The number of bowel movements a baby should have depends from its age and from the type of food he/she is eating.
If your baby has bowel movement problems, like not passing a bowel movement for several days or passing dry and hard stools, it is likely that your child is suffering from constipation.
Constipation is particularly hard to treat in little infants as there are not so many treatment possibilities.
It is well known that little babies are more likely to suffer from constipation in cases when they switch from breast milk to formula milk, but also when passing from just milk to solid foods.
If you are breastfeeding, the stools of your baby are most likely to look like mustard – colored stools. While breastfeeding, a baby should have couple of stools per day. If your baby is on formula feeding, the stools will be darker in color, but also firmer in consistency when compared to breastfeeding stools.
When constipated, your child will have difficulties passing the stool, the stools will be harder and accompanied with abdominal pain and abdominal cramping. The frequency of the stools is also lower.
What is effective in treating the constipation in babies?
Prune juice – is usually very effective for treating constipation in babies. However, you should not give prune juice to your child on your own, without consulting the doctor first. It will depend from your baby’s age if prune juice can be used for treatment of constipation or not. If your child has only been drinking milk, regardless if it is breast milk or formula milk, giving prune juice might not be a good idea. As it is something new, that your child has not been used to, it can worse the problem and make the constipation even worse. Older infants, that have already started to eat solid foods, can benefit from prune juice. However, in any case regardless of the fact that you are still breastfeeding or your baby has started eating solid food, contact the doctor and consult with him/her if prune juice is the ideal treatment for your child.
How is the prune juice made?
Prune juice is made of dried plums and prunes which contain many nutrients and play a great role in e healthy diet. Dried plums and prunes are known to regulate the metabolism and bowel movements. It is also well known that prune juice is frequently recommended for children when they suffer from constipation. However, parents usually do wonder if giving prune juice to their child is safe? They also in many cases wonder about the amount of prune juice that should be given to a child for constipation treatment?
Start with about 60 to 120 milliliters first and then determine whether this is enough for your child, or if he/she needs more or less. Do not give any type of juice if your child is younger than 6 months old. This includes also prune juice. Until 6 months, your child should drink only milk, breast milk or formula milk. Always dilute the juice with water before giving it to your baby. Do not give your baby more than 120 milliliters daily. Keep in mind that giving to much prune juice to your baby can lead to diarrhea.
Water for Constipation – small amounts of water added to breast milk or formula milk also help treat the constipation in young children and especially in little babies.
Can we prevent constipation in Infants?
It is not easy to prevent constipation or even know that your baby has bowel movement problems when they are so little and can’t even tell us what is wrong with them. However, if you notice that your child has abdominal pain or abdominal cramps, cries without a reason, does not sleep as it used to do before, has less frequent stools and especially when these stools are more solid, your child has probably constipation problems. As mentioned before, this is more likely to occur when switching from breast milk to formula milk, or when switching from just milk to solid food. When giving your child formula milk, doctors usually recommend to experiment with different types of formula milk in order to determine which one is the best for your child. If constipation occurs due to introduction of solid food for the first time, keep in mind that you should introduce one food at a time to your child over couple of days. You should let your child get used into this new type of food. Sometimes, postponing solid foods for a couple of weeks or a month also help, until the digestive system of your child matures and is ready to digest this solid food. Feeding your child in smaller amounts and more frequently with breast milk or formula milk also help.