Constipation is a common problem for babies because they have immature digestive systems. Constipation has many causes, including dehydration when the body absorbs fluid from the bowels. It can also occur as a result of a new diet, such as with a baby who is starting to eat solid food. Every baby has a different schedule, but signs of constipation include less bowel movements than normal and hard and pebbly stools. A baby may also look like she is in pain while trying to have a bowel movement. Fortunately, there are some home remedies that can have her bowels moving properly.
According to BabyCenter.com, breast milk is less likely to cause constipation because its nutrients are easily absorbed for a baby. Certain formulas may cause constipation due to an imperfect balance of fat and protein for a particular baby. Some formulas are also made with soy, which can cause constipation. Simply switching the brand or type of formula can ease a baby’s constipation and move bowels along.
For older babies who are beginning to eat solids, some foods act as natural laxatives and can relieve constipation. According to Dr. Sears website, apricots, prunes, pears, plums and peaches are all natural laxatives. Fiber is an important ingredient for moving bowels, and pears, prunes, barley and bran cereals have high levels of fiber as well. Some baby foods even have extra fiber added to them. Feeding a baby smaller amounts of food more often might also help relieve constipation by not overloading the digestive system.
Natural food laxatives can be given in liquid form as well. Babies may be given one tablespoon of diluted prune juice, and prune and apple juice can be mixed into cereal. One teaspoon a day of flax oil can be given as a natural laxative as well. Increasing fluids like juice and water, by adding in an extra two ounces a day, can help relieve constipation. However, very young babies might not be able to have juice and a doctor should be consulted before giving a baby too many liquids.
Movement and Massage
Simply moving around can remedy constipation by encouraging bowels to move along the digestive tract. Babies who are crawling can be encouraged to crawl further and for longer periods of time. Stomach massages can push bowels through as well. An adult can apply a firm and gentle pressure underneath the baby’s navel and massage in a circular motion for approximately three minutes.