Constipation in breastfeeding babies: What to know

Constipation is uncommon in infancy, particularly in breastfed babies, but it can happen. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer episodes of constipation and diarrhea than formula-fed babies because breast milk is easier than formula to digest.
In older children, constipation is common and accounts for about 3% of visits to pediatric outpatient clinics and up to 25% of visits to pediatric gastroenterologists.
A baby might be constipated if they are passing hard pebble-like stools or have a distended belly. As every baby poops on their own schedule, the frequency of bowel movements is not always an accurate indicator of constipation.
In this article, we examine the possible causes of constipation in breastfed babies. We also look at the symptoms of constipation in babies and the treatments and home remedies.
Constipation in breastfed babies is uncommon.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that babies exclusively have breast milk until 6 months after birth. During this time, they advise not giving any additional foods or fluids to the baby unless a doctor recommends it. After the first 6 months, parents or caregivers can then introduce solid foods to the baby's diet.
A parent or caregiver may notice changes in the baby's bowel habits and the color and consistency of their stools if they decide to switch to infant formula or when they begin introducing solid foods.
A 2018 study examined the bowel habits of 83,019 newborn babies in Japan. According to the authors, most instances of constipation coincided with the transition from breastfeeding to infant formula, regardless of whether the woman gave birth vaginally or by cesarean delivery.
A baby may develop harder stools and constipation after starting solid foods. Certain foods, such as rice cereal and dairy milk, may cause constipation in babies younger than 1 year.
Other possible causes of constipation in breastfed babies include:
  • Not having enough liquids. Liquids help stool pass through the bowels smoothly.
  • Illness. Infections can cause a decrease in a baby's appetite or lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which may result in dehydration and constipation. Medical conditions that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as Hirschsprung disease, can cause constipation and other digestive symptoms.
  • Withholding stool. Babies may purposefully avoid passing hard or painful stools —a behavior that doctors refer to as withholding. Babies who have diaper rash may also withhold to avoid pain.
  • Stress. Exposure to new environments, traveling, or weather changes may be stressful for a baby. Stress can affect their physical health and may result in a change in stool frequency and possibly constipation.

Can a breastfeeding woman's diet cause constipation?

A woman who is breastfeeding may wonder how her diet affects her breast milk and whether her choice of foods can influence the baby's digestive health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women do not need to avoid specific foods while breastfeeding.
However, babies may appear to avoid feeding after a woman eats a particular food. In this case, the woman may wish to refrain from eating that food for a while and reintroduce it later.
Women may also want to limit or avoid caffeine while breastfeeding because small amounts of caffeine pass from the woman to the baby through breast milk.
Experts suggest that most women who breastfeed can safely ingest 300–500 milligramsTrusted Source of caffeine per day. Excessive amounts of coffee may lower the iron concentrations in breast milk, which may cause mild iron deficiency anemia in some babies.
Although most women do not need to restrict their diets while breastfeeding, they should aim to eat a nutritious and diverse diet.


Although changes in the frequency of a person's bowel movements may indicate constipation in older children and adults, this is not necessarily the case for babies.
Newborn babies may have multiple bowel movements each day. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, from 3–6 weeks of age onward, breastfed babies may have only one bowel movement per week because breast milk leaves minimal solid waste to pass through the digestive tract.
Breastfed babies older than 6 weeks can go several days to a week between bowel movements.
Babies often show signs of straining, such as crying or getting red in the face, while having a bowel movement. However, straining does not necessarily mean that a baby has constipation. Babies may take a while to learn how to have bowel movements.
Symptoms of constipation in breastfed babies may include:
  • being excessively fussy
  • crying for prolonged periods
  • refusing to feed
  • having a hard, distended belly
  • having rectal bleeding
  • passing hard or bloody stools
  • crying during a bowel movement
  • experiencing weight loss or poor weight gain
Normal bowel habits vary from baby to baby. Parents and caregivers should monitor their baby's bowel habits and take note of any changes. Doing this may help them decide when they need to take the baby to a doctor.

Treatments for constipation

It is possible to treat constipation in breastfed babies at home using various remedies. However, constipation in exclusively breastfed babies is so uncommon that parents and caregivers may wish to speak to a pediatrician before trying home remedies.


Dietary changes for a baby who is taking formula or foods other than breast milk may help relieve constipation. Breastfeeding women can also try eliminating foods that have an association with infant constipation, such as dairy, from their diet. However, changes to the woman's diet may not affect the baby's digestion.
Babies who eat solids may have difficulty digesting high fiber foods or dairy products if parents or caregivers introduce them too early.
High fiber foods may also help relieve constipation in babies who can tolerate most solid foods. These foods include:
Liquids help move stools through the digestive tract. Increasing a baby's fluid intake may also help relieve constipation.


