Constipation in babies is very common; it is a normal part of their growth. All babies suffer from constipation at one or another time. Though it is very common but painful and irritating for the baby. Generally, problem of baby constipation is rarely found in breast fed babies; it begins when we started to give them solid food. If your baby seems to be straining while passing stool, that is a sign of baby constipation.
Constipation in babies may be due to different reasons. Some babies are allergic to dairy products or some other type of food like- bread, banana, cereals etc. In the case of milk protein allergy, baby may get constipation even if the milk products such as- yoghurt, cheese etc. are included in mother’s diet. This type of constipation can be controlled easily by applying some changes in diet. Proper diet is the best long term approach to avoid constipation in babies (1) but in the short term something more immediate is needed.
Constipation in newborn babies is a major concern for parents, especially the first-time parents. Most of the times they do not understand what is normal and what is not. If the new born baby is constipated, try to change your baby’s formula mix; sometimes it works. Watch the food you are eating because it definitely affects your baby’s digestion.
In most of the babies, constipation is a temporary condition which gets better within a few days but if it goes on for more than 3-4 days or it happens regularly, you should consult your pediatrician. However, if your child has mild to moderate constipation and he is above 4 months of age, you can try some home remedies.
Home Remedies for Baby Constipation:
1. Increase Liquid Diet:
If your baby is above 4 months of age and has constipation, try to give him additional water in the form of liquid diet. It helps in bowel movement. Cut down the dairy consumption and give her juices like prune juice or apple juice.
Juices are helpful to clear baby constipation, especially apple or prune. But don’t use in excess, as they are not as nutritious and healthy for babies as breast or formula milk. As far as orange juice is concerned, it is acidic and would affect the gut, therefore you should not give it to the babies below one year.
A. Prune Juice to Relieve Baby Constipation:
Prune juice have various beneficial nutrients that works like a natural laxative. (2) It is made from dried plums (prunes) that helps in bowel movement of babies.
But before applying this natural remedy, remember that the age of the infant will not be less than 6 months. For older infants you can give 1 – 2 tablespoon of prune juice with water or pureed prune with a little amount of honey. Dosage of prune juice should contain 25% of prune juice and 75% of water. You can give 2-4 Ounces of dosage according to degree of constipation and age of baby. It is better to speak your pediatrician before giving prune juice.
How to make Prune Juice at Home:
You can make prune juice at home by taking one part of prune and 5 parts of water. Soak the dried prunes in boiled water for 3-4 hours and then blend and filter it. To make purée of prunes, boil the dried prunes after removing seeds; then drain and mash to make purée.
Prune juice is effective in mild constipation only and it takes several hours (20 – 24 hrs) to show results.
B. Apple Juice For Baby Constipation:
If your baby has constipation, give her a little amount of diluted apple juice to relieve constipation. Apple juice contains sugars and liquids that helps in relieving constipation. Do not use more than 2 – 4 ounces of apple juice to your infant in any case.
Please remember, apple juice (not applesauce) is effective in relieving constipation; applesauce may cause constipation. Applesauce is the whole of the fruit that has higher contents of pectin and generally used to stop loose motion of babies.
C. Orange Juice for Baby Constipation:
Orange juice also works well for baby constipation due to its high fiber content. But pure orange juice is acidic and can affect the gut, therefore not advisable for the babies below one year. If your baby is older and has constipation, try to give diluted orange juice (five parts water and one part juice) between meals.
2. Fruits and Vegetables:
If your baby has constipation due to eating solids, include more fruit and vegetables to his or her diet. Prunes, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, peas and spinach contain high fiber that make stools softer. You can try pureed peas or prunes, which contain more fiber in comparison to other fruits and vegetables. Similarly, give them whole wheat, barley, oatmeal or multigrain cereals, which contain more fiber in comparison to rice cereal.
You should avoid to give food like banana, rice cereal and applesauce to the babies who are just beginning solid foods because that may aggravate constipation. You can give him barley or oatmeal cereals.
Citrus fruits such as orange, pineapple, grapes are not safe for the infants below the age of 9 months, therefore better to avoid them. Few good fruits/ veggies for babies constipation are –
A. Apricots For Baby Constipation:
Apricots (khubani in Hindi) are great source of nutrition for babies that also help in constipation. They are high in Beta Carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin C and Lycopene. If your baby is of about the age of 6 months and above, you can introduce her apricot. Fresh apricots are best option but if you are giving dried apricots, make sure that they don’t contain sulfur.
