Do I need to bring my toddler to see a doctor if she is on formula milk and has not pooped for 3 days?Children’s Health
LO hasn’t pooped for 3 days and is on formula milk – is this ok? Or should I bring her to a paeds? She is on a lactose free formula. Occasionally, she will drink Express Breast Milk (around 3 ounces per day).
Thank you Dr Ethan,
Absolutely agree with your comprehensive answer.
To add on:
- Breast Milk tends to be the best for children.
- There is a difference between foremilk (the first portion) and the hindmilk (the last portions).
- If your child is having difficulty passing, you can try giving more foremilk.
Certainly a visit to the PD/GP will be great as well to make sure we are not missing something serious.
Dr Paul Ang
MBBS, GDFM, MRCSEd
266C Punggol Way
Welcome to our QnA! Unfortunately, you didn’t mention the age of your toddler/infant. This makes it difficult to provide more tailored information, as the “normal amount of time” between each bowel movement depends upon:
- How old they are
- What they eat
It’s worth noting in your case (if you recently switched her from breast to formula milk) that formula-fed infants commonly have less frequent stools than breast-fed infants.
By 4 months of age, most formula-fed infants average 2 – 3 bowel movements a day. This also depends on what type of formula you are using.
Even though constipation is typically defined as “less than 3 bowel movements per week”, it’s important to first establish what’s “normal” for him or her.
Eg. if he/she used to go 2 times a day, and hasn’t gone for 3 days now, that would be abnormal.
Conversely, if she used to go 1 time every 2 days, but now goes once every 3 days, it may still be within the range of “normal”, although you should certainly start considering what could be causing the change in bowel habit.
25% of chronic childhood constipation begins when the child is an infant, so it’s important to recognise and treat the problem early, if this has been a recurring issue.
Constipation in infants is most often caused by:
- Insufficient fluid in their diet (dehydration)
- Dietary changes
If your infant is older than 4 months old, you can try a simple trick: fruit juice! (If your infant is younger than 4 months old, talk to a doctor about treatment of constipation). It should begin to work within 24 hours.
- Infants 4 – 8 months old: Apple, prune, or pear juice (other juices are not as helpful). Give a total of 60 to 120 ml of 100 percent fruit juice per day.
- Infants 8 – 12 months old: Give up to 180 mL of fruit juice per day.
If these measures are not effective within 24 hours, consider seeing a doctor. He may prescribe a mild laxative or stool softener.
You should bring your infant to see your doctor ASAP if there is:
- Severe stomach pain
- Bleeding in stools
Do note that without examining your child, and knowing more pertinent details, I cannot provide any medical advise, and that you should treat the above as general information.
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