Exercise can stimulate a baby's bowels and help them pass stools. However, babies who cannot walk or crawl will require a parent or caregiver to help them exercise.
Parents and caregivers can help relieve constipation by gently moving the baby's legs in a bicycling motion with the baby lying on their back.
Putting a baby on its stomach to squirm, reach, and play with toys can also stimulate a bowel movement.


Parents and caregivers can gently massage a baby's stomach to help try to relieve constipation.
Massage techniques to consider include:
  • using the fingertips to make circular motions on the stomach
  • gently bending the baby's knees and pushing the feet toward the belly
  • gently sweeping an open palm from the top of the baby's ribcage down their stomach

Warm bath

A warm bath may help relax a baby's abdominal muscles, which might make stools pass through the digestive tract more easily.

Parents and caregivers should speak with a doctor or pediatrician if their baby:
  • appears distressed or in pain
  • has a hard, distended belly
  • passes bloody stools
  • has rectal bleeding
  • refuses to eat
  • has a fever
  • vomits
  • loses weight or is unable to gain weight
  • frequently struggles passing stools
A doctor can diagnose constipation in babies by reviewing their medical history and performing a physical exam. Rarely, a doctor may order additional laboratory tests, such as a stomach X-ray, to diagnose or rule out other conditions.
If home remedies and dietary changes do not relieve a baby's constipation, a doctor might prescribe a mild laxative or suppository.
Parents and caregivers should never give these treatments to a baby without speaking to a trained healthcare professional first.

Constipation is not a common occurrence in breastfed babies. It usually happens as a result of changing to formula or starting solid foods.
Having infrequent bowel movements is not always an indication that a baby is constipated. Constipated babies are likely to pass hard, pebble-like stools.
Home remedies may help relieve constipation in breastfed babies. If a parent or caregiver is concerned about their baby's bowel movements and accompanying symptoms, they should take them to see a doctor.


What to know about salpingectomy

Salpingectomy is the surgical removal of one or both fallopian tubes. These tubes provide a pathway for an egg to travel from an ovary to the uterus, where it may be fertilized.
A doctor may recommend a salpingectomy for various reasons, including an ectopic pregnancy. They may also suggest the procedure as a means of contraception or to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
Keep reading to learn about the purposes of a salpingectomy and what the procedure entails, as well as risks and recovery.
Purpose of salpingectomy
A doctor may recommend removing one or both fallopian tubes for the following reasons:
Removing both fallopian tubes prevents pregnancy by taking away the egg's means of reaching the uterus.
Ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than inside the uterus.
If it implants in a fallopian tube, a surgeon may have to remove the tube to prevent it from rupturing and causing life threatening bleeding.
Prevention of ovarian cancer
The current theory about how ovarian cancer develops is that it begins in a fallopian tube. From there, many doctors believe that the cancer cells travel to the ovary.
If a person has a high risk of ovarian cancer, their doctor may recommend a salpingectomy to reduce it.
One medical report found that women with a high risk of developing cancer, such as those with BRCA gene mutations, were 40% less likelyTrusted Source to develop ovarian cancer, compared with women who had a regular risk, following the removal of both fallopian tubes.
Treatment for cancer
A doctor may recommend removing certain gynecological organs, including one or both fallopian tubes, a means of treating some types of cancer.
They may also suggest salpingectomy as a treatment for other gynecological conditions, such as endometriosis or a severe infection.

Approaches to salpingectomy

A surgeon may perform a salpingectomy one of two ways. They may make an open incision in the abdomen, in a procedure called a laparotomy.
Or, they may use laparoscopy, which is a minimally invasive approach that involves inserting instruments into small incisions in the lower abdomen.
Surgeons may also perform salpingectomy alongside other procedures. For example, they may do so during cesarean sections in women who have opted for salpingectomy as a method of contraception.
The procedure can vary and involve removing additional organs. Examples of these approaches include:
Partial salpingectomy
This involves removing one fallopian tube. It may be the right approach for an ectopic pregnancy, an infected fallopian tube, or cancer in one tube.
Bilateral salpingectomy
This involves removing both tubes. A surgeon uses this approach when the goal of the procedure is contraception, reducing the risk of ovarian cancer, or treating certain gynecological conditions.
This approach involves removing one or both ovaries and fallopian tubes. It may help treat ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or ovarian torsion, which is the twisting of an ovary. The surgeon may also choose this approach to ectopic pregnancy.
Total abdominal hysterectomy with a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (TAH-BSO) is surgery to remove the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and cervix.
A doctor may recommend this for people with extremely heavy periods, severe bleeding, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cancer, or a combination.
It is important to thoroughly discuss the risks and benefits of any approach with the doctor or surgeon.