B. Juice of Cabbage for Baby Constipation:
Cabbage is extremely rich in fiber and very helpful in relieving constipation. If your baby is constipated, you can give him diluted juice of cabbage; it helps in bowel movement. Dosage of cabbage juice should contain 25% of juice and 75% of water. You can give 2-4 ounces of dosage according to degree of constipation and age of infant. It is better to speak your pediatrician before giving cabbage juice to relieve constipation.
If your child is above 3 years, you can feed cabbage cooked with rice. It will help to ease the problem of baby constipation.
3. Isabgol for Baby Constipation:
Psyllium husk (isabgol in Hindi) is a common supplement which is full of soluble fiber. It is quite good and safe in relieving constipation in case of kids and children too. Isabgol increases the amount of bulk in stools that promotes movement through the intestines. If your baby has constipation (who started to take solid food), give him a little amount of isabgol mixed with a little warm milk and a pinch of sugar. Dosage may vary according to age and degree of constipation; speak to your pediatrician before giving isabgol to your baby for the dosage.
Another way of giving psyllium husk is by soaking and mixing in food. Simply, soak 1 spoon of Isabgol in 1 cup of water and let it blow a bit till it becomes slimy. Feed 1-2 spoon of Isabgol liquid in all the food that you give to your infant.
4. Terminalia Chebula for Baby Constipation:
Harad or Terminalia Chebula is a quickest and the easiest natural home remedy for baby constipation. Simply, rub a little Terminalia chebula (chhoti Harad in Hindi) on a rough surface of clean rolling base with water (rub harad only 3 – 4 round with water for the infant above 6 months to 1 year). Now take it in a spoon and lick it to your baby.
Likewise, you can give Yellow chebulic myrobalan (badi harad in Hindi) also to babies for constipation. Simply, rub one yellow chebulic myrobalan on a rough surface with some water for 3 – 4 times. The water became light brownish. Put this water in a spoon and ingest it to the small child or infant.
5. Water of Raisin or Black Currant:
Raisins (Munakka in Hindi) or black currant is very good for baby constipation. Soak 10-12 washed raisins in a half cup of hot water for 4-5 hours. Mash it thoroughly and strain it to get liquid (remove the pith). Then, ingest it to your infant (2 tsp), who has started to get solid food, for 2 -3 times in a day. Dosage may vary according to age and degree of constipation. Better to speak to your child specialist before giving it to your baby for the dosage.
6. Papaya for Baby Constipation:
If your baby is older, you can try papaya to relieve constipation. Papaya is a good natural laxative; you can feed it to your kid by grating it to make pulp. If child is older, you can give him by cutting into pieces. Though it is a fruit and is not harmful but because of its laxative contents avoid to give below one year. It is better to ask your doctor before applying this remedy.
Small Tips for Baby Constipation:
Constipation is a temporary condition in most of the babies who started to get solid food; you can avoid it by following below tips :
- Giving more water at regular intervals helps in relieving constipation in babies.
- Give high fiber food (3) to your baby such as puree of vegetables and fruits. If baby is old enough, you can give raw fruits too.
- Give whole grains, like- whole wheat porridge (dalia) etc.
- If your baby is straining while passing stool, massage over baby’s tummy by placing hand on his belly button in a bigger circles (clockwise). (Don’t press too hard).
- Movement speeds up digestion. If your baby isn’t walking yet, leg bicycles and other movements may be helpful instead of walks.
(Leg Bicycle – Place your baby on her back and lightly hold her legs in a half-bent position. Gently begin to move your baby’s legs as if she is riding a bicycle.)
Constipation in babies is usually a temporary condition which gets better within a few days, but if it goes on for more than 3-4 days or it happens regularly, you should speak to your baby’s doctor.
All the home remedies are given here for the purpose of knowledge only. It is neither to be construed as a diagnosis or treatment, nor to be considered as a substitute for medical care from a doctor. Remember to consult your doctor before trying these natural remedies. Do not give any suppository to baby without doctor’s advice.