Infant constipation, like constipation in adults, is a common cause of abdominal pain in this age group. Children can have a very wide range of variations in the frequency at which they open their bowel. Constipation can occur in the newborn, infant, toddler, or indeed a child of any age.
Most breast fed infants have loose stools, but some are prone to infrequent bowel movements. Constipation is most often caused by a low-fiber diet, lack of physical activity, inadequate intake of fluid each day, or delay in going to the bathroom when you have the urge to defecate.
Constipation is one of the most common types of digestive upsets, but it can often be accompanied by heartburn and stomach cramps. Constipation is experienced when digestion becomes awkward, painful, prolonged and irregular – though irregularity is not necessarily a characteristic of constipation.
Constipation can be caused by numerous things including stress, insufficient fibre in the diet, not enough liquid intake, excess protein, refined foods, or no exercise. It can also be caused by the under functioning of the liver or thyroid.
Other causes include pregnancy, metabolic disorders, structural abnormalities, antacids, old age and constant use of laxatives. Constipation can also be a side effect of some medications.
Sudden blockages, bleeding or changes in bowel habits must be checked by a medical practitioner.
Constipation generally can be treated by changing to a well balanced diet high in fibre with at least 6-8 glasses of water daily and regular exercise.
A glass of hot water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it, especially when taken in the morning can be very beneficial, especially if followed by a walk.
Aloe gel ~ Dandelion ~ Psyllium ~ Senna ~ Yellow dock ~ Chamomile (to relax intestinal muscles)
An ideal breakfast would be fruit such as prunes or figs with cereal and rice bran. Another suggestion would be buckwheat seeds cooked with raisins, apple and cinnamon. Rice bran is preferred over wheat bran as wheat bran can be difficult to digest and can also contribute to haemorrhoids. For most people, bran acts as a fibre laxative but for sensitive people it can actually cause constipation and bloating, especially when fluid intake is inadequate. If these breakfasts don’t appeal, you can try any cereal with some psyllium powder sprinkled over.
The best adviceâstick to natureâs way where your childâs health is concerned. Women have been breastfeeding for many thousands of years and their bodies were designed specifically with this function in mind. All the NASA technology, Internet innovation, genetic engineering, and chemical manipulations in the world have yet to improve on the natural biological structure and benefits of motherâs milk. Breast-fed infants reap many boons from motherâs milk: vastly increased immunological factors, fewer earaches and infections, greater hardiness and growth, easier digestibility and absorption of nutrients, improved social and emotional adjustment, and reduced chances of becoming constipated just to name a few.
In this article we will look at infant constipation treatment and how best to deal with constipation when an infant is suffering from it.
The best way in which any parent could treat an infant who is suffering from constipation is by changing the child’s diet. The constipation will not improve without a change of diet and they will also probably be using stool softeners as well.
The goal of any infant constipation treatment is so that the child has 1 or 2 soft stools each day. So why not give them 2 to 4 ounces of water or diluted fruit juice once or twice a day. Or you may want to swap the formula they are drinking at the moment for a soy formula instead.
If however your infant is older than 4 months and suffering from constipation then you may want to try feeding them lots of fiber which are contained in cereals, strained prunes, apricots or spinach.
A great way of helping an infant suffering from constipation is by massaging their stomach. Begin at the belly button and then massage outwards in circles in a clockwise direction. Put some baby oil or cream on your fingers as this will help with the massage. However if your child becomes upset or uncomfortable with the massage then stop it.
Or you try moving your infant’s legs in a cycling motion whilst they are laid on their backs. Just hold their legs and then gently move them in a quick cycling motion. This will cause the stomach muscles to move and this in turn will put gentle pressure on the infant’s intestines and make them move.
Another great way of helping an infant suffering from constipation is to give them a warm bath which will help them to relax and thus their stools will be passed more easily. After the bath and when your infant is more relaxed you could try massaging their stomach again. Also after a bath apply some cream or Vaseline to the area around the infant’s anus. It is important that you do not put a thermometer or anything inside your infant’s anus to stimulate bowel movement as this will only cause damage to your child.
There are a number of different ways as shown above which can be used for infant constipation treatment and as long as you watch what they eat and ensure that they have plenty of fluids they should not suffer with this problem too much.