What to expect before surgery

The doctor or surgeon should explain the general procedure and the specific approach. They should also describe:
  • risks, benefits, and alternatives to the procedure
  • the expected duration of the surgery
  • how long the person can expect to stay in the hospital
  • how long the whole recovery is likely to take
If the person decides to go ahead with the procedure, a doctor will likely provide them with presurgical instructions, which may involve:
  • not eating or drinking after midnight before the surgery
  • taking or not taking certain medications before the surgery
  • temporarily refraining from taking blood thinners, with special instructions from the doctor who prescribed them
  • not using perfumes, lotions, or powders the day before the surgery
  • washing with a special soap or wipes to reduce the risk of infection
In other situations, including ectopic pregnancy, a surgeon may perform a salpingectomy as an emergency procedure.

What happens during the surgery?

Usually, a person receives a general anesthetic and is asleep and unaware of the procedure.
First, a member of the medical team will take the person to a surgical site and administer anesthetic.
A surgeon will usually attempt to perform the procedure using a minimally invasive approach. If they cannot access the fallopian tubes in this way, they may switch to an open surgical approach.
The following are the typical steps in a minimally invasive salpingectomy:
  1. The surgeon makes small incisions in the belly button and at least two other areas of the abdomen.
  2. They insert instruments, such as a thin camera on a tube, called a laparoscope, and a suction instrument, into these incisions.
  3. The surgeon fills the abdomen with carbon dioxide to allow for better visualization of the pelvic organs.
  4. They use the laparoscope to visualize the pelvic organs and assess the health of both fallopian tubes, even if they are only removing one.
  5. The surgeon uses the instruments to remove the fallopian tube or tubes and minimize bleeding.
  6. They then release the carbon dioxide, check for bleeding, and remove any excess blood or fluid.
  7. The surgeon removes the instruments and seals the incisions with stitches or bonding materials.
The duration of the procedure varies, depending on the person's anatomy and the approach the surgeon uses.

What to expect from recovery

After surgery, anesthesia and nursing professionals will take the patient to a post-anesthesia care unit or recovery room. There, the team will monitor vital signs and pain levels to check for any immediate complications and to keep the patient comfortable.
Depending on the procedure and the person's response, they may leave the hospital the same day. When the surgery is extensive, as with a TAH-BSO, the person may need to stay overnight for close monitoring.
The person will receive a prescription for pain relief medication and instructions on caring for the surgical incision and when to resume activities, such as showering.
Anyone who experiences anything concerning during recovery should contact their healthcare team.
Recovery from a minimally invasive procedure is usually shorter than recovery from an open procedure.


As with any surgery, a salpingectomy can cause complications.
The extent of the risks depends on the approach. For example, a TAH-BSO is a significantly more invasive, and time consuming, procedure than a partial salpingectomy.
In general, risks of a salpingectomy include:
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • injury to nearby organs
  • adverse reactions to anesthesia
In addition, whether a doctor removes one or both fallopian tubes, it can impede blood flow to one or both ovaries.
As a result, the ovaries may not be able to adequately transmit the hormones that they produce, and this can lead to early onset menopause.

Can the surgery be reversed?

A surgeon cannot reverse a salpingectomy. Once the surgeon has removed the tube or tubes, they cannot be reconnected.
This makes the procedure different from a tubal ligation, which involves cutting or tying the fallopian tubes.


A salpingectomy has several uses, and a surgeon may use various approaches.
It is important to thoroughly discuss the reasons, risks, and options with a doctor or surgeon prior to the procedure.
The duration of recovery depends on the surgical approach and the person's general health.

UTI in pregnancy: Everything you need to know

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are common, especially during pregnancy. Find out the causes of a UTI in pregnancy, the risks, and tips for treatment and prevention here.

yoni massage guide

When you think massage, you don’t typically tend to think of our nether regions but it might just be the area we’re missing from our wellness routine. We’re all familiar with the Swedish, hot stone, aromatherapy and deep tissue massage, but the Yoni massage is quietly becoming the latest step in women's self-care regimes.
We spoke to head girl Ellie at the leading tantric massage brand, Karma Tantric, to have every single question we have about yoni massage answered.

What exactly is a yoni massage?

A Yoni massage is a massage that stimulates the female sacred space or genital area, known in Sanskrit as the 'Yoni'.

