If your baby is constipated, you can give her prunes to produce a bowel movement. While you should always talk with her pediatrician for treatment specific to her condition, adding prunes to her meal plan can help bowel function and prevent future bouts of constipation. Prune baby food may also be an effective product for older children and even adults who are having difficulty with bowel movements.
Symptoms of constipation in babies include straining to have a bowel movement, hard stools and less than three bowel movements in a week. FamilyDoctor.org explains that causes of constipation in babies include a lack of fluids, a diet that doesn't include enough fiber and switching to a diet that contains more solid food and less breast milk or formula. Some illnesses and medications can also produce difficulty with bowel movements.
Why Prunes Help
Prunes alone may not cause a bowel movement, but when included in a well-balanced diet may produce results. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, baby food prunes contain fiber, with nearly 2 grams per 2 1/2 ounce jar, which aids in digestion and moving waste through the intestines for elimination. They also have a high water content, with nearly 53 grams of water per 2 1/2 ounce jar, which is about 71 grams. Fluids help soften a baby's stool, which makes it easier to pass.
Feeding your baby a jar of prunes is a simple and easy way to incorporate them into his diet. However, if he doesn't like the taste, you will have to be creative. Try mixing prunes with other types of fruit that he does enjoy or stir some into his oatmeal or rice cereal. Spread prunes on toast or peanut butter sandwiches as an alternative to jelly if your baby is eating table foods. For older children and adults, try putting baby food prunes in bread and muffin recipes or add them to a fruit smoothie.
Most cases of constipation are not chronic and only require treatment at home, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. However, if constipation is chronic or lasts for more than a few days, call the doctor for advice. Blood in the stool, a loss of appetite, pain while attempting to pass a bowel movement and very hard and small stools are indications that your baby should see her pediatrician. He may recommend a suppository or enema treatment to help move things along and get your baby back to a normal bowel pattern. Older children may benefit from adding prunes to their meal plans, but a regular bathroom routine and a reward chart are other recommendations that could help.