Constipation in Infants
Constipation refers to the condition associated with hard feces that produces difficulties for bowels to get empty. Constipation is a very common problem faced by men and women of different ages even in infants. Constipation also seems a small problem but in reality can cause many major health issues from damaging intestine to cancers if neglected. In an previous article, I have already discussed Best Home Remedies For Constipation In Adults. In this article I am going to write detailed article about infant constipation and its safe and effective treatment methods.
What Causes Constipation in Infants and Newborns
Apparently unhealthy food and activities are the causes of constipation but in infants these reasons vary as
- Low fiber or solid food
- Formula milk
- Change of surroundings
How to Know If Your Newborn or Infant Has Constipation
An infant cannot tell about his problems in words but his action can say if he is suffering from constipation.
- Discomfort in passing stool
- Strain full faces with hardened belly
- Traces of pebble like stools in underwear
- Hard stool and sometimes with blood
- Reduced or dry bowel movement
Natural Home Remedies For Constipation in Infants
A frequent exposure to the medicines is not a sensible decision to cure constipation especially in the case of infants. A check on the diet, proper exercise and some helpful home remedies can do much to prevent or cure an infant from constipation. But if the condition is worse or frequent then consultation to a pediatrician is the only option.
1- Infant Stomach Massage To Relieve Constipation
Massage is the most effective remedy for the infants for constipation. A gentle massage of the stomach in clockwise direction and a spherical massage around the naval of infant with fingertips can make the bowels movement smooth and passing stool easy. It is very effective to use castor, coconut or olive oil for massage.
2- Simple Exercises For Infants To Get Rid of Constipation Fast
The regular exercise can help to relax the abdominal muscles of infants and getting rid of constipation. Different exercises can be performed on baby to make him relieve but with great care.
- Make your baby lie down in front of you and gently lift up his both legs and start them move in a circular motion like pedaling bicycling. This movement will stimulate the bowels movement to flush food wastes out of the body.
- Squat position can also help infants and newborn babies to apply pressure on rectum and force him to defecate. Raise the legs of the baby in such a way as it is making a squat position against your forearm like a frog or bunny.
3- Giving Water To Infants For Constipation
Water is an important element for the proper functioning of digestive system and bowels movement. Normally the infants on breastfeeding do not need additional water but babies on formula milk need additional quarter to half cup of water in between two feeds to flush properly. Checkout my detailed article about three year old constipation remedies.
4- Fruit Juices To Cure Constipation in Infants
Fruit juices are delicious remedy for the constipation in infants of more than four months. Prune, apple and pear juice can help the infant curing constipation. The quantity of juice must vary along with the age of infant. The children of 4 to 8 months must not be given pure fruit juice more than four ounces and children of 8 to 1 year must intake up to six ounces only. Checkout 8 month old baby constipation remedies.
5- Feed Fiber Rich Food to Your Baby To Treat Constipation
The main period of constipation in infants starts when they start taking solid foods. Banana and rice cereals are the first solid food for the infants and these have a direct impact on the thickness of the stool. It’s better to replace rice cereal with barley cereal and banana with pear, apricot or peach to avoid constipation. Adding juice of these fruits in cereal can also be a good option.
6- Warm Bath Massage For Infant Constipation
A warm bath is as effective for infants as for adults. A warm bath will sooth the abdominal muscles of the baby and he will be able to throw out what he is inside. The massage techniques are also very easy to apply at the time when you are drying the baby off. A warm towel around the belly of the baby also produces the same results as a warm bath.
7- Lubricate Anus of Your Infant To Ease Stooling
Lubrication of anus of the baby with a watery lubricant is an easy way to soothe the excretory passage and making the excretion of stool with comfort. Gently apply a safe and trusted lubricant on the anus of baby regularly or while changing the diaper to encourage him to poop with ease.
8- White or Brown Sugar Syrup For Infant Constipation
Sugar syrup has a laxative effect even in worst constipation conditions for infants. Mix half teaspoon of sugar either brown or white in one ounce boiled but cold water and make a solution. Give this syrup solution to the constipated baby three times in a day before feeding formula food for instant relief. Although both brown and white sugar are effective for this but brown sugar is much better.
9- Use Milk of Magnesia For Infants Constipation
Milk of magnesia is another effective home remedy to cure infant constipation. You just need to add 1 Tsp of milk of magnesia in the milk bottle of baby. Don’t add higher amounts or it may cause discomfort for your baby. This milk helps colon of kid to absorb water from body. Also the colon becomes little distended due to the effects of milk of magnesia. As a result the level of water in the colon increase and stool become soft. Due to colon distention the excretion of stools become more easier.
Precaution: Don’t use milk of magnesia regularly for many days. It can cause dehydration and imbalance of electrolytes in the body. If using milk of magnesia is not helping your baby then don’t use it for more than 3 days (1 Tsp once a day in 1 bottle of milk). It may be very harmful. Read detailed article about Milk of Magnesia for infants constipation.
