Whether mothers like it or not, in the early years of their child’s life a large part of their time is spent worrying about the little one’s poop problems. Whether it’s related to loose movements or constipation, bowel movements are an equally troublesome health problem in children. Constipation in babies and children is quite common. As a mother, you can try home remedies for constipation in children.
Constipation is basically an irregular passage of stool. It can cause pain while defecating. In fact, hard stools are quite difficult and painful to push out. So there is withholding of stool, which results in stool retention, says Dr Abhishek Chopra, consultant neonatologist and paediatrician, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.
Constipation in babies and children
In the first week after birth, babies have about four to six bowel movements. They are soft or almost liquid. In the first three months, breastfed babies have about three bowel movements per day. By the time they are two years old, 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 when he seems to struggle during bowel movements, causing his face to turn red. In most cases, this happens because babies cannot coordinate muscle movements when they have bowel movements. Gently bending the hip and leg towards the stomach can help the little one.
But a baby who is constipated will have bowel movements that look hard or like pellets. Babies may even have bowel movements less often than they should.
In children, constipation often occurs during three stages of life:
• After starting grains and pureed foods
• During toilet training
• After you go to school
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Every time they are introduced to something new, such as access to a school, it can make some children reluctant to use the toilet at school.
Home remedies to treat constipation in children
You can try natural ways to help your baby with constipation. Here are some options:
1. Fruit juices
Babies who have not yet started eating solid food can turn to fruit juices. Extra fluid can help