Infant constipation can be a very scary thing for any new parent. While this may seem like a helpless situation, we are here to give you tips on how to get rid of your child’s constipation and how to prevent it from happening as often in the future.
Do not worry that there is something wrong with your child. No matter how old a person is, they are going to experience constipation at some point in their life. It is very rare that this means there is a medical problem going on. Most commonly, it is simply a dietary problem.
Causes of Infant Constipation:
The most common reason for infant constipation is inadequate feeding. You must follow the instructions of a paediatrician when giving feeds to an infant. If your infant is underfed, it can develop constipation.
The 2nd common reason behind infant constipation is use of baby formula. Infants that are breast fed without any supplementation with baby formula don’t usually suffer from constipation. It typically starts when you start transitioning your baby from breast milk to formula or when you start giving him solid foods.
This is because, formula milk is harder to digest, takes more time, keeps infant satisfied for more time and the resulting stools are more firmer.
Rarely, infant constipation is caused by a disease, such as Hirschsprung’s disease, hypothyroidism or cystic fibrosis.
How to Get Rid of Infant Constipation:
Make sure that your baby is getting sufficient milk. Some infants, mostly pre-mature babies, don’t demand for milk by them selves in the first few weeks. So, you must wake them up and give feeds even at night. Usually you should feed your new born infant after every 2 to 3 hours.
Feed your baby exclusively on breast milk alone at least for first 4 to 6 months. But if that’s not possible due to any reason and the infant is on baby formula and has developed constipation then try making the following dietary changes to see if it helps:-
- Honey: Mix two drops of pure honey in milk you prepare for infant and then give it to him. This usually is enough to get your infant to pass stools within few hours. You may use dark corn syrup or fruit juice in place of honey. But I personally like using honey.
- Glucose Water: If honey does not help, then try mixing little glucose in a teaspoon of water and give it to your infant.
- Pureed pears or prunes: For babies that are taking solid foods, you may try giving them pureed pears or prunes. Peas and prunes are high fibre foods that have a laxative effect.
- Glycerin suppositories: If its been above 4 days since your baby’s last bowel movement then it might help to place an infant glycerin suppository into your baby’s anus. This option must be used occasionally when its absolutely necessary.
- Massage: Gentle Massage on stomach (using baby oil) while your baby is trying to pass stool can help him relieve the discomfort and also assist him in passing stool. Use a firm but gentle pressure while massaging the tummy of your child.
If infant constipation persists despite dietary changes or if you notice that your infant is in extreme pain, or your baby is bleeding as they try to take a bowel movement, contact your doctor immediately.