You must be worried sick that your baby has been suffering from constipation for the last couple of days. It’s quite common for babies to get constipation and it can be cured quite easily. But you have to be able to differentiate between constipation and irregular bowel movement in your baby. We’ll discuss how to relieve constipation in babies quickly in this article.
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, chances are that your baby isn’t pooping every day. The problem generally starts after six months when the baby learns to consume solid food along with breastmilk. It’s during this time that your baby needs to have a proper gut balance. You can identify this by looking at the regularity of the baby’s bowel movement. Also, the frequency of your baby’s bowel movement depends on your baby’s age, what he’s consuming, and a lot of other factors. Stay with us to know all about infant constipation relief and preventing future constipation in your baby.
How to Identify Constipation in Babies?
A baby’s bowel movement can be pretty unpredictable since the baby digestive system requires time to develop. Breastfed infants may not have a bowel movement every day and it’s still normal. Babies who consume good quality comfort formulas may have a bowel movement every other day or have several bowel movements in a single day. Baby formulas for digestive problems may not be always effective. You can identify constipation in your baby. Look out for these symptoms.
1. Irregular Bowel Movement
As you introduce your baby to new food items, his bowel movement will fluctuate more and more. If your baby goes several days without any bowel movement but the stool is hard when he finally does, your baby may be suffering from constipation. You can identify constipation not by the bowel movement frequency but by the bowel movement consistency. There are also baby digestive problems at night since the baby lies flat and more air gets to his stomach than normal.
2. Straining During Bowel Movement
A very prominent sign of constipation in your child is straining. Constipated babies feel strain during bowel movement and produce hard stools that look like clay. The baby is usually fussy and cries a lot when he poops.
3. Bloody Stool
Your baby is constipated if you find red blood streak(s) on his stool. Bloody stool occurs when the baby pushes the stool very hard and this causes little tears in the anal walls.
4. Tight Belly
A tight belly is another sign that your baby is constipated. The baby’s belly gets stiff when there’s too much pressure and swelling in the baby’s stomach due to constipation.
5. Refuses to Eat
If your baby is constipated, he’ll get full more quickly. The discomfort caused by constipation also makes him refuse to eat.
Reasons for Baby Constipation
We’ve talked about the symptoms of constipation but what causes it? The main reason is several baby digestive system problems but it can’t be simply pinned down to this one problem. Here are all the reasons a baby can be constipated:
- The baby is dehydrated
- The type of milk the baby is consuming is not suiting him
- You’ve recently introduced your baby to solid food
- The reduction of water level in the baby’s body due to illnesses like cold, throat infection, cough, etc
- Certain medications like iron-rich supplements and medication for pain cause constipation in babies
- A sudden change in baby’s diet or the diet of the breastfeeding mother
- If the baby is premature, it’s more likely to get constipated than the full-term babies. The baby’s immature digestive system hasn’t developed yet, so the food isn’t processed normally
How to Cure Baby Constipation?
Constipation in babies primarily occurs due to baby digestion problem. There are several ways you can cure constipation in your baby. Following are some of the methods of how to relieve constipation in babies quickly.
1. Proper Water Consumption
Since dehydration is one of the main causes of constipation, you have to make sure your baby is getting enough water besides the breast milk or formulas he’s having. Add 2-4 ounces of water after each meal to the baby’s diet to keep the baby constantly hydrated. If you’re wondering how to ease constipation for newborns, try out this solution first.
2. Correct Fruit Consumption
If you want to know how to relieve constipation naturally and quickly, you can go with fruit preparations for babies. Since your baby can’t consume fruits in solid forms, you’ll have to give them in liquid form. If you’re thinking about how to treat constipation at home, this section is for you since it includes items that you can easily prepare at home.
a. Apple Juice
Apples contain a fiber named pectin which is water soluble and has a laxative effect. If you introduce apple juice to your constipated baby, the stool will slowly soften and pass through easily. Don’t overdo on the apple juice since it may become rather harmful to the constipation problem. Give apple juice to your baby while keeping the measurement between 2-4 ounces.
b. Prune Juice
One of the most effective, if not the most effective, methods of treating constipation is with prune juice. Prune is a natural laxative and it softens baby stool in 4-5 hours. You might need to consult a pediatrician before giving your baby prune juice if he’s below 6 months of age.
