Feeding your baby can be stressful when your little loved one experiences pain or discomfort as a result of digestive issues. It can be hard to figure out what the problem is, as these young patients are unable to guide parents to what is bothering them. Once constipation has been determined as the cause of a baby’s discomfort, the problem can be easily treated through a variety of methods.
How to Ease Your Baby’s Constipation
Whether you have noticed your baby is having too few bowel movements or the little one has provided indication of bowel discomfort, constipation can be alleviated. It often resolves on its own through changes in diet, amount of fluids consumed each day, body position or behaviors.
Your baby should be seen by a doctor if he or she is under four months of age, in pain, suffers significant vomiting or has bloody stools. A doctor should also be visited if simple home remedies do not fix the problem. But if your baby is over four months of age, you can first try solving a mild or moderate case of constipation through home remedies.
Try one of the following methods of treating your baby’s constipation:
Two to four ounces of fruit juice served each day for babies up to toddler age can help relieve constipation. Prune, apple and pear juices are the best options, as these contain sugars that pass through the intestine without being absorbed and hold water in bowel movements.
For older babies up to two years of age, serve four to six ounces per day of these juices. Ensure the juice is 100 percent fruit juice and not watered down if using apple or pear juices. Prune juice may be half juice and half water, if desired.
Gas or bloating may occur in some children after drinking these juices. Some become a little fussy when this bowel discomfort occurs before a bowel movement.
Children over the age of three are not usually aided by juice for constipation.
This is because their intestines are more mature and efficiently absorb sugars in the juices.
High Fiber Foods
If your baby is eating solid foods, you can change their diet slightly to help alleviate constipation. By substituting whole grain cereals for white rice or refined cereals, the problem may be solved.
Other helpful foods for constipation include high fiber fruits and vegetables. Apricots, sweet potatoes, pears, peas, broccoli, prunes, peaches, plums, beans and spinach work well for regularity in the digestive system. You can serve even very young eaters these vegetables and fruits through standard jarred baby food.
For babies who are eating and suffer constipation, avoid baby foods containing bananas, applesauce or carrots. You also should avoid any baby food thickened with tapioca. Tapioca is frequently constipating for infants.
Toddlers can become irregular in bowel movements from dairy products such as cheese. Cut back on cheeses for your baby and ensure that they do not exceed 16 ounces of milk per day at this stage, if constipation is a problem.
Refined carbohydrates can cause bowel issues for toddlers, too. Substitute whole grain breads for white, whole grain cereals for refined cereals, and serve your toddler enough fruits and vegetables to balance their diet.
Baby formulas can cause constipation for some infants. Those higher in casein or thickened with rice cereal are particularly troublesome for babies prone to experience constipation. Change formulas if your baby is on formula and experiences problems with regular bowel movements. Do not worry about iron in formula, as this does not cause constipation for babies.
Do not use dark corn syrup for babies today, although many older parents may recommend you do so. This method worked in the past. But modern dark corn syrup does not contain the some active ingredients that used to treat constipation in babies. There is also concern about the possibility of botulinum spores being in dark corn syrup, as have been found in honey.
Also avoid mineral oil and stimulant laxatives. Your baby’s system is not ready for these older child and adult means of easing constipation.
If your baby continues to suffer constipation after these dietary changes, consult with your doctor. The physician may recommend a glycerin suppository, medication or other means of relieving constipation for your loved one.