Constipation is an irritating and painful condition not only for the adults, but for the babies as well. It's very difficult to see your little one suffering and crying from this ailment. Introduction of solid food in baby's diet, milk-protein intolerance or allergy, consumption of dairy products in large quantities by a breast-feeding mom, formula milk, and dehydration are some of the main reasons that lead to constipation. Distended stomach, intense abdominal pain, discomfort or crying before passing stool, dry and pellet-like poo, and less than 3 bowel movements per week are some signs that indicate that your ward is constipated. You can't employ the same remedies for adults and infants to cure constipation, as some remedies which are used for grown-ups may have adverse effect on the health of your tot. Before opting for any home treatment, it's crucial to consider the age of the child.
Natural Remedies for Constipation in Infants
1. Stomach Massage
Gently massage the stomach of your baby, in a clockwise direction with the help of your fingertips. Massage around the naval as well, in an outward, spherical motion. It will eradicate the tension out of your baby's tummy and give him/her relief from the symptoms of constipation.
- Keep your infant on his/her back. Hold his/her legs in a ½ bent position. Gently move baby's legs in such a way, as if s/he paddling a bicycle. Do it at a steady pace. Leg bicycling is a great fun for your child and loosens up the intestines.
- Carry your newborn baby around in a squat position. Elevate his/her little legs in a way that s/he is squatting on your forearm like a bunny or frog. It will exert a little pressure on the kid's rectum and help him/her to defecate.
3. Sugar Solution
Mix ½ teaspoon of sugar in an ounce of water. Give this solution to your baby three times a day before feeding him/her formula food. Instead of white sugar, it is recommended to use brown sugar for preparing this solution.
Note- Utilize cooled boiled water for this remedy.
4. Prune Juice
Add diluted prune juice to newborn's bottle of formula. It will help him/her get rid of constipation.
- If your child is older than 4 months, mix 4 oz of breast or formula milk with 1 oz of prune juice. Give it twice a day.
- If your little one is less than 4 months, just a tablespoon of prune juice in 4 oz of breast or formula milk, two times a day is enough to regulate the bowel movement.
5. Dark Corn Syrup
A combo of 4 ounces of water and 1 teaspoon of dark corn syrup is an effective remedy to cure baby constipation. Give this solution at least two times a day.
1) Utilize cooled boiled water for this remedy.
2) Don't use this remedy, if you are already giving sugar solution to your infant.
6. Warm Bath
Utilize warm water for your baby’s bath. While drying him/her, give a gentle massage. Warm water relaxes the muscles of the stomach and relieves constipation.
7. Lubrication to Anus
Apply a water-based lubricant to your baby's anus. It will lubricate the excretory passage, thus, decreasing the discomfort.
Alternatively, at the time of changing the diaper of your tot, rub around the anus, wiping gently. It will encourage him/her to poop.
8. Brown Sugar
Take 1 oz of boiled, cooled water. Add half a teaspoon of brown sugar to it. Give this solution to your baby thrice a day just before feeding formula milk, until his/her stool softens.
Note- White sugar can also be used in place of brown sugar.
9. Castor Oil
Castor is the most commonly used remedy for relieving constipation in kids. Take a betel leaf and dip its stalk in castor oil. Introduce it in the rectum of the baby. If your child is more than 2 years old, give a mixture of castor oil (1 teaspoon) in a glass of milk. Adjust the dose as per the age of the child.
Soak 5-6 raisins in water and keep them soaked for the whole night. Crush them well the next day. Strain it. Give the raisin liquid to regulate the bowel movement of the child.
In a glass of milk, add 2-3 teaspoons of honey or sugar. Stir well and give it to your kid on an empty stomach, in the morning. It helps the child to pass stool easily.
Herbal Remedies for Constipation in Infants
12. Herbal Tea
Take 2 cups each of fresh mint leaves and anise leaves. Boil 2 quarts of water. Pour it over the herbs. Allow to steep till the water gets cool down. Fill the tea in a bottle and give it to the baby, four ounces at a time.
13. Herbal Decoction
Boil a pint of water and add equal parts of licorice root and fennel seed to it. Simmer for 18-20 minutes. Then, let it to cool. Give 1 teaspoon after half an hour.
14. Herbal Teas
- Peppermint Tea
Heat (not boil) the water. Soak a peppermint tea bag in the water for at least 5 minutes. Pour 1 ounce of this water in baby's bottle. Besides regular feedings, give this tea to your little one. It will sooth the tummy and ease the digestion, thus, regularizing the bowel movement.
- Chamomile Tea
Another effective remedy is chamomile tea. Dunk a chamomile tea bag in boiling water. Brew it for some time. Give it to your constipated kid.
- Ginger Tea
Grate some ginger roots (fresh) in a pot. Add some boiling water to it. Cover it and steep for 5-6 minutes. Strain it and allow it to cool. Ask your child to sip it.
Diet for Constipated Babies
The risk of constipation can be reduced to considerable amount by giving a proper diet to your child. Fluids (vegetable soups and fruit juices), bran cereals and fiber rich foods (spinach, beans, peas, raw tomatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.), ease the symptoms associated to constipation.
The diet differs according to the age of the kid.
- Less than 2 months – As the baby is too young, any food prepared outside can't be given. It's better to call up the doctor, instead of dealing with the situation at your own.
- 2 months and older – Include nearly 3 ounces of water, on a regular basis, in his/her diet. You can also give 2 ounces of diluted apple juice or grape juice.
- 4 months and older – Children of this age can have solid foods. So, you can include high fiber constituents such as peaches, beans, peas, and spinach in their diet.
- 5-10 months old – Feed pureed foods to your kid. Ensure that there are no lumps in the food.
- 1 year old infant – Give mashed food, if your tot belongs to this age group. There is no problem, if there are some lumps in the food.
Note- Do not give additional sugars (including corn syrup) and diluted juice simultaneously. Opt for only one cure.
- Keep your baby hydrated. Give him/her fluids at equal intervals.
- Set up regular toilet time and encourage your child to poo.
- Before giving juices (apple juice, prune juice or pear juice) to the baby, dilute them with water; otherwise, it may cause diarrhea, bloating or gas.
- If you are a breast-feeding mom, eliminate dairy products from your diet.
- Include physical activities like jumping, running and walking in your child's day-to-day routine. It helps digestive system function properly.
- Do not feed cow's milk to your baby, as it is difficult to digest for some kids. Instead, feed soya milk which is nutritious and easy to digest.
- Don't switch to a low-iron formula, as it's not going to affect constipation, rather it will impede development of the child.
- Avoid giving rice cereal, carrots, bananas, applesauce, white bread, dairy products (except yogurt), potatoes or pasta. Besides, refrain from feeding refined or processed foods.