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Constipation is a serious problem for some children, normal bowel movements in infants occur 4-5 times per day in the period directly after birth, and these should be soft stools, which easily pass through the digestive system. It is important to recognize the symptoms of constipation because babies often resist passing hard or painful stools, which only exacerbates the problem. There are a number of home remedies that many people find helpful, such as the following.
Switch from breastfeeding to formula or processed foods can be disruptive to your child’s system and cause it to become constipated. Different types of formula or processed foods can affect children differently, so try a variety to find the right one.
Babies must also stay properly hydrated, particularly after they stop breastfeeding. Overly active children become dehydrated more quickly, so they should be given extra water or diluted juice every day to stimulate healthy bowel movements.
A proper diet of fruits and fiber-rich vegetables, particularly once they have stopped breast-feeding is essential to healthy bowel movements. Adding fibrous foods into their diet can be a quick fix for this common reason for constipation in infants.
Mix ½ teaspoon of sugar in an ounce of water. Give this solution to your baby thrice a day before feeding him/her formula food. Instead of white sugar, it is recommended to use brown sugar for preparing this solution.
Prunes and prune juice contain high levels of fiber, which will help to bulk up stool content and promote its passage through the digestive tract. Also, they are mild sources of sorbitol, which is a colonic stimulant and will help the creation and release of bowel movements. Give your baby a solution of 3 parts water with 1 part prune juice in a bottle and mix thoroughly.
Warm water bath helps to relax muscles all over the body, but for constipated babies, it can relax the rectal muscles that have been tensed from the pain of constipation. The baking soda (approximately 2-3 teaspoons in the bathwater) can further soothe the child into having a bowel movement.
As a short term solution for constipation, milk of magnesia can be added in small amounts (1 teaspoon) to the baby’s bottle. Milk of magnesia forces the colon to slightly distend and absorb water from the body, causing the muscles to contract and release a loose stool. However, this should not be done on a regular basis, as it is dehydrating and can cause dangerous electrolyte imbalances.
For infants, bouncing and rocking can sometimes stimulate a bowel movement. Rubbing their stomach and giving abdominal massage can sometimes help as well, by manually stimulating peristaltic motion in the child.
One of the best natural solutions for constipation is the addition of psyllium husks, more commonly known as bran flakes, to the baby’s soft foods. This high-fiber stool softener should stimulate the bulking up of the bowel movements that will stimulate a bowel movement.
Gently massage the stomach of your baby, in a clockwise direction with the help of your fingertips. Massage around the navel as well, in an outward, spherical motion. It will eradicate the tension out of your baby’s tummy and give him/her relief from the symptoms of constipation.
Soak 5-6 raisins in water and keep them soaked for the whole night. Crush them well the next day. Strain it. Give the raisin liquid to regulate the bowel movement of the child.
Castor is the most commonly used remedy for relieving constipation in kids. Take a betel leaf and dip its stalk in castor oil. Introduce it in the rectum of the baby. If your child is more than 2 years old, give a mixture of castor oil (1 teaspoon) in a glass of milk. Adjust the dose as per the age of the child.
It is very important to be observant of your child’s diet and behavior to determine the cause of the constipation. Also, due to the inability to properly communicate their distress, it is a good idea to see a doctor before beginning any at home treatments of constipation, just to be sure that there is not a more serious problem.
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Check out our expert’s views on what causes the problem and how to help your child feel better.
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