Can I Give My Baby an Enema?

Can I give my baby an enema?Is an enema the best way to help your baby’s digestive system? Being constipated is not a great feeling. When a baby is constipated, they too feel discomfort. If your baby is suffering from constipation, there are numerous remedies you can do to help alleviate the constipation and get them back to regular stools.

Before helping your baby alleviate their constipation, it is important to make sure they are indeed constipated. Constipation in babies is a common occurrence and happens when the stools compact. This results in a delay of defecation (pooping) and makes it more difficult for your baby to move their bowels. It does not refer to the frequency of the bowel movement. The size and shape of the stools, and how often your baby has them will vary from age to age and between different babies.

Newborns have several loose seed-like stools per day, especially if they are breastfeeding. Formula-fed babies tend to have darker and firmer stools.

Can I Give My Baby an Enema? Answer Probably Not Necessary

Once solid foods enter a baby’s diet, stools become more formed and less frequent. While one stool per day is preferable, some babies can go days without having one. Constipation is hardly a problem for children who have yet to start solid foods and particularly rare for breastfed babies; however, it can happen.

Newborn constipation occurs when your baby passes hard and dry stools. Signs of constipation include firmer stools that occur less than once per day; strain or difficulty passing stools; harder, stone-like stools; grunting and turning red-faced while passing; blood streaks on the outer regions of the stool; and abdominal discomfort.

Treat the Cause
Constipation occurs when too little water or poor muscle movement is present to help food digest. Normally, your baby’s body will absorb water and nutrients from food, leaving what’s left over to become stools. There must be some water remaining to help soften the stool, and the natural motion of the lower intestines and rectal muscles will carry the stool on its path. When there is not enough water or a disruption in the muscles, constipation occurs.

Constipation can be painful and children may “hold on” to it so they do not experience the discomfort. The longer your baby tries to keep from pooping, the harder the stool becomes, and the harder it will be to pass, making it even more painful when the time comes. Passage of hard stools through a narrow passage can often tear the rectal lining, creating blood streaks. This only exacerbates the problem, causing more pain and more resistance from your baby by holding it in.

Normal Regularity
While babies should have one bowel movement a day, the main concern for constipation is the consistency. There should be no worry for constipation as long as your child’s stool is soft. In babies, it is the texture of the poop that is important, not the frequency. For toddlers, not having a bowel movement at least once during the period of a week would be constipation.

Constipation can get started by the introduction of new foods or even by introducing milk to their diet. If your baby has undergone any recent changes in the eating routine, this could be the reason they are constipated. The cause of constipation can also be due to emotional reasons. If your child is upset, their intestinal system can become upset, resulting in either constipation or diarrhea.

Keep Your Baby Hydrated
Be sure that your child is also getting sufficient water and other fluids. Not drinking enough liquids is a lesser-known cause of problems like constipation, especially in the case of younger babies and children.

If your baby is having trouble pooping, try putting them in a warm bath. That should relax their anus and surrounding muscles enough to help them go. You can also try to massage his or her tummy, or move their legs as if they are riding a bicycle. Try pushing their legs up to their chest as if they’re in a squatting position. This motion may help get things moving.

When your child is constipated, do not give him or her an enema. An enema is a procedure whereby fluids are flushed into the rectum with the goal of expelling the contents. Enemas are a procedure that should be done by a liscensed physician and not a parent or guardian. Performing a home enema can cause serious damage to your child’s body.

Seek Expert Advice
If your child is constipated and nothing seems to be working, it is best to consult your child’s pediatrician. They will be able to discuss other options for your child that are safer than an enema.

Remember that constipation refers to consistency of your child’s stool and not the frequency. As long as your baby is producing soft stools, there is no need to break out the prune juice or be concerned. If you notice hard pebbles or pain or grunting, that would be the best time to consult your child’s physician.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Baby an Enema? Below

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs leigh April 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

My doctor said it was ok to give my baby an enema once in awhile.he said to buy some castile soap and an infant enema syringe.I have given her an enema when she has trouble going poo poo.It works well for her.

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Janet September 15, 2012 at 1:59 am

if enemas aren’t safe to give a child then why do they sell it on the shelf? my child’s pediatrician gave me the okay to give her an enema and/or liquid suppository. VERY FREQUENT constipation happens to my baby alot! Should I seek for a doctor who specializes in bellies?

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Stephanie November 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Both of my children have gotten constipated on occasion. With my first our pediatrician suggested giving him straight apple juice, just an ounce or two and giving that a couple hours. If it didn’t work give him a little more. Apples and pears have a natural laxative effect on little ones, bananas the opposite. I’ve done this with both of my children, always works.

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jes May 6, 2013 at 4:38 pm

what is a normal consistency of a babies stool?

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Denise Thornhill June 11, 2013 at 6:55 am

My baby is only 2months old can I give him an enema

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Cheryl July 16, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I had to take my 3.5 month old in to Childrens mercy due to constipation. They gave him an enema, it worked, but it was the most awful thing I ever witnessed, through tear soaked eyes I promised that I would never do that to him again. I have learned through trial and error that a prune, apple and water mixture works wonders. This is something that I give him once a day. He likes to think it’s a sweet treat, I like to think of it as a remedy in a bottle. Good luck!

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canigivemybaby July 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm

How awful for you Cheryl, I am glad he seems to be better now.

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j.c. September 16, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Try to give them an enema when he or she is laying down, watching tv and distract them while giving an enema.!

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jc December 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Try to give the child an enema when he/ she is sleeping.

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canigivemybaby December 16, 2013 at 2:49 am

Thanks for your tip JC

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jc December 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Your welcome.

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jc December 31, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Does any mom have trouble giving their baby an enema when their baby is sleeping.?

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