What is Infant Constipation?
Infant Constipation is characterized by a condition in which infants tend to pass dry and hard stools. The stools become harder when held within the body for a longer time. It is a common problem when switching from breast feeding to complementary foods.
Contrary to the popular belief, reduction in the frequency of stools is not a reliable sign of Infant Constipation. In fact, it is normal for babies to pass stools even once in every three days. Basically, the frequency of stools normally reduces to some extent as the child’s digestive system matures.
As this troublesome condition is common in children, parents often try to get rid of this problem with the help of natural home remedies for Infant Constipation because these natural remedies are readily available and easy to follow.
Moreover, use of artificial laxatives and enemas should be avoided as far as possible. In severe cases, however, concerned parents should definitely seek the advice of a qualified doctor.
Causes and Symptoms of Infant Constipation
Basically, when babies are breastfed, they usually pass soft and runny stools. The stool tends to become paste-like in case of bottle fed babies and finally it becomes even more firm after the introduction of solid food.
Although, as the baby’s digestive system is not used to digesting complex foods, introduction of different types of foods in the diet can give rise to Infant Constipation. Moreover, change in the type of formula food being fed to the baby can also result in the same. Breastfed infants are less likely to suffer from constipation.
At times, increasing the amount of solid food in a baby’s diet also causes Infant Constipation. Factors like food allergies, less fiber in the diet, less consumption of water and intake of certain medications like antibiotics, iron supplements and certain pain killers also contribute in causing this problem. Obstruction in the lower gastrointestinal tract can also cause this constipation in some infants.
The most important symptom of Infant Constipation is the passage of dry, firm and hard stools. Consequently, the process of defecation tends to be painful for the baby. The condition is also accompanied by straining, abdominal discomfort and decreased appetite.
Natural Home Remedies for Infant Constipation
• Fruit juices such as apple juice, pear juice and prune juice are regarded as the best home remedies for Infant Constipation. Apple juice, in particular, serves as a natural mild laxative.
Feed moderate amount of juices diluted in water as consumption of concentrated juices can give rise to issues like gas, bloating and diarrhea. This juice therapy for curing Infant Constipation is usually not recommended for infants less than three months of age.
• Warm baths and tummy massages in clockwise direction are highly beneficial in reducing this problem to some extent. Moving the baby’s legs in bicycle motion is also useful in relieving the pressure.
• Giving the baby a solution of an ounce of water mixed with half a teaspoon of sugar is one of the most popular Infant Constipation home remedies. The baby should be given this solution three times in a day before feeding formula food. Prefer brown sugar instead of white sugar to prepare this home remedy.
• A combination of one teaspoon of corn syrup and four ounces of water can also be used in the same way as an effective home treatment for Infant Constipation. It can also be added in the formula bottle.
However, care should be taken to follow only one of these natural cures, that is, either the sugar solution or the corn syrup remedy. Plus, use cooled boiled water for this purpose.
Diet for Infant Constipation
In terms of diet, consumption of foods like banana (particularly unripe bananas), potato, rice cereal, applesauce etc is often associated with Infant Constipation as these foods tend to produce harder stools in children. On the other hand, foods such as plums, pears, peaches, prunes, apricots and peas encourage the production of softer stools.
Therefore, the perfect diet to prevent and cure Infant Constipation should be aimed at striking a balance between these foods. It is often recommended to replace rice cereal with barley or oatmeal cereal when dealing with Infant Constipation.
Plus, try to feed porridge and fruit and vegetable purees to four to six month old babies to prevent constipation in babies. These foods along with the consumption of adequate water and fruit juices make for excellent home remedies for Infant Constipation natural treatment.