Babies who are aged over 6 months get extremely benefitted from tomato juice during constipation. It smooths the bowel.
- Boil a tomato by adding a cup of water
- Let the mixture cool down and then strain
- Only give 3-4 spoons of this tomato juice to your baby per day to get rid of and avoid constipation
Papaya is also a natural laxative due to its high fiber content and plays an important part in getting rid of constipation. It helps in the improvement of the digestive system which in turn cures and prevents constipation. You can give papaya pulp, papaya smoothie or papaya salad to your baby. It’s suggested that you only use this fruit for treating constipation if your baby is more than 6 months old.
e. Pear Juice
If you’re wondering how to relieve constipation fast, you can try this method out. Pears have high pectin and other fiber content which are great for bowel movement improvement in babies. Pear juice can be made by simply grating and pressing pears. Always add the same amount of water as the amount of pear juice you’re using to dilute the mixture. If your baby is more than 4 months old, give this mixture when during his constipation.
3. High-Fiber Foods
Are you asking about how to treat chronic constipation? Increase the intake of fiber content in your baby’s diet, so chronic constipation doesn’t occur in the first place and your baby can battle it even if it does. Foods that are rich in fiber helps to maintain a good digestive system and smoothen the hard stool. You can add these foods to your baby’s daily diet to increase your newborn baby’s fiber intake:
- Whole grain foods, rice, wheat bread
- Beans, broccoli, lentils, peas
- Flaxseed smoothies
- Quinoa, barley
These foods help relieve constipation in babies but if the mother also consumes a lot of high fiber food daily during breastfeeding, it would be even better.
4. A Little Exercise
“Bicycle legs” is a great exercise for your little child. A little movement or exercise loosens the tight intestine. If your baby can crawl, encourage crawling around the house. But if he’s younger, perform this simple exercise to free him from some of the abdominal pressure:
- Lie the baby down on his back
- Lift both of his legs up and start moving them in a pedaling/circular motion
- Perform this exercise slowly but maintain consistency
5. Try Out Different Baby Formulas
All babies need formulas but they react differently to different formulas. This is because of the ingredients used in making those formulas. Some babies can’t tolerate some of those ingredients. They react in various ways and constipation is one of them. Try switching between formulas every now and then to get to the perfect one for your baby. Make sure you’re opting for a formula that suits your baby and then stick with that formula as long as you can.
Occasionally massage on your baby’s lower abdomen and stomach. This helps to stimulate the bowel movement. For this massage,
- Put the baby on his back
- Gently put your hand on his belly button
- Use a clockwise motion for massaging his belly
- Start with the belly button area and slowly spread the area of massage
7. Warm Bath
A warm bath soothes the tensed muscles of the body. It works well in constipation too since the warmth works as a relaxant for the anal muscles. You have to be very careful with the warmth of the water. Pour lukewarm water on the tub. You can add baking soda (1-2 tsp) to the water if you wish to. Baking soda will relieve the baby from any kind of itching or pain borne out of constipation. Bathe the baby in water for around 15-20 minutes.
If you’re still looking for a way to know how to ease constipation in babies, anal lubricants might help with the discomfort of constipation. You can use a herbal or an organic lubricant or lubricating the anus. Most of these lubricants are water-based and they’re mostly safe to use. But we suggest that you consult a pediatrician before applying them to your baby. You can rub the lubricant to your baby’s anus while changing his diaper and gently wipe it. You can use organic olive oil, mustard oil or coconut oil as a lubricant.
Now you know all about how to relieve constipation in babies quickly. These methods almost always work effectively. If you’re looking for a solution of how to relieve severe constipation, you can choose a glycerin suppository or a laxative. Consult a pediatrician before you go for any suppository or laxative since the dosage varies according to the age of the baby. For preventing constipation in your baby, you can integrate the cures for constipation with the baby’s regular diet.