The average baby goes through as many as 3,000 diapers during their first year. And when your little one is having trouble with their bowel movements, it can seem like your whole world has stopped because your baby is stopped up.
Constipation in babies is usually common and curable. Constipation can make your baby feel uncomfortable and often cry because of the pain. While it is normal for a baby that is exclusively breastfed not to pass stool every day during the first six months, children who are older might be having a tough time.
If this problem persists, don’t reach for the nearest baby laxative — try some herbal and natural remedies to relieve constipation instead. But first, always find out the underlying cause of your child’s constipation before finding a solution.
What Makes Your Child Constipated?
If your baby is only breastfeeding, then it is perfectly normal to not have a bowel movement every day. On the other hand, formula-fed babies have three to four bowel movements in a day.
To understand the reasons for constipation in babies, you have to understand that disturbed bowel movements depend upon many factors like:
- Type of milk you are feeding your baby
- The introduction of solid foods
- Any specific food you have introduced to your baby recently
- Medications your baby may be taking
- Low water level: If your baby is suffering from cold, cough, throat infection, teething-like problems, then the water level in their body reduces drastically, which can result in constipation.
If your baby is at the age where he or she can start eating solid foods, the following foods can cause constipation in your child as well:
- Cow’s milk, cheese and ice cream are known as constipating foods
- High-fat foods may slow digestion and trigger constipation
- Rice/rice cereal
Here are some reasons why your baby is constipated when breastfeeding:
- Baby doesn’t have sufficient milk supply
- Baby doesn’t get sufficient water through mother’s milk
- Due to weather, the baby is not getting sufficient water to his or her body
Along with keeping you and your little one hydrated to subside your child’s constipation, try following these simple natural remedies to make sure your loved one’s bowel movement stays regular.
Natural Remedies for Constipation in Children
- Prune Juice: One of the most effective solutions to treat constipation in babies and kids, prune juice is a natural laxative that helps your baby promote soft stool that is easy to pass. You can use this remedy for children older than 6 months, but if they are younger make sure to consult your pediatrician first.
- Raisins: Raisins are one of the easiest to use home remedies in treating constipation problems because they are a good source of minerals like calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. This remedy is recommended for children over 1 year. If younger, raisins can be added to water and blended and consumed.
- Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a natural laxative that helps to relieve difficulty in pooping and irregular bowel movements. You can try to give 2 ml of virgin coconut oil in baby’s diet to loosen the stool, or you can apply a small amount to your baby’s anus for instant relief that will encourage your baby to poop. A small amount can be taken by children over 6 months and can be rubbed on their bottom for babies younger than 6 months.
- Tomato: Tomatoes are known for their laxative abilities too. Give tomato juice to your child in their daily diet to maintain healthy bowel movements. This remedy is intended for children older than 6 months.
- Papaya: Fruits like papaya are natural laxatives. Papayas aid in regular bowel movements, help to improve the digestion system and prevent constipation problems. Your child can either eat papaya or drink it in a smoothie, but it is only recommended for children over 6 months.
- Pear Juice: Pear juice is an effective way to treat constipation in kids. Pear juice is high in pectin and dietary fiber, which helps to improve the bowel movements. A pear can be added with water and consumed by children who are older than 4 months.
- Warm Bath: Fill a tub with lukewarm water, let your baby sit in this water for 15-20 minutes. The warmth of water relaxes the anal muscles and helps to produce a bowel movement.
- Stomach Massage: An effective method for relief from constipation, stomach massages help reduce discomfort and pain and gives the relaxation from tummy tightness. Gently massage the baby’s belly with mustard oil or coconut oil in a clockwise direction. Pressure should be very light. This remedy can be used for babies as old as 4 weeks.
Before choosing the best remedy to help your child pass their bowel movements, make sure you speak to a doctor or pediatrician first to ensure that doing so would be the right decision for your child.