Constipation in babies is not a disease, it is a symptom which is curable. If your baby experiences difficulty in passing stools or if there is a decrease in the normal frequency of bowel movements, then it is constipation. Constipation in babies is also accompanied by pain, gas or pressure in the abdomen. At some point in life, all of us experience constipation which is majorly due to the poor diet.
Parents can’t see their baby in pain or discomfort, so they rush to the doctor for treatment of constipation in infants. I would suggest trying natural remedies for constipation in babies at home.
It is important to understand the bowel movements, reasons, and symptoms for constipation before trying any home remedies for constipation in babies.
When a baby is in the womb, his intestines are filled with a sticky black substance called meconium. In the first 24 hours after delivery, meconium is passed. After this normal motions take over. Once your baby settles into a regular routine, his stools will become paler and firmer.
There is a great variation in the number of stools a baby passes. Initially, most bottle-fed babies pass a stool after every feed. Whereas, a breastfed may pass only one stool a day or less as there is little waste.
As your baby gets older, gradually the frequency of bowel motions decreases. Initially, your baby passes six or seven stools a day, but after three or four weeks he may pass only two or three stools a day. This is normal and should not cause you any worry.
Similarly, the odd loose, totally green stool or unformed stool is not a cause of concern unless looseness persists beyond 24 hours, then you should seek a doctor’s advice.
Reasons for Constipation in Babies
Constipation in babies is rare especially in very young babies. It can be corrected by using natural remedies for constipation in babies. When your baby is exclusively on breastfeed during the first six months, it is normal if he is not passing stool every day.
- Introduction of solid foods might be the reason for constipation in babies.
- The milk your baby is consuming – breastmilk, formula milk or cow’s milk.
- A specific medicine, if your baby is undergoing any particular treatment, might also cause constipation in babies.
- Any food allergy.
- If water level decreases in the body due to some illness or infection such as cold, cough, fever or teething.
- Not getting enough fluid in the diet.
Symptoms of Constipation in Babies
If the stool of your baby becomes infrequent – that is, less often than once every three to four days and hard enough to cause pain or discomfort, then he is constipated.
There is nothing to worry about if constipation in babies is without any other signs of illness.
There is no specific rule to check if your baby has healthy bowel movements as every child has different eating habits and toilet habits. You can check the frequency and consistency of stools to check constipation in babies.
If your baby is pooping regularly, it is a sign that he is taking sufficient food and disposing of the waste.
You can still check these signs of constipation in babies:
- The baby is making straining faces while passing the stool.
- A firm belly which is painful if you touch it and gets cranky.
- If he refuses to eat or drink due to discomfort.
- The stool is hard or dry and difficult to come out.
- Vomiting along with irregular bowel movements.
- Blood stains in the stool.
Foods that cause Constipation in Babies
- Rice or Rice Cereal
- Apple sauce
- Cow’s milk
- Ice cream
- A high-fat food that slows down the process of digestion
- High salt and sugar content in food
Basically, BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) diet is given to children with vomiting, gastroenteritis or diarrhea symptoms.
So these foods should be avoided in case of constipation in babies and children.
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More fluids intake
One of the prime reasons for constipation in babies is dehydration. You need to keep your baby hydrated for regular bowel movements.
Breastfeeding is the best option to keep your baby hydrated until the age of 6 months. Breastmilk is sufficient. For this, a breastfeeding mother must keep her body hydrated.
You need to look out for a toddler if he is drinking enough water throughout the day. A toddler should drink at least 32 ounces of water a day to stay hydrated. It will help him to pass stool smoothly.
The first thing in the morning should be a glass of water intake for everyone. Good habits developed at an early age lasts for the lifetime.
Baby stomach massage
A gentle massage on the stomach gives instant relief from constipation in babies. You can use any baby oil to massage the belly in a circular motion working outward from the navel in a clockwise direction. It relaxes the baby from discomfort and pain and also reduces tummy tightness. Baby massage often eases minor digestive upsets such as wind. So, make it a daily routine to fetch baby massage benefits!
A lukewarm bath for 15 to 20 minutes can be relaxing for your baby. You can fill a tub with lukewarm water and let your baby sit in it. Lukewarm water relaxes the anal muscles and eases constipation in babies.
Apply water-based lubricant to baby’s anus in a very small quantity such as coconut oil, olive oil or mustard oil. It will help to pass the dry and hard stool easily and get rid of the anus discomfort.
How to relieve constipation in babies quickly? Keep your baby active. You can try some exercise movements to trigger the bowel movements. It also helps in baby’s physical development.
Tummy Time Exercise: When your baby is awake, place your baby on his tummy on a play mat. Now lift up your baby’s thighs gently from the floor by putting one hand on his ankles and the other under his thighs close to the knees. Do this tummy time exercise 3 to 4 times and let him play.
Cycling Exercise: Place your baby on his back and gently move his legs in a cycling motion in both the directions as if he is pedaling a cycle. Do it slowly and regularly for 5 to 10 min twice a day.
Pears are high in dietary fiber and pectin which improves the bowel movement and eases constipation in babies. It is preferred to give pear juice in a diluted form after 4 months of age.
- Simply take out the pulp by grating a pear.
- Now press the pear pulp to extract juice.
- Dilute 4 tbsp. (2 ounces) of pear juice with an equal amount of water.
- Feed your baby in a bottle or a sipper.
How to cure constipation in babies and kids? Try prune juice. It is one of the most effective baby constipation remedies. Prune juice is a natural laxative in case your baby is 6 months or above and is mildly constipated. It might take 4 to 5 hours to work.
- Add 2 tbsp. ( 1 Ounce) of prune juice
- Dilute it with a half cup of water.
- Serve in a bottle or sipper.
For babies above 1 year, you can give 4 to 6 ounces of prune juice.
Tomato Juice can be given to treat constipation in babies above 6 months of age.
- Cut and boil 1 tomato in 1 cup of water.
- Extract the juice and strain it to extract pulp and seeds.
- Give 3 to 4 spoons of tomato juice to your baby.
Fennel Seeds Water
Fennel seeds are a blessing for breastfeeding moms. A breastfeeding mom should take fennel seeds in the form of fennel water or fennel tea twice a day.
You can also give fennel water 3 to 4 times a day to treat constipation in babies above 6 months of age.
- Boil 1 tsp of fennel seeds with 1 cup of water.
- Let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Let it cool down.
- Sieve it and give this water in a bottle or a sipper at the room temperature.
Change the formula milk
In case of babies who take formula milk, it might be the cause of constipation in babies. At times, particular formula milk does not suit the baby. You should consult your pediatrician to change the formula milk.
Try the above tried and tested home remedies to treat constipation in babies. These are easy and safe to use even without consulting your pediatrician. I have used these home remedies and treated constipation in my baby.
Have more home remedies to add to the list of newborn constipation remedies? Please share with us your tried and tested home remedies to treat constipation in babies in the comments section below.
You can also leave a comment for any queries related to constipation in babies and baby health!
Also Read: Is constipation affecting your infant?
Wish you a very Healthy and Happy Parenting!