Whether mothers like it or not, a lot of their time during the early years of their child’s life, goes in worrying about the little one’s poop problems. Whether it is to do with loose motions or constipation, bowel movements are an equally troublesome health issue in children. Constipation in babies and children is quite common. As a mom, you can try out home remedies for constipation in children.
Constipation is basically infrequent passage of stools. It may lead to pain while pooping. In fact, hard stools are pretty difficult and painful to push out. So, there is withholding of stools resulting in retention of stools, says Dr Abhishek Chopra, Consultant Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
Constipation in babies and children
In the first week following their birth, babies pass stools about four to six times. They are soft or almost liquid. Then in the first three months, breastfed babies have approximately three bowel movements per day. By the time they turn two, children have one to two (firm not hard ) bowel movements per day, the expert tells Health Shots.
Many parents feel that their baby is constipated if they seem to be straining during bowel movements causing their face to turn red. In most cases this happens as babies are not able to co-ordinate muscle movement when having bowel movement. Gently bending hip and leg upward towards abdomen can help the little one.
But a baby who is constipated has bowel movements that look hard or pellet like. Infants may even have bowel movements less frequently than they are supposed to.
In children, constipation is common during three stages of life:
• After starting cereal and pureed foods
• During toilet training
• After starting school
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Whenever they are introduced to something new like entry into a school, it can make some children reluctant to use bathroom at school.
Home remedies to treat constipation in children
You can try out natural ways to help your baby with constipation. Here are some options:
1. Fruit juices
Babies who have not started eating solid food can go for fruit juices. Extra liquid can help with constipation as liquid enters small intestine and helps to break the tool, says Dr Chopra. Pear or apple juices are the most preferred ones for baby constipation. These contain sugar called sorbitol which helps to soften the stool. About 120 ml of fruit juice can be given to the little one. But juices should not be given every day for more than a week or two as it can be unhealthy for children.
Sesame, poppy and flax are some healthy seeds which can add punch of fiber to food. Add them to cereal or grind and mix into hot cereal such as oatmeal.
Lemons are high in vitamin C which help to pull water into gut. When water content increases, it helps to soften stool and stimulate bowel movement. Squeeze half a lemon into one glass of water and give it to your child.
4. Warm milk with ghee
Add one teaspoon of ghee to about 250 ml boiled warm milk and give it to your child before bedtime.
Dates are rich in fiber and will help in bowel movement, says the expert. Take three dates and wash them properly. Soak them overnight and thoroughly mash them the next morning. Mix mashed dates with half cup of warm water or milk and give it to your baby.
It is always better to consult a pediatrician before turning to home remedies for treating constipation in children. Also, in case notice blood in stools or find your baby constipated for a long time, don’t wait and take the little one to a doctor immediately.