Constipation while breastfeeding

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 26.06.2022

All iLive content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses ([1], [2], etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please select it and press Ctrl + Enter.

What mothers consider constipation, focusing on the physiology of adults, is not always such. The first breastfeedings lead to the cleansing of the body of the newborn from meconium - the original feces, and the stool is dark in color and odorless. Over the next days, the nature of feces and the frequency of bowel movements change: the child is emptied 1-3 times a day with a yellowish liquid mass. Up to two months of life, a baby can soil diapers both after each feeding and twice or thrice a day. Further, their frequency decreases to 1-2, and if the body absorbs mother's milk well, this happens every few days. What then is constipation during breastfeeding?

Causes of the constipation while breastfeeding

The absence of bowel movements for 2-3 days does not yet indicate the presence of constipation. The existence of the problem is suggested by this behavior:

  • eats badly;
  • during feeding, pulls the legs to the tummy;
  • straining during emptying;
  • falls behind the norm in weight gain;
  • feces and gases have a putrid odor.

What are the causes of constipation in infants? There are several of them:

  • immaturity of the intestine, in which its peristalsis is disturbed. By the second month of life, this usually disappears;
  • stenosis of the anus;
  • underdevelopment of the large intestine;
  • rickets;
  • damage to the nervous system that affects peristalsis;
  • insufficient work of the thyroid gland;
  • maternal malnutrition.

Foods that cause constipation while breastfeeding

During lactation, you should always remember that the foods eaten by the mother indirectly enter the child's body. Cause constipation not only in the baby, but also in the woman herself, such of them can:

  • fat meat;
  • unripe bananas;
  • porridge from polished rice;
  • hard-boiled eggs;
  • whole milk;
  • hard fatty cheeses;
  • bakery products, including pastry;
  • confectionery (chocolate);
  • rich broths;
  • strong tea, coffee, cocoa.

Constipation during breastfeeding in mother

It is not always the products that are to blame for the fact that the mother suffers from constipation during breastfeeding. This may be due to a cesarean section, the body's reaction to anesthesia, experienced stress, medication, and a decrease in the tone of the abdominal muscles. Sometimes, if there are gaps during childbirth, a woman is afraid of the emptying process and keeps her urge all the time.

Constipation during artificial feeding in an infant

Constipation is possible in an infant and with artificial feeding. There are many formulas for feeding children on the baby food market, but there is no one-size-fits-all formula that would suit everyone. You need to try, change, but do it gradually, because. Emptying may be difficult.

When feeding with mixtures, you should give the baby more water to drink, its lack leads to thickening of the feces.

Treatment of the constipation while breastfeeding

Constipation in breastfed babies usually does not require treatment. Mom only needs to adjust her diet. Thus, she will get rid of constipation in herself.

A special diet is not needed, but fresh vegetables and fruits are introduced into the diet more. Meat and fish are used in low-fat varieties. Suitable chicken, rabbit, turkey, hake, pollock, saffron cod, pollack, river fish: pike, bream, pike perch.

As side dishes, it is best to use baked or steamed vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini. It is also good to bake apples; fresh ones can cause bloating in a child.

Dairy porridge is cooked from whole milk diluted with water, purchased low-fat milk and various cereals except rice. Dairy products, low-fat cottage cheese should be present in the diet. Sufficient drinking regime of mother (1.5-2 liters) is important. The food itself should be fractional and frequent (at least 5 times a day). [1]

Products for constipation while breastfeeding

There are a number of products that have a stimulating effect on the intestinal walls: peristalsis improves, the promotion of feces and their liquefaction increase. They contain a lot of insoluble fiber: lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose. A good source of dietary fiber are vegetables: carrots, beets, pumpkins, onions.

Possessing a large amount of organic acids, they are also effective laxatives: fermented milk products (kefir, koumiss, yoghurts without fillers), kvass, fruits (plums, apples, pears).

From cereals - this is wheat, barley, oats, buckwheat in whole grains.

Prunes while breastfeeding for constipation

This dried fruit will quite help to cope with the problem of constipation, but not earlier than a few months after childbirth. It is able to improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as strengthen the immune system, cleanse the body of toxins and toxins due to the diuretic and choleretic action, and increase efficiency. It contains many different vitamins: C, E, K, PP, group B, minerals: potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc; organic acids, sugars, fiber.

At first, you need to limit yourself to a few berries a day, gradually increasing to 5 pieces. You need to use prunes, after steaming them in water. Delicious compotes are prepared from it or chopped into yoghurts.

Suppositories for constipation while breastfeeding

Doctors warn that in no case should you cause a bowel movement in a small child using "grandmother's methods" (with the tip of a thermometer, a piece of soap). In case of urgent need, you need to use glycerin suppositories, which are sold in pharmacies without a prescription.

Suppositories irritate the inner surface of the rectum, reflexively increasing their motor activity, soften hard feces, contributing to their promotion and withdrawal.

For young children, glycelax suppositories are produced, which are placed from the age of three months. Once a day, one suppository is administered in a special dosage (0.75 g of glycerol). The laxative effect is observed 15-30 minutes after administration.

The drug is positioned as an emergency and is not used for more than a week.

Duphalac for constipation while breastfeeding

The drug belongs to laxatives for constipation and can greatly help a woman during breastfeeding, because. Its active substance lactulose is completely safe for both mother and baby. In some cases, dufalac in the form of syrups is prescribed even for children.

Lactulose inside breaks down into various acids that absorb water, due to which the consistency of the stool becomes softer and more liquid, then cleansing occurs.

The liquid is taken in the morning with meals at a dose of 5 ml for children under 3 years old, adults - 15-45 ml. As a rule, the clinical effect occurs after 2 days.

Side effects are very rare, but still sometimes occur in the form of abdominal pain and diarrhea. [2]


You should definitely consult a pediatrician about the problem of constipation in a breastfed baby. But there are a number of preventive measures that must be applied:

  • mother to take care of the correctness of her diet;
  • the baby should not have a lack of fluid;
  • establish a one-time volume of milk drunk by weighing before and after feeding in order to identify its deficiency or excess;
  • regularly carry out massage - circular movements on the tummy clockwise;
  • gymnastics - alternating flexion and extension of the legs (bicycle), pressing both to the stomach;
  • lay the baby on his stomach before feeding.

In the absence of serious diseases, everything will improve over time and the mother will receive only joy and positive emotions from her motherhood.

Translation Disclaimer: The original language of this article is Russian. For the convenience of users of the iLive portal who do not speak Russian, this article has been translated into the current language, but has not yet been verified by a native speaker who has the necessary qualifications for this. In this regard, we warn you that the translation of this article may be incorrect, may contain lexical, syntactic and grammatical errors.

You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.