Dealing with constipation in infants can be frustrating at times. Normally, newborns start passing stool within 24 hours after their birth, but infrequent bowel movement or constipation arises after a couple of months when the infant takes to regular breastfeeding or bottle feeding.
Constipation is prevalent among bottle fed infants. Often, insufficient breast milk production leaves the infant underfed giving rise to constipation. Infants also suffer from this condition when they switch over to formula feeding from breast feeding. Constipation in infants can be effectively treated with simple home remedies, but a pediatrician’s guidance is always recommended before administering any remedy to the infant.
Top 6 Home Remedies For Constipation In Infants
The following useful home remedies for constipation in infants will ease out your tensions regarding this digestive problem of your baby.
1. Check The Water Intake Of Your Baby
Insufficient water intake often causes constipation in infants. This is again prominent in formula fed or bottle fed babies. According to mayoclinic.com, you can feed your baby with 2-4 ounces of water in between regular feedings. You can give more or less water than the recommended quantity depending upon the response of your baby.This will prevent hardening of stools and facilitate easy defecation. Breast feeding babies need not take additional water for first 3 months after birth and a few of them suffer from constipation.
2. Your Baby Should Not Remain Underfed
Underfed infants often suffer from constipation. Feeding demand of infants varies according to their birth weight. Babies with high birth weight demand more and frequent feeding while this may be just the opposite in case of medium or low weight babies. Insufficient breast milk production often leaves the infant (especially those with high birth weight) underfed hampering the normal stool formation.
In such cases, your baby may not soil the diapers for a few days. Increase the feeding frequency if you feel that the amount of breast milk is not keeping your baby full. Do not lose your patience if you find your baby becoming fussy due to insufficient feeding.
3. A Gentle Tummy Massage Works
Give a gentle tummy massage while your baby is lying on his or her back. Place your fingers on his or her belly and massage gently in circular motions. The steady and gentle circular motions of your hand will stimulate the digestive tract of your newborn facilitating smooth bowel movement.You can apply this massage while you are giving a warm bath to your baby. Else you can also apply oil and massage his or her tummy in a similar manner.
4. Leg Exercises Are Beneficial Too
Place your baby on his or her back. Raise his or her legs and move them in a cycling motion for 5 – 10 minutes. You can do this with one leg at a time as per your convenience. Your baby will enjoy this exercise which will also facilitate smooth bowel movement.
5. Diluted Fruit Juice Relieves Constipation In Infants
If your newborn is more than 5-6 months old, then additional water intake or exercises may not yield the desired result. Mayoclinic.com recommends feeding the infant with 2-4 ounces of apple, pear or prune juice to enable smooth bowel movement. Sorbitol present in fruit juices reduces constipation in infants effectively. Start with 2 ounces of fruit juice diluted with water, and gradually increase the concentration of the juice depending upon the response of your baby. Always use pasteurized fruit juices or fresh home made ones.
6. Introduce More Fiber In The Diet
Infants over 6 months age often suffer from constipation when they start taking solid foods apart from breast milk. You can introduce some foods with high fiber content to facilitate smooth defecation. Replace rice with barley and oatmeal. Feed your baby with apples, apricots, pears, peas, prunes, spinach, carrots and peaches in quantities tolerable for your baby.
The soluble fiber present in these food items increases the bulk of the stool enabling smooth and painless defecation. You can feed boiled and mashed vegetables mixed with rice to increase the fiber intake. Always feed your baby in measured quantities. Avoid overfeeding as this may give rise to other digestive problems.