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Baby Constipation Remedies

Baby constipation remedies differ from adult constipation remedies. The symptoms of constipation are also dependent on age. Most of the constipation remedies available to adults are dangerous to or untested with infants. Many baby constipation remedies involve dietary changes. Parents must choose the dietary baby constipation remedies that match their infant's developmental stage. A few non-dietary baby constipation remedies are available to parents. One should consult a doctor if natural baby constipation remedies do not work or if there are complications with the constipation.

Baby Constipation Vs Adult Constipation
Constipation can be less obvious in infants, because they are unable to tell others when they are backed up. Newborns who still get all of their sustenance from nursing may have bowel movements as infrequently as once every 7 days. This is normal digestion for their developmental stage, not constipation. Once an infant starts consuming other liquids and foods, he should have a bowel movement every couple of days. The nature of the bowel movement is important at any age. Stool should be soft. Hard stools that look like pebbles are a sign of baby constipation. A constipated baby might also feel pain or discomfort during bowel movements. Sometimes infant constipation results in intestinal gas that bloats the stomach.


The best natural laxative to choose depends on what a baby is old enough to consume

Sorbitol Sources

Pear juice, apple juice, prune juice

Note: Apple, Pear, and Prune Juice contain sorbitol, which is a laxative. Prune Juice does not have fiber.  

Fiber Sources

Apples, apricots, beans, bran, peas, peaches, pears, prunes, raisins, spinach, wheat germ

When an adult gets constipated, she can choose from many constipation remedies. The local pharmacy or health food stores  sells suppositories, enemas and oral laxatives. Do not give any of these to an infant without a doctor's approval. Governmental websites warn against giving babies suppositories, enemas or oral laxatives, especially mineral oil. They also caution against giving honey, syrup or corn syrup to babies. Honey, syrup and corn syrup contain trace levels of microbes that can cause botulism in infants.

Baby Constipation Remedies
Dietary habits contribute to baby constipation. Drinking cow's milk, switching from breast milk to formula and improperly mixing formula can all lead to baby constipation. A lack of fluids or dietary fiber will also make babies constipated. Adding liquids and fiber sources to a baby's diet should be a parent's first step. Fluid in stool makes it softer so that it is easier to pass. Fiber stimulates bowel movements by adding bulk to the stool. Some types of fiber also increase the fluid content of stool. Pick drinks and foods that are appropriate for an infant's age. A newborn only consumes breast milk. As the baby matures, he gradates to other fluids, then formula, and then solid foods. Give plain water and diluted fruit juice to a younger infant. Pear juice, apple juice and prune juice contain sorbitol, which is a natural laxative. If a baby is old enough to eat solid foods, high fiber fruits and vegetables promote regularity. Apples, apricots, beans, bran, peas, peaches, pears, prunes, raisins, spinach and wheat germ are reliable fiber sources.

Some non-dietary baby constipation remedies assist in regularity. As with adults, regular exercise for infants strengthens the muscles that are involved with bowel movements. When infants are old enough to exercise, parents can lead them through exercises that move the upper legs or lower torso. If a baby is ready for potty training, good toilet habits are important. Using the toilet at the same time each day makes it easier to have a bowel movement. Right after eating a meal is a particularly good time for a trip to the toilet, because the food from the meal encourages the entire digestive system to activate. Infants, toddlers and children should use the toilet whenever they feel the urge to. Constipated babies of all ages can find relief from a gentle stomach massage.

When to Call a Doctor
Be sure to contact a doctor if the constipated baby is under 2 months old, if the constipation lasts more than 2 days or if certain complications accompany the constipation. When a child resists toilet training or consciously holds back bowel movements, there could be a more serious problem. Blood in the stool, pain, fever or vomiting requires a doctor's care.

Parents searching for baby constipation remedies must keep developmental factors in mind. A baby suffering from constipation may exhibit signs that are particular to his age. Remedies also need to match an infant's age. Adult constipation remedies can harm infants. Many baby constipation remedies involve food and drink choices. Exercise and proper toilet habits help too. Parents need to seek professional medical advice if there are complications with the constipation or if the constipation persists despite trying home baby constipation remedies.

References:

1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003125.htm

2. South Dakota State Website
https://apps.sd.gov/Applications/PH18Publications/secure/Publications/constipation.pdf

3. Washington Department of Health
http://here.doh.wa.gov/materials/relief-from-constipation/15_WICrelief_E04L.pdf

4. Oregon Department of Human Services
http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/wic/docs/700_constipation.pdf?ga=t