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Infant Constipation Remedy: Baby Constipation Relief

Infant constipation means hard and infrequent stools. It does not mean grunting or straining. How often your infant should have a bowel movement depends on if your child is breast fed or bottle fed. Before you determine the best remedy, you should first determine if your infant is really constipated.

The colon works to maintain the body’s fluid balance. The colon achieves this by removing water from the stool and eliminating waste. Waste is eliminated in the form of stool. Stools are formed as water along with nutrients and salts are absorbed by the colon. If stool remains in the colon too long, too much water is absorbed, leaving it dry and hard.

Breast fed infants are never technically constipated because the milk is easily absorbed by the baby and used. What is left is stool which is loose, curd-like, seedy and mucus. Breast fed stool do not have a foul smell. Exclusively breast fed infants can go several days between movements.

When you notice your infant groaning, straining and making funny faces as he makes a bowel movement, your infant is not constipated. This is because the baby has not learned to control their abdominal and anal muscles to relax and expand when making a bowl movement. Once you introduce solids or formula, constipation may be become an issue.

Constipation in formula fed infants is very common. Infant formula is not as well digested as breast milk and more residues are left in the colon. Because formula takes longer to digest, the residue builds up, too much water is absorb and the stool becomes hard and pebble-like. It may be difficult and uncomfortable for your infant to pass. In this case straining and groaning may occur. Formula fed infants should have a bowel movement every 1-2 days.

If your infant is constipated here are some helpful remedies:

* Gently massage your infant’s tummy. Stop if the baby seems to be in pain.

* Rotate the legs in a ‘bicycle” movement. This causes the stomach muscles to move and stimulate the colon.

* Fruit Juice: Offer your infant a few ounces of fruit juice (apple, prune) until the bowels are moving.

* Try a gentle rectal exam. Insert a lubricated thermometer or Q-tip about a quarter inch into the rectum and wiggle it around. This really works so be prepared for what comes out.

* Karo syrup: Add about two teaspoons to formula. Corn syrup draws more fluid into the intestine, which makes stool less hard. Be sure not to give too much because diarrhea can occur

* Liquid Glycerin Suppositories for Infants: suppositories work by increasing water in the stool.

* For infants on solids offer prunes, peaches, pears, plums, apricots and peas. They make stools softer.

When to contact the doctor:

* If your infant cries while straining

* Constipation remains a persistent problem

* The number of wet diapers decreases each day

* Blood in stool or bleeding from anus

* Abdominal pain

* Reduced Appetite