When baby’s face is red, his tummy is hard, and he’s crying and wriggling in pain, you know he’s having trouble doing number two. So what’s a mama to do when baby’s showing signs of constipation and simply can’t go? Luckily, there are many natural natural constipation remedies you can try.
Natural Constipation Remedies
When it comes to constipation remedies, it’s best to let Mother Nature lend you a helping hand. Here’s how:
When baby is eating solids, avoid foods that constipate (like bananas, rice, or too much meat) and offer high-fiber foods that help relieve constipation.
Good choices include cooked pears, prunes, apricots, and peaches. You can offer these fruits as purees or slices (if you’re doing baby led weaning). Just remember: Babies younger than 6 months should not have anything but breastmilk or formula unless directed by a doctor.
Probiotics help restore balance in the gut, improve overall digestive health, and can make a huge difference in a constipated baby. Simply mix the recommended dosage amount into a bottle of breastmilk, formula, or purees for one of the best natural constipation remedies. You can also apply directly to the nipple if breastfeeding.
Homeopathic remedies for digestion
You should always get your doctor’s approval, but homeopathic remedies are safe and easy to administer to babies. Simply give one pilule (the little white bead) under the tongue or dissolve two pilules in a small amount of breastmilk or formula. Use a syringe to administer to baby and repeat as needed.
Homeopathic baby constipation remedies include:
- Calc-cabonica: For constipation accompanied by teething or for babies who are sensitive to lactose or milk protein.
- Lycopodium: For irritable or extremely gassy babies.
- Nux-vomica: For constipated babies who are straining.
- Silica: For babies who produce stools, but the stools are small and hard.
A warm bath can soothe baby and stimulate the digestive system. For the most effective constipation remedy, mix in Epsom salts—the magnesium helps relax muscles and soften stool to move things along.
Just like adults, exercise can help get the digestive system going. If baby can crawl, get on the floor with her and encourage her to crawl towards you. If not, you can “bicycle” her legs by laying her down and moving her legs back and forth as if she were riding a bicycle. You can also have baby do tummy time if it’s not too uncomfortable.
Belly massage or foot rubs
Massaging your little one’s belly helps move trapped air and gas, which contribute to constipation. It’s one of the simplest natural constipation remedies—just move your hand in sweeping or circular motions across baby’s abdomen. Remember not to press too hard.
There are also pressure points relating to the gut on the feet. You can find these between the ball of the foot and the heel. Gently rub in circular motions with your thumbs.
This video gives a great overview of how to perform baby massage to naturally relieve constipation.
What about OTC Products?
There are plenty of products designed to be constipation remedies for babies and children, but they should not be your first line of defense. Some stool softeners for babies contain yucky ingredients like artificial food dyes and preservatives and could set up dependencies.
How Long Is Too Long to Be Constipated? When to Call the Doctor.
Sometimes, no matter what you try, natural remedies just aren’t working. If you’ve exhausted all of these options and haven’t found a way to relieve baby’s constipation, you may be wondering what to do next.
It’s important to call your child’s pediatrician if baby isn’t eating, stops producing wet diapers, or has blood in her stool. If baby is younger than four months of age, call the doctor if baby has hard or pebble-like stool or hasn’t had a bowel movement within 24 hours.
Preventing Baby Constipation
You know the saying: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although natural constipation remedies are effective, it’s just as easy to prevent baby constipation in the first place.
Most importantly, make sure baby is hydrated at all times. Without adequate hydration, the risk of constipation increases.
- For babies under 6 months old, this means breastfeeding on demand (breast milk is over 80 percent water!) or giving the proper amount of formula each day.
- For babies eating solids, make sure baby continues to get either breastmilk or formula for liquid nourishment. Once baby can use a sippy cup, you can give 2 ounces of water per day for added hydration.