There are many infant constipation remedies on the market, but all parents should first attempt to treat constipation with homemade measures. Infant constipation refers to the hardness and difficulty in passing stools and not the frequency of bowel movements. The consistency and frequency of bowel movements in infants does vary but in general breast fed babies have soft mushy stools and formula fed babies have much firmer and darker stools. Infants are constipated if the stools are hard; have less than one bowel movement a day and the baby is having difficulty passing stools. Occasionally the bowel movement may be associated with streaks of blood on outside of stools and abdominal discomfort.
Constipation is common in infants and easily caused by new foods, milk products, absence of fiber or lack of adequate fluids.
Constipation is not difficult to treat but does require an effort on part of the parent. The first step is to ensure that the infant is getting enough fluids in the diet. The next step and the easiest is to add some sugar to the diet. Sugar has the ability to draw fluid into the baby’s bowel and softens the stools. The best sugar is in the form of fructose or sorbitol. Another option is to use Karo syrup for infant constipation. One can add one teaspoon of Karo syrup to 4 oz of water and offer this to the baby twice a day or until the poop is soft and mushy. Karo syrup for infant constipation should only be used for a short duration.
When syrup constipation infant fails to work, then one may have to add more sugar in terms of fruit juices. Almost any type of fruit juice can with be combined with syrup constipation infant. The juice should be initially be diluted in water and the strength increased as needed. If the infant is on a diet, than one should start to add fruits and vegetables to the meals. Prunes, pears, plums and cereal do help make the stools soft.
Probiotics are now widely available in most food stores; these products provide live nonpathogenic bacteria to help improve the infant’s intestinal micro flora. Many studies indicate that infants fed probiotics develops soft stools but one has to watch out for diaper rash and occasional diarrhea.
Medical measures for infants’ constipation include the use of liquid glycerin which can be gently inserted into the baby’s rectum and rapidly stimulates a bowel movement. If that fails one may mix psyllium husks on to cereal or combine it with some milk products. Other non prescription laxatives include use of flax oil which is a good alternative to mineral oil. Moreover flax oil also contains omega 3 fatty acids.
There are many over the counter suppositories available to treat the infants’ constipation. These should only be used infrequently and only when the constipation is severe. The last choice should be an enema. It is available with a prescription and only to be used when other measures have failed.
Infant constipation remedies do work within a few days but if constipation persists, one should always seek advice from a health professional.