Whether moms like it or not, much of their time in the early years of their child’s life is spent worrying about their little one’s poop issues. From loose movements to constipation, bowel movements are an equally troublesome health issue in children. Constipation in babies and children is quite common. As a mom, you can try home remedies for constipation in children.
Constipation is basically infrequent passing of stool. This can lead to pain while pooping. In fact, hard stools are quite difficult and painful to pass. Thus, there is stool retention resulting in stool retention, says Dr. Abhishek Chopra, Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
Constipation in babies and children
During the first week after birth, babies have a bowel movement about four to six times. They are soft or almost liquid. Then, during the first three months, breastfed babies have a bowel movement about three times a day. By age two, children have one to two stools (firm, not hard) a day, the expert tells Health Shots.
Many parents suspect their baby is constipated if he seems to strain during bowel movements, causing his face to turn red. In most cases, this happens when babies are not able to coordinate their muscle movements when having a bowel movement. Gently bending the hip and leg upward toward the abdomen can help the little one.
But a constipated baby has stools that feel hard or lumpy. Infants may even have a bowel movement less frequently than they should.
In children, constipation is common at three stages of life:
• After starting to eat cereals and pureed foods
• During potty training
• After starting school
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Whenever they discover something new, such as starting school, some children may hesitate to use the toilet at school.
Home remedies to treat constipation in children
You can try natural ways to help your baby with constipation. Here are some options:
1. Fruit juice
Babies who haven’t started solid foods can opt for fruit juices. Excess fluid can help with constipation because fluid enters the small intestine and helps break down the tool, Dr. Chopra says. Pear or apple juice are the most popular for constipation in babies. These contain a sugar called sorbitol which helps soften stools. About 120 ml of fruit juice can be given to the little one. But juices should not be given every day for more than a week or two, as they can be unhealthy for children.
Sesame, poppy and flax are healthy seeds that can add a touch of fiber to foods. Add to cereal or grind and mix into hot cereal like oatmeal.
Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which helps draw water into the intestine. When the water content increases, it helps soften the stool and stimulate bowel movement. Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water and give it to your child.
4. Warm milk with ghee
Add a teaspoon of ghee to about 250ml of warm boiled milk and give it to your child before bedtime.
Dates are high in fiber and will help with bowel movements, says the expert. Take three dates and wash them properly. Soak them overnight and crush them thoroughly the next morning. Mix the date puree with half a cup of warm water or milk and give it to your baby.
It is always best to consult a pediatrician before turning to home remedies to treat constipation in children. Also, if you notice blood in the stool or if your baby has been constipated for a long time, do not wait and take the little one to a doctor immediately.