We know this can be a sticky, ooey gooey subject, but it’s oh-so-important to know about. Today, we’re talking all things constipation. Yes, it can even happen to babies! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.
Constipation doesn’t simply mean you can’t go #2, it’s also about how difficult it is to go. Since babies don’t consume nearly as much food as adults, their movements are different. Additionally, if they’re only consuming breast milk it is be harder to judge what’s normal. This is because babies can absorb almost all of the nutrients in breast milk, leaving little to go through the digestive track.
It’s normal for breastfed infants to have bowel movements once a week or once every few days. Don’t worry if yours doesn’t! Like adults, infants have varying digestive tracks. Signs of constipation include: trouble going #2, discomfort when trying to go, having hard or bloody stools, or passing stools once every 5-10 days. If you feel your baby is having a tough time with going #2, try some of these natural remedies.
Drink More Water– This may sound basic, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to alleviate constipation symptoms. Constipation often occurs because too much fluid gets absorbed in the intestines. Dehydration causes stool to be dry, making it hard to move through the digestive track.
Eat Fiber Fiber and More Fiber– Fruits, vegetables and grains are naturally high in fiber. Fiber makes stool bulkier, yet softer so it’s easier to pass. Some foods that contain high fiber include: broccoli, pears, prunes, peaches and skinless apples. One study found that fiber can increase the frequency of passing #2 as well.
Switch it Up – If you’re bottle feeding, try a different brand of formula. Formulas contain different ingredients, some of which could inadvertently be affecting your baby’s bowel movements.
Sip Prune Juice – The occasional prune and pear juice can also help speed up your baby’s bowel movements. Prunes are a natural laxative. Not only are they great for constipation, they are highly concentrated in iron and potassium, too.
Massage Time – Gently massaging your baby’s abdomen can help push along bowel movements . Studies show that simply massageing baby’s stomach in a clockwise motion a few times throughout the day can help. Bonus fact? This also helps reduce stress and promote relaxation.
More Magnesium – Magnesium helps relax the muscles lining the colon, creating a smoother rhythm of contractions. In turn, this makes pushing stools easier. Some top magnesium infused foods include: avocados, legumes, whole grains, and bananas. Magnesium also helps increase the amount of water kept in the intestines.
Exercise – Okay, we know your baby isn’t going to be running a marathon at this age, however, it’s still important to keep them up and moving! If your baby is able to crawl, encourage them to crawl about. If not, help them exercise by moving the legs in a forward and backwards motion or in a circular or pumping motion.