Being a mommy means that you have to be attentive to your child’s needs and habits. There are times when the baby stops having regular bowel movements and this is a sign that they are constipated. Note that every child has their own pattern when it comes to bowel movements so it’s very easy for a parent to notice new changes.
A common symptom of constipation is irregular bowel movements alongside hard and pellet-like feces. This condition is normally caused by a change in diet, potty training, change in environment, or lack of fiber in the baby’s diet. Whether you are a new or veteran mom, these symptoms shouldn’t make you panic. There are various ways of alleviating constipation in babies and they include:
1. Tummy Massage
Massaging the baby’s tummy helps to ease stomach discomfort and promote regular bowel movements. In case your baby is suffering from constipation, put them down on the back and place your hand on their belly button. Thereafter, give them massages in a clockwise motion. The bigger the circle of motion the more effective the massaging will be.
Note: During the massaging process, the baby will always give you cues. As a result, you will be able to know how much pressure you need to use. In case they begin to cry or fuss around, know that you are applying a lot of pressure which is making them uncomfortable.
2. Give Them Lots of Water and Fluids
This is an all-time favorite and also one of the most effective methods of alleviating constipation discomfort. It doesn’t matter if the baby is being bottle-fed or breastfed, water helps to improve bowel movements. In case your young one is displaying signs of constipation, give them 2-4 ounces of water after every feeding session and within hours, you will notice that they are able to flush their bowels properly.
Fruit juice is also good because it contains a natural laxative. Give them 2 or 3 ounces of apple or pear juice to relieve minor constipation.
3. Increased Movements
Sometimes constipation may be caused by indigestion issues. Encouraging exercises in babies may help to speed up the process of digestion. This helps to increase movements in the body and as a result better excretion. In case your child isn’t walking yet, give them the “bicycle legs”. To do this, the baby is placed on their back and their legs are lifted up and moved in circular motions which resemble bicycle peddling. “Bicycle legs” helps to reduce abdominal pressure and enhance the movement of wastes in the right direction.
4. Rectal Stimulation
Constipation is a common problem in babies because they still have underdeveloped organs. To promote bowel movements, some parents may resort to rectal stimulation. It involves the use of a lubricated rectal thermometer which is gently inserted and slightly wiggled in the baby’s bottom. The stimulation will cause an immediate bowel movement to happen.
Note: Do not place the rectal thermometer far inside the baby’s bottoms because you risk damaging their internal organs.
5. Change Diet
If your baby is eating solid foods, then you can change their diet. Remember that kids are sensitive to certain foods. So, in case the cause of the baby’s constipation is caused by diet, give them foods which are rich in fiber e.g.
- Skinless apples
And if your baby is less than six months or they still haven’t transitioned to solid foods, give them the above-mentioned fruits and vegetables in pureed form.
Note: fruits and veggies have lots of natural fiber which help to add the bulk to stool. They also help to stimulate regular bowel movements.
But what if the above-mentioned techniques won’t work? There are times when the discomfort that’s caused by constipation won’t go away. This means that you need to step up and help your baby. One of the best alternatives, in this case, is a drug that contains a laxative.
Laxative medications which are sold over-the-counter can be helpful to kids over 6 months. These products normally contain psyllium powder or maltsupex extract which help to soften the child’s stool. You can also talk to your doctor about the use of a laxative medication before giving it to your child.
Note: don’t use mineral oils or laxatives which contain stimulants because they may have potentially harmful compounds.