10- Karo Syrup To Relieve Constipation in Newborns and Infants
Karo Syrup, also known as corn syrup, is made from starch of corn and is commonly used to keep foods moist and sweet. Karo syrup also helps to prevent sugar crystallization. The dark Karo/Corn syrup is usually used to cure constipation in infants. Light corn syrup should not be used for this purpose.
Please note that karo syrup is a commercially made syrup and is not as effective as it was used to make at home in the past. But it is seen that in about 33% of infants, giving right dose of karo syrup helped to relieve constipation. Basically karo syrup can absorb water into intestine from surrounding tissue to make stools soft and helps in relieving constipation. Read my detailed article about how much karo syrup for infant constipation should be used.
What Are Homeopathic Remedies For Infant Constipation?
Homeopathy offers very effective and safe medicines to treat constipation in infants. These medicines can soften the stools, prevent dehydration and help in easy excretion. There are many medicines used depending upon the symptoms of patient (infant) and severity of condition. Some commonly used homeopathic medicines for baby constipation include:
Please note that only an experienced homeopath can suggest the right medicine and dose for your infant. Don’t try give any homeopathic medicine to your baby on your own as it may increase the severity of issue.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Relieve Constipation in Infants and Newborn Babies
Can i give my infant prune juice for constipation?
Answer: Please note that normally it is not recommended to give prune juice to your newborn baby or infant. You can give prune juice to your baby when he/she is at least 6 months old. But to relieve constipation in infants/newborns (including ages less than 6 months) you can give small quantity of prune juice. This juice will help in quick cure of constipation. Add 1 ounce of prune juice in 1 ounce of distilled/boiled water. Giving 1 teaspoon of this mixture is enough in one day for your little baby. Read detailed article about can i give my infant prune juice for constipation.
What Are Causes of Constipation in Breastfed Infants?
Answer: The normal causes of constipation in breastfed infants include:
- Change in the food of baby. For example if you have included some diet like formula foods, solid foods or some liquids then it may be the cause of hard stools or constipation.
- Sometimes if your breastfed baby is ill, it can also result in baby constipation.
- Dehydration of deficiency of water in the body is another reason of constipation in breastfed babies.
How Much Karo Syrup For Infant Constipation Should Be Given?
Answer: According to doctors you can give 1 tsp of karo syrup (per day) to your 1 month old baby if she/he is suffering from constipation.
What Are Side Effects of Using Karo syrup For Infant Constipation?
Answer: To understand karo syrup for infant constipation side effects it is better to read details about this syrup on official website about karo syrup. It is mentioned on their website that karo syrup has an ingredient/spores called Clostridium botulinum. For some children this may cause issues. I recommend to ask your doctor before giving dark karo syrup to your baby. Read my detailed article about karo syrup for infant constipation side effects.
What To Do For 2 Months Old Infant Constipation?
Answer: For 2 months old infant constipation I recommend prune juice remedy mentioned above. Mix 1 ounce of prune juice in 1 ounce of water. Your remedy is ready.
What is The Best Treatment For Constipation in Breastfed Infants?
Answer: You can use Miralax, coconut oil or prune juice to cure constipation in breastfed infants. All details of these remedies are mentioned in this article, already.
Can I Give Miralax For Infants Constipation?
Answer: Miralax® is a good medicine for your baby if he/she is having persistent constipation. Dissolve one teaspoon of Miralax in one ounce of water and give 1-2 times a day to your baby. Usually within 12-72 hours a bowel movement is produced in the infant. Miralax works by absorbing water from surrounding tissues into the stomach, softens the stools and help in producing bowel movement.
How to Use Coconut Oil For Infant Constipation?
Answer: You can use coconut oil to massage the tummy of baby to relieve constipation. Massage with coconut oil after every 3 hours till the bowel movement is produced.
Other way is to use it with food. Mix 2.5 ml (0.5 teaspoon)of coconut oil (virgin) in the milk bottle of baby. Wait for 5 hours. If bowel movement is not produced, add 5ml (1 teaspoon) of virgin coconut oil into her milk bottle. Make sure to give her good amount of fluids along with this remedy for better and fast results. After 5 hours you can give her another dose if no results are seen. Don’t give her more than 3 teaspoons of coconut oil in one day.
Checkout my detailed article about coconut oil for infant constipation.
Can Gaviscon Medicine Cause Constipation in Infants?
Answer: Gavicson infant is an allopathic medicine often used to cure infants suffering from reflux (gastro-oesophageal reflux). In this condition the food taken by baby is pushed back to mouth again. In this condition gavicson infant prevents Regurgitation of stomach contents. Although this medicine is quite effective, it can cause following side effects in some of babies: