Constipation is a common problem that can affect most children. It has been recognized as being amongst the most common infant digestive problems reported by parents.
This occurs commonly in kids who may have experienced the passage of an uncomfortable/painful stool.
The longer the stool remains in the rectum, the larger and harder the stool becomes. A vicious circle develops with the child wanting to ‘hold on’ to avoid the passage of more poos that may be uncomfortable or painful.
If constipation is identified and treated as soon as possible after the problem starts,
then it is going to be easier for everyone.
Constipation In Babies
Dr Krishan Chugh, Head, Paediatrics, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram recommends some home remedies as a first-line treatment for baby constipation.
When determining if your baby is constipated, it is important to look not only at
the frequency of stools but also the consistency as well. This is because it is
normal for the frequency of stools to reduce over time.
According to Dr Chugh, if parents observe symptoms like- Hard and pebble-like stools, crying or facing difficulty while having a bowel movement, firm or tight belly, or sometimes blood in the stool then one some simple home remedies can help parents to ease their baby’s problem.
Simple Interventions Parents Can Try To Treat Constipation In Babies
- Dietary changes- Parents should encourage children to have more water-based drinks. Fibre (particularly fruit and vegetables) also helps. But, do not make this the focus of treatment. Breastfeeding should always be promoted and an introduction or changes of formula feeds should only be done on the advice of a healthcare professional.
- Leg Exercise: Lay the infant on their back and gently move their legs in a bicycle
motion. This will cause the stomach muscles to move. Put gentle stimulation on
your baby’s intestines, which may make them have an easy bowel movement.
- Warm Bath: A relaxing warm bath may help your baby pass stool more easily. During
or after the bath, try gently massaging the tummy. It can also relieve some of the discomfort relating to constipation.
- Fruit juice: Fruit juices such as apple or pear could be tried to maintain regular soft bowel motions
- Hydration– Infants don’t need any other liquids apart from their milk. Milk provides them with enough hydration. However, toddlers that are constipated, may get benefit from a small amount of extra liquid.
When to see a doctor
“Parents need to be reminded to always seek health care advice if they suspect
constipation in their baby. This will ensure that baby gets timely and appropriate treatment”, says Dr Chugh. If you think that your baby is having abdominal pain, or you notice blood in the stool, or, you baby cries while passing stool, then you must consult a doctor.
“We know from experience that the sooner the problem is identified and treated, the easier it is to manage”, says Dr Chugh..