Home remedies for constipation in babies
New parents and new babies are always in great confusion. The babies cry for the slightest of disturbances and the parents are clueless about such cries and can never find a solution. Hunger, dirty diaper, sleep and stomach pain are the main reasons why babies cry. Stomach ache and constipation often go unnoticed by the parents and when the intensity increases, babies panic. Newborns and babies below 12months of age must not be treated with too many medical drugs. Exceptional cases like high fever or other health complications require medication but otherwise, healthy and active babies can be treated with simple home remedies for gas and constipation.
Why do babies constipate?
- Excessive milk intake
- Fewer intestinal bacteria that help in pushing stools
- Mother’s change in diet if the baby is breastfeeding. Too much dairy content in food can be the culprit.
Remedies to ease constipation
1. Give plenty of water – Lack of body fluids cause severe dehydration and affect the digestion process. The intestines too require water to push the stools out. When a baby is constipated, boil some water and cool it down. Feed this water at regular intervals. Babies below the age of six months require very tiny amounts. Use a spoon to feed water until the baby passes the stool.
2. Diluted fruit juice – If your baby has started solids, then diluted fruit juice can work wonders on constipation and gas. Prune or orange juice can be made in a blender without adding sugar. Dilute it by adding 20ml water for every 40ml juice and feed the baby. Prunes, apples, oranges and pears contain sugars that are poorly absorbed by the intestines. They stay in poop and make it watery thus clearing the bowels. Do not give bananas to a constipated baby. They will only make matters worse.
3. Castor oil massage – Earlier, castor oil was a great laxative that was used by babies and adults alike to treat constipation. Warm up some castor oil and massage it on the baby’s tummy in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. You can also apply some oil near the rectum to ease muscle stiffness and let the poop pass. Exercise caution while applying oil near the rectum. Do not push much oil but just dab it around the excretory canal.
4. Change the formula brand – Many babies are fed with formula milk for various reasons. Formulae that contain iron and high casein are hard to digest and end up sitting in the stomach for longer durations. If your baby is on formula and is getting constipated very frequently, time to shift to another brand that is devoid of iron and high milk protein. The same formula can be used to provide instant relief for a badly constipated baby. Dilute the formula milk by adding more water and less milk powder and feed the baby. High water content will clear gas and move the bowels quickly.
5. Warm bath – Give a warm bath to a constipated baby and lightly foment his tummy with warm water. That will get things moving and helps pass stools. You can also exercise his legs in a bicycle motion to massage his abdomen and push the gas out just before giving a bath.
6. Sugar water – Many mothers and grandmothers vouch that nothing works like sugar water for a constipated baby. Feed some sugar water if your baby seems to be crying and struggling to push poop out. Sugar draws water from the body and sends it to the intestines to clear bowels. In fact many laxatives are based on sugar content and that is the reason they work well for a tight tummy.