Warm baths can help relieve constipation in babies.
Constipation in babies is a common concern among parents and a condition commonly treated by pediatricians. This type of constipation is more about stool consistency than frequency. While many newborn babies have a bowel movement after each feed, the frequency of bowel movements begins to decrease between one and two months of age. Constipation in babies is characterized by rare, hard stools that feel painful when passing. You can help relieve constipation at home, although new parents are encouraged to call their pediatrician if they are concerned.
A common treatment for constipation is to feed them plum juice diluted in water. This is a viable option in babies older than six weeks. Fill a bottle with 30 ml of water and 30 ml of prune juice and give it to the baby twice a day.
Prunes can be an effective natural laxative.
Prune juice should be given in addition to regular breastfeeding or formula feeding, not as a substitute. While it may not sound palatable, there’s no need to sweeten the juice with sugar, and you shouldn’t. Most babies will suck as a natural reflex and ingest some of the juice.
If your baby refuses prune juice, is less than six weeks old, or doesn’t seem to respond to the juice, sometimes getting a rectal temperature stimulates your baby’s intestines. If you’re not familiar with taking a rectal temperature, you shouldn’t try it until your baby’s doctor or nurse shows you how. Also, if your baby’s temperature is above normal, you should see your doctor. You can also try a glycerin suppository for stimulation and softening, but check with your pharmacist about specific brands and usage. Never use a laxative on a baby.
Certain types of baby food can help with constipation.
Constipation in babies older than five months is usually caused by the introduction of solid foods. As your baby’s digestive system is introduced to new foods, it may react differently and bowel habits may change. If your baby has started eating solid foods, i.e. baby food, you can avoid or cut down on rice cereal and bananas and try prunes, apricots or pears as they tend not to cause constipation. Continue breastfeeding or breastfeeding as usual.
Prune juice mixed with water can help a baby with constipation.
Although breastfed babies are rarely constipated, they can become constipated. Constipation in formula-fed babies is more common, and you should talk to your doctor about switching to infant formula as a way to prevent or relieve constipation. Make sure your baby is drinking plenty of water, especially if you notice a decrease in urination. Constipation accompanied by obvious pain or discomfort that lasts longer than an hour, which is usually considered colic, should be discussed with a pediatrician. Call your doctor right away if you notice blood in your baby’s stool more than once or in excessive amounts.
Babies who seem to be in pain for more than an hour at a time are believed to suffer from colic.
Constipation can also be confused or accompanied by gas and bloating. You can use over-the-counter gas drops such as Mylicon, but be sure to follow the instructions in the leaflet carefully. In addition, a warm compress on the belly can provide relief and comfort for babies with gas or constipation. Most babies return to normal bowel habits within a few weeks, but if you’re still worried or nothing seems to be helping, you should always feel free to call your child’s doctor.