Tantric masseuses vary in their approach, and it's often a case of personal preference and the experience of the masseuse you choose, but the general steps below outline the tantric massage.
  1. Grounding Touches
  2. Typically the masseuse and women experiencing the massage would be nude and lying down with a towel over however you will usually start by lying face down with a towel over your body. The person massaging you will start to perform movements and touches with their hands. The purpose of this is to reenergise the body.
  3. Energy Spread

    The towel will be removed and the focus will move to massaging your back with warm oil. You'll feel sensations on the back, shoulders, arms, to your buttocks. It's all about the spread of energy to activate your kundalini energy.
  4. Erotic Awakening

    The masseuse stimulates other areas of your body, extending her touch to your pelvis in a motion similar to the experience of sex, whilst caressing your body parts.
  5. Turning Over

    You'll be asked to turn over and lie on your back to expose the pelvis who you will be able to create eye contact with. This involves a lot of eye gazing to solidify an erotic and deeper connection.
  6. The Lingham or Yoni Massage
    Although there's been some stimulation, the massage will then bring attention to the lingham or yoni. Maximising their touch, your masseuse will arouse different part of your genitals to energise your erogenous zone, which can be extremely pleasurable.
  7. Energy Release
    Traditional tantric massages aim to stimulate a full body orgasm that doesn't include physical ejaculation, however modern tantric massages include an intense climax.
  8. Cool Down
    After achieving climax, every touch is more sensitive and the masseuse will leave you to take in the tranquility of this state. The majority of masseuses will use hot towels to rub on your body and take off the oils.
  9. Can you tell me about the history of the yoni massage?

    Yoni massage history is closely entwined with the history of Tantra, as Yoni massage is actually derived from Tantra. First recorded texts that relate to tantric practice date back as far as 300CE and are evident in Hinduism and Buddhism.

    What are the benefits of the yoni massage?

    In my experience providing Yoni Massage to my clients, many women visit me to help with:
    Painful menstruation: As the massage stimulates the blood flow in the area.
    Painful sexual intercourse: Yoni massage helps to awaken the genital area, using breathing techniques to relax the muscles around the vagina and allow more relaxed intercourse.
    Improvement of sexual relationships: I have worked with many clients to help unlock a fear of intimacy and touch, improve trust, confidence and develop an increase in sex drive.
    Releasing energy: Yoni massage techniques promote unblocking of channels to achieve a greater connection with the mind, body and soul. My clients feel more connected after a session, with their mind and their body.
    Achieving more intense orgasms: Yoni massage creates connection and a balance of the body. The mind is cleared and together this allows for a more intense, 'cleaner' orgasm that can be far superior to anything my clients may have felt before.
    How long does the yoni massage last?
    Usually I recommend a Yoni massage session to last 90 minutes, however I can perform one in 60 minutes if time is an issue. Any less than 60mins is simply not enough time to gain the full benefits of the session.
    Is the massage usually done by a female or male masseuse?
    Yoni massage can be performed equally well by either a male or female masseuse. As long as they are properly trained of course. Some females prefer a female to perform the massage as they feel more at ease and less vulnerable in the company of a female. Yoni massage is often performed by women, on women, which raises questions like 'Am I a lesbian if I let a female massage my Yoni?'. Of course the answer is no, all types of females can enjoy a Yoni massage without specifically being aroused by female company.
    In a recent survey we conducted, we found that 60% of straight women said they would consider a Yoni massage performed by another woman. It's more about being in touch with your own body and mind, letting go of your anxieties and blockages that stop you from being you.
    It's useful to note that many men and couples also come to see me to learn how to perform Yoni massage on their partners. Learning to please your partner in this way can be very rewarding and help to reestablish a sensual connection in your relationship that may have faded.

    Do you think the yoni massage itself is a form of feminist relaxation?

    I think that Yoni massage is an excellent way for females to relax in any aspect as well as empower themselves. Taking control of your body and mind is a tool that females should embrace and that Yoni massage can help women achieve. I believe we need to start seeing this type of therapy as a professional, viable and accessible practice to improve sexual health, the same way we see psychology or osteopathy. The entanglement of female shame within sexuality is holding many females back from accessing the incredible benefits of this type of massage.

    Why do you think there's such a stigma surrounding the yoni massage?

    I think anything that even touches on sexuality can be seen as either exciting or taboo in our world and with that comes feelings of shame or judgment. Even if it is therapeutic with regards to sexual health, it is sometimes frowned upon in our 'British' culture. The truth is, behind the scenes, there is a vibrant sexual movement that means many people enjoy the benefits of services such as this, it's just not openly spoken about. The boundaries that separate sexual health practices such as Yoni massage compared to other services such as escorting or prostitution are certainly not clear to most of society. We need to eradicate the shame we feel for wanting to be sexual or for attending to our sexual health needs.

