Life can be miserable for an infant who is constipated. She may feel extreme pressure in her belly and rectal area, as well as some pain. Caring for a constipated infant can be difficult as well, as parents may feel helpless and confused about how to help their babies. Though laxatives are usually out of the question, there are some home remedies parents can use to treat infant constipation.
Typically, doctors are reluctant to recommend laxatives for infants, as many medications may have unpredictable or even harmful effects on their small bodies. To help your baby move her bowels, try glycerin suppositories designed specifically for infants--available over the counter at most drug stores. These suppositories are small and shaped like thin bullets. Insert one, as directed on the package, well into your baby’s rectum. It will begin to melt inside, making the rectum and anus slick, which will help the stool slide out. It will also stimulate the normal action of the rectum, helping your infant to push the stool out on her own.
Encourage your baby’s bowels to move by massaging his belly about one to two inches below his navel. Be gentle, as your baby’s belly may feel uncomfortably full or sore, and you don’t want to irritate it by applying too much pressure. Continue the massage for about three minutes, and repeat it a couple of times each day. If your infant is able to crawl, get down on the floor with him and play a game that encourages him to move about. If he’s not yet crawling, have him rest on his back while you move his legs in a circular motion. This movement may help stimulate his bowels.
Food and Drink
Change what your baby eats and drinks to help relieve her constipation. Give your baby more to drink, as doing so may make her stools soft and loose enough to come out easily. With your doctor’s approval, try giving her two or three oz. of prune juice each day, but dilute it with a little water first. According to the Mayo Clinic, a couple of oz. of water may help as well. If your baby is eating solid foods, up her intake of pears, prunes, spinach and apricots. All of these foods may help to loosen your infant’s stools. If she’s eating cereal, get your doctor’s approval to add a little bran to her bowl. According to BabyCenter.com, one tsp. may be enough.