One of the many things that a mother worries about is infant constipation. Knowing how to relieve your baby of constipation is an important matter that parents—both mother and father—should learn, as all infants do become constipated at one point or another before the infants reach their first year. However, be careful about jumping to conclusions whenever you don’t see feces in your baby’s diaper for a couple or so days. Babies who breastfeed tend to defecate less frequently as they grow older. If you are sure that your baby is constipated, read on for some tips and suggestions on how to relieve her or him.
Move your baby’s legs. You might laugh at the idea of making your little one do the bicycle crunch exercise, but it does help relieve your baby of the uncomfortable feeling of constipation. How is this done? Make sure your baby is lying on his or her back. Grasping each leg with one hand, raise your baby’s leg, slightly bent at the knees. Move each leg forward and backward, alternating between left and right leg, such that your baby appears to be riding an imaginary bicycle on her or his back. The cycling motion helps relieve the pressure and can actually stimulate bowel movement. It can also relieve your baby’s gas pain.
Rub your baby’s tummy. Gently rubbing or massaging your baby’s navel area can also help relieve the pressure from the constipation and can help your baby pass gas. Using your hand, massage your baby’s tummy, moving your hand in a circular fashion.
Give your baby a warm bath. The warmth of the bath can help your little one to relax. When your baby is relaxed, bowel movement tends to become smoother. You can do the tummy rub after giving your baby a warm bath.
Let your baby drink fruit juice. About one or two ounces of diluted grape or prune juice given twice a day can help your baby’s digestion and bowel movement. The rich fiber in grapes and prunes often does the trick. You can also feed your baby a mix of apple and prune juice. As an alternative for infants (4 months onwards) who have started with solid food, you can also try feeding fiber-rich fruits such as pears, peaches, prunes, and plums. Some infants also respond well to apricots, peas, and spinach, too.
Change to a different milk formula. If your baby is formula-fed, switching to a different milk formula can often soften the stool.
Stimulate bowel movement with a rectal thermometer. Gently and slowly insert a rectal thermometer into your baby’s anus and wiggle it a little bit for some time. The wiggling motion, or even the mere sensation of the rectal thermometer inside the rectum, can stimulate bowel movement. You can request your pediatrician to do this procedure if you feel uneasy about doing it yourself.
Consider using laxatives. Especially if the constipation is severe, your baby may need the help of laxatives specially formulated for infants. Ask your doctor first before giving laxatives to your baby.
Infant digestion and bowel movement are very important to their growth and development. Parents, therefore, need to know how to address infant problems such as constipation so that their little ones will not have to suffer too much discomfort.