    What do women enjoy most about it?

    After working in the industry for over 10 years, I have certainly had many compliments from my Yoni clients.
    One client that comes to mind is a lady who came to me with very low self-esteem after her divorcing her husband where she was in a mentally abusive relationship.
    Her confidence levels were very low and she had developed a fear of intimate touch. She was also particularly self conscious about her body and had gained weight as a result of the bad head space she was in.
    Our sessions lasted just over 6 months where we worked on all the areas that she was struggling with. One day she called to explain that she would not wish to visit me any further for the time being. I was a little taken aback as I was certain we had made incredible progress working together, so I asked if she would be so kind as to explain why.
    It seems that our work together had given her the confidence to start dating again and she had now found a partner. I was really very pleased, proud and so flattered that she had made it out of the negative space she was in and could not pursue a happy future with her new partner.

Heart Disease

Many people believe that heart disease only affects older men. This is a stereotype that is not true. The reality is, heart disease is the #1 cause of death for both men and women in the United States. It affects more people than cancer, mental health conditions, or any other medical condition. In fact, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack or stroke.

What is cardiovascular/heart disease?

Cardiovascular disease is a broad term that is used to describe any disease involving the heart (Cardiac) and/or the blood vessels (Vascular). Cardiovascular disease or heart disease, generally refers to a process where the blood vessels that feed the heart or brain become narrow or even blocked due to a condition called, atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a process by which fat, cholesterol and other substances form “plaque” in the blood vessels. The plaque sticks to the walls of the blood vessels and hardens causing the blood flow to slow down and in some cases stop. This can lead to a heart attack (when it occurs in the heart) or an ischemic stroke (when it occurs in the brain).  Atherosclerosis is usually the cause of most heart attacks and strokes and it begins during the late teen and early 20’s.

Why should I care about heart disease?

It’s important to learn about heart disease, so that you can know how to lower your risk. Researchers have found that heart attacks and strokes do not just affect older adults. Cardiovascular disease also affects young adults and it is occurring more frequently among younger adults (< 35 years old).  Also, heart disease may be silent for years before causing any noticeable problems, which is why it’s important to develop and maintain heart healthy habits before long term medical problems, such as heart attack or stroke, develop.

You can lower your risk of heart disease by aiming for a heart healthy lifestyle.

A heart healthy “lifestyle” includes: a healthy diet, daily exercise, and staying smoke-free.
  1. A heart healthy diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and non-fried fish, nuts and legumes. Don’t be discouraged if your diet doesn’t look like this. Small steps over time add up to big changes! Begin by choosing a piece of fruit instead of a sugary or salty snack or by replacing soda/fruit juices with water.
  2. Exercise: Aim for at least 60 minutes of aerobic exercise (activities that get you sweating) every day. You can do this by running with friends, playing a sport, joining your neighborhood gym or recreation center, dancing or doing other activities that you enjoy.
  3. Staying smoke-free: This means not using cigarettes or e-cigarettes. Research studies show that ingredients in e-cigarettes including: nicotine, propylene glycol and flavoring particles can irritate and damage your blood vessels. Compared to non-smokers, e-cigarette users have a 2-5x higher risk of having a heart attack.
What are the genetic risk factors for heart disease?
While lifestyle can make a big difference in preventing heart disease, some people will naturally be at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other conditions that increase their risk for heart disease because these conditions run in their families. It’s important to learn about your family’s medical history and tell your health care provider if anyone in your family has heart problems. This is important because people with genetic conditions can develop a heart condition at an earlier age. If your HCP (health care provider) thinks you are at risk of heart disease, you may need lipid testing at an earlier age. Some youth need to take medicines to lower cholesterol and other levels.
How can I talk to my health care provider (HCP) about my heart health?
Tell your HCP about your current lifestyle, including your diet, exercise habits, and stress factors such as school, work, relationships with family/friends etc. Ask your HCP for advice about how to balance these aspects of your life, as all of them can affect your heart health.
Heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes is the #1 medical problem affecting both men and women in the United States. The challenge of heart disease is that it is a gradual process that can be silent for many years before any obvious problems occur. However, research shows that the beginning stages of heart disease start during the teenage years. That’s why following a healthy diet, exercising, and staying smoke free as a teen/young adult is important. Talk to your health care provider about how to include heart healthy habits into your life.

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