March 17, 2022March 17, 2022 | 12:00 pm
A new mother may get worked up when her baby stops passing stool for a couple of days. But the truth is this is a rather common phenomenon amongst infants. It is quite normal for babies to suddenly stop passing stool for almost a week at times. But to relieve him of constipation, there are some easy and effective things you could try at home:
- Exercise: Did you know that moving your baby’s legs can help him pass stool? Just like it is with grownups, bowel movements become regularized and smoother when the body is made to exercise. Movements will ensure that muscles contract and expand freely, but in the case of babies which are not yet crawling, there is less movement. You can however help them stretch their limbs to give them some sort of an exercise.
- Diet changes: Just like with adults, diet changes are most effective for relieving constipation in infants. If you are breastfeeding your infant you can eliminate dairy foods from his meals. Usually, you have to follow a trial-and-error method to identify which foods can help with constipation and which foods are probably causing it. If your baby is formula –fed and suffering from constipation, you could try switching to a new formula feed.
- Warm bath: If your baby has been constipated for a while, why not give her a quick warm bath to help relax her abdominal muscles? This can give some relief to your child and facilitate smooth bowel movements.
- Give fibrous foods: When your baby has started to eat solid foods, you could introduce fiber-rich foods in the diet. For instance, many veggies and fruits stimulate bowel movements as these are loaded with fibers, like broccoli, skinless apples, pears, peaches, plums, etc.
- Hydrate them: While infants usually do not require liquids when they are being breastfed, they can always benefit from some supplementary liquids. So, you can ask your doctor and add a little water to her fruit juice if she is feeling constipated.
- Massage: Did you know that massaging your baby’s tummy can help her pass stool? You can use your fingertips to make circle-like motions on the stomach or hold the infant’s knees and her feet together and try pushing the feet towards her belly.
- Add juices to diet: Fruit juices can be very effective in relieving constipation amongst young infants. For instance, even a small quantity of apple juice can work wonders. Ideally, you should start her off with less than 4 ounces because sugar in the juice can be hard to digest. Prune juice is very useful for treating constipation because these are natural laxatives.
- Use pureed foods: When your baby is above 6 months of age, you can start her on pureed foods that are easy to digest. These foods, especially when you use vegetables and fruits, can stimulate bowel movements faster.
- Suppository: When home remedies do not work, you can try a glycerin suppository. This eases your baby’s bowel movements, especially if she has a tendency to get an anal tear after passing hard stools. Even over-the-counter laxatives are available for babies but it is best to consult a doctor before using these.
- Brown sugar: Interestingly, brown sugar solution is found to be rather effective for relieving constipation. You must however give it to your baby only twice in a day and preferably choose palm sugar, not the white refined one.