Being unable to pass stool and experiencing pain while passing stool that is hard as a stone is termed as constipation. Constipation is a very common problem in babies but they suffer more than adults as they are unable to voice their pain, except for crying. It takes mothers a while to decipher that the baby is suffering from constipation. Constipation in babies is one of the most common problems that mothers have to deal with. Take a look at these easy home remedies for constipation in babies.
When my daughter used to get constipated, she would cry for hours and it was very difficult to calm her. As a new mother, I used to get really scared and I would frantically check each and everything – the diaper, her body for rashes, and clothes if they are tight. I would try feeding her as I thought she might be hungry. I could not bear to see her in pain.
It was only after my mother-in-law guided me that she has constipation. She massaged her tummy and applied ghee on her anus. Once she was calm, I heaved a sigh of relief. My mother-in-law also told me a few things about constipation in babies.
Till the first six months of age, when babies are breastfed exclusively, they may not pass stool every day and this is completely normal. Babies who are formula fed may pass stool 2-3 times a day. Once you start giving solids to your baby, constipation becomes a common occurrence. Constipation in babies can happen due to various reasons. Let’s take a look.
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From my experiences, I have learned that constipation in babies can happen due to the following reasons:
As mentioned above, exclusive breastfeeding often leads to constipation. Some formula powders can also make your baby pass a hard stool.
Introduction of solid foods can also cause constipation in babies. Making your baby eat less fiber and foods such as apple, banana, carrots, and rice can also cause it.
Consuming less water and liquids makes the stool hard. Babies suffering from cold, cough, and teething issues can also suffer from constipation as the water level in the body gets reduced considerably during this time.
Here are the signs which indicate that your baby is constipated:
A mother can’t see her baby in pain. So, as soon as you’re sure that your baby is constipated, you can try these home remedies for constipation in babies, some of which I have tried for my child as well:
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Gently massage the baby’s abdomen with coconut oil or ghee in circular movements. Regular massage can help to facilitate bowel movement in the baby. You can also lay your baby on his back and move his legs in a cycling motion. This helps to loosen the intestines and aids in passing stool.
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Giving a sitz bath to your constipated baby can be extremely relaxing. A sitz bath helps to cleanse and relax the rectum. Just take a small tub and fill it with lukewarm water. Make your baby place his bottom in the tub and let him sit for 15-20 minutes. The warmth of the water helps to relax the baby and aids in bowel movement.
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Put some coconut oil/ghee on your baby’s anus. Oiling the anus helps the child to have a bowel movement. You can do this every time you change the diaper.
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If your baby is on breastfeed then you should drink lots of liquids and water so that the baby gets enough water. Once your baby turns 6 months old, you must give enough water to your baby. You can give water in a milk bottle, with a spoon and later, the child can drink water from a sippy cup. Once the baby is 6 months old, you can give 20-30 ml of water during a day. After 1 year of age, your baby needs at least 1 liter of water in a day.
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Prune juice is a natural laxative and helps to relieve constipation in babies. The sweet taste of prune juice is instantly liked by babies and can be given to the baby after 6 months of age. This juice might take upto a few hours to show results but if it has already been a few days since your baby has been constipated, it might not be very useful.
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Although apples and applesauce are known to cause constipation; however, apple juice has the reverse effect. A small amount of apple juice can help to relieve your baby’s constipation. Apple juice can be made a part of your child’s diet after 6 months of age.
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Honey with lukewarm water works wonders to relieve constipation after your baby is one year old. My friend told me about this remedy when my daughter was constipated. Just one teaspoon of honey with lukewarm water every night before bedtime can do the trick!
Note: Honey is not recommended for babies below 1 year of age.
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Fennel water is highly effective in curing constipation after 6 months of age. Just boil 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds with 1 cup of water, let it cool down. You can give 3-4 teaspoons of fennel water to your baby thrice a day to treat the constipation.
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Tomatoes are very helpful in relieving baby constipation. You can give tomato juice to your baby after 6 months of age. Just cut a small tomato into small pieces and boil with a cup of water. Strain the concoction and give 3-4 spoons of this juice to the baby once a day.
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When you’re trying to increase your child’s fluid intake, he/she might not want to drink plain water each time. Diluted orange juice can be given to the baby after 6 months of age to help facilitate bowel movement.
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Papaya is extremely beneficial for the digestive system and acts as a natural laxative. It contains natural dietary fiber which helps to regulate bowel movements in babies.
Also Read: Is Homeopathy safe for Babies?
Although most babies will benefit from the above remedies, but if your child doesn’t get relief from them, consult your pediatrician immediately so that he can investigate the problem further.
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