamorphine while in labor, these relax the colon, which slows down the movement of stool through the colon.

  • The digestive tract might be clogged up, which is not at all surprising after all it has been through. 

Other things that may cause constipation after childbirth

  • Ventuose or forceps were used to help facilitate the birth.

  • The mother is taking an iron supplement, which is known for its ability to constipate.

  • You tore while in labor, and it hurts when you try to relieve yourself. There is a tendency to delay defecation when it hurts. However, that stool needs to come out.

    Perhaps you had vaginal stitches and are worrying about their tearing. Or you had a C-section and are concerned about those stitches. The good news is, neither of these stitched areas should tear even if you strain when having a bowel movement.

3 Ways to Restore Normal BM's

1.  An effortless and easy answer!!

One of the possible causes of constipation is a deficiency of magnesium

Did you know that 80% of Americans don’t get enough magnesium in their diets? 

By simply taking a daily magnesium supplement, (300 to 400 mg) many people’s constipation problems quickly become a distant memory.

  • Magnesium is a natural osmotic laxative. It draws water into the colon. This in turn helps to moisten stool, making it soft, slippery and easy to pass. When stool is at least 75% water, it pretty much eliminates constipation.

  • Magnesium is also a natural relaxant. It can help a tense bowel to relax and function better.

  • Magnesium helps in the absorption of other nutrients, including iron, which can lessen constipation caused by an iron supplement.

  • Magnesium has numerous health benefits as well.

healthy food breast feeding for constipation

2.  Improving one's diet

As soon as you have had your baby, try to eat and drink on a regular basis as quickly as you can.

  • Make it a point to eat foods high in fiber, including brown rice, products made from whole wheat or other whole grains, bran cereals, vegetables and fruit.

  • Try to drink a lot of fluids, including 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Dehydration is a major cause of constipation.

  • Add a fiber product like psyllium to help bulk up and moisten the stool.

  • Stay away from refined foods, you know, those made with white rice or white flour (I know, that's most of the stuff in the grocery store).

  • Many women find that simply drinking a little hot water flavored with a little lemon when they first get up can be quite effective in getting things moving.

  • Prunes and prune juice are chocked full of fiber. Just don’t go overboard, or diarrhea can result.

3.  Get moving

Once your baby is born, try to get up and move around as quickly as you can. Go for quick strolls down the hall and back.

When you sit or lie in bed for very long it makes you more prone to get constipated.

Can a Breastfed Baby Become Constipated?

Normally, breastfed babies will not be constipated. Breast milk contains enzymes that help digest the proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the milk.

Even cow’s milk contains the necessary enzymes for babies to digest. However, if the milk is pasteurized, these enzymes are mostly killed. This is one of the reasons that doctors recommend that babies be breastfed as much as possible.

There is one more aspect of constipation and breastfeeding. The number of bowel movements a young baby varies considerably and what is 'normal' may range from a bowel movement several times a day to as little as one a week.

So don’t get tense if a breastfed baby isn't having a lot of bowel movements. As long as they are soft and easy to pass, the child is not constipated.

Conclusion, breast feeding and constipation

Constipation is thus a common problem for breastfeeding mothers.

Fortunately, there are simple steps a mother can take to remedy the situation. Every mother deserves as much. Here’s wishing you a constipation free life.

(Return from Breast Constipation Feeding to Pregnancy and Constipation)

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