Are you looking for home remedies to relieve your baby’s constipation? Are you worried and wondering why did your baby get constipated in the first place? Well, rest your worries, read on and follow through to the home remedies to make your baby poop.
Infant constipation can make parents worry and fret, even though babies may not bother as much. Formula fed babies usually poop once a day, though a missed day or two is also alright. Breastfed babies tend to poop lesser, especially during infancy as they digest most of it and nothing is left to waste. Infant constipation is common, and importantly, it can be easily treated with simple home remedies. Before we discuss them, let us understand what causes constipation in babies.
What Causes Constipation In Babies?
There can be many causes of infant constipation – to pinpoint something exactly would require you to be very observant. If you are aware your babies’ stool schedule, chances are you would be able to know exactly why they are irregular. You may have-
- Switched the milk you feed to your baby
- Introduced solids to your baby recently
- Introduced a new food to your little one
- Your baby may have been teething
- Changed the feeding routine, or any other change
- Given him some medicine – medicines can also cause constipation in babies
- A baby who has cold/cough or a throat infection – this can again cause constipation in infants
These are some factors that determine the frequency of bowel movements in babies. In case you seem to have zeroed on one, you know what could be the reason for your baby not pooping.
What Are The Symptoms Of Constipation In Babies?
Straining during passing a stool is a normal human thing- we all do. When it comes to babies, they work harder when passing stool – after all gravity is not on their side. So while straining during poop time is taken to be constipation’s number one symptom, raise an alarm only if you feel your baby is straining more than usual or strains for more than 5 minutes without success.
Other symptoms include-
- Constipation can make a baby excessively fussy and irritable
- The stools may be hard, and if they have blood – reach ER
- Baby refuses to eat because he is uncomfortable
- The tummy of the baby feels tight and hard
- A vomiting or excessive spitting alongwith irregular bowel movements
Seeing your baby suffering in pain and crying in discomfort can unnerve and disdain even the best of parents. You may like to help your baby relieve from constipation by using age-appropriate home-remedies that help him pass his stools comfortably.
10 Home Remedies To Treat Infant Constipation
There are several home remedies to help your baby pass motion, but remember, they are age dependent. For infants and younger babies, try consulting the doctor is you are trying something new.
1. Exercise the baby
Just like us adults, a little movement in babies does help them to loosen their bowels. You can give your baby a gentle cyclic exercise by making him lie on his back and gently moving his legs like riding a bicycle.
Tummy time is also a great exercise for infants. Just place the baby down on the tummy and watch him try raising his legs.
For babies who are moving about on their own, a little more effort may do the trick.
2. Light massage on the stomach
Massages are a wonderful way to fight constipation not just in young infants but also toddlers. Placing the baby on the back, you can gently massage the baby in circular motions in clockwise direction around the navel using your fingertips. This eases the pressure and loosens the bowels.
3. Warm bath
A constipated baby also feels irritable and uncomfortable. To ease these symptoms, a warm bath is recommended. It relaxes the baby, soothes the strained abdominal muscles and aid in the movement of bowels.
4. Dietary changes to relieve bowels
Diet plays a direct role in regulating the bowels of not just babies, but also us adults. However, dietary changes to relieve constipation are dependent on the age of the baby, such as –
For a breastfeeding baby, the dietary changes should be made by the mother. Watch if eliminating dairy and adding fiber rich foods help the baby pass regular bowels. This will need patience and careful watch from the mother as this is a trial and error method.
For a formula fed baby, you can try switching the brand if your doctor gives you a go-ahead. Also ensure that you are using the exact proportions of formula and water when preparing the bottle. Switching the formula multiple times won’t help either.
If you have recently introduced solids to your baby, make sure they have enough water to go with the meals as well. Also, choosing high fiber foods is a great way to ensure regular and smooth bowel movements.
5. Keep the baby hydrated
Till 6 months of life, breastfed and formula fed babies get all their hydration from their milk. However, if your baby is very constipated and his paediatrician okays, a small amount of water or fruit juice may be added to baby’s diet very occasionally. Remember, this is only if the doctor approves it.
For babies older than 6 months, water is the best hydrating agent.
6. Coconut oil for baby constipation
Using coconut oil for baby constipation can be done through 3 ways, and they are explained in detail in our post here. You can also lubricate the baby’s anus with virgin coconut oil to aid fast poop.
7. Apple juice for baby constipation
Apple juice in small quantities can be given to babies to help them get relief from constipation. It should be only done after 2 months, an ounce for each month of life. For a 2 month old baby, no more than 2 ounces and not without consulting the doctor first. The sugars in apple juice are hard to digest for the baby so only the liquid is consumed which helps soften the stool and aids in bowel movement.
8. Prune juice for reliving bowel movement
Prunes contain high content of soluble fiber which helps bulk up stool and also softens them so that baby can get relief. Feed only freshly squeezed prune juice and allow atleast 6 hours for it to work. It acts as a mild laxative so be mindful of how much are you giving the baby, even if he is older than 6 months. Diluted prune juice works best for babies under 6 months, but under medical guidance only.
9. Fruits like papaya and pears
If your child is on solids, include fruits like papaya and pears in his diet so that his digestive system stays healthy. Mashed papaya pulp of ripe papayas can be fed to babies and it will help with regular motions. If your baby can chew on pear chunks, then great, else you can grate pears and extract the juice. Mix it with equal quantity of water to dilute it and feed the baby.
10. Fennel water
A teaspoon of fennel seeds can be boiled in a cup of water for a few minutes and then left to let the solution come to room temperature. If your baby is older than 6 months, you can offer this water to her a few times a day. If you are breastfeeding, have fennel water yourself to ease baby’s constipation problem.
The above listed are all proven home remedies for baby’s constipation. However, I haven’t tried all of them and I strongly suggest that you take your doctor’s opinion before actually trying these on your baby – especially if he is under the age of 6 months. Constipation can be easily dealt with by making some changes in the baby’s routine and activity levels, diet and level of hydration. Fret not, infant constipation may be worrisome but it is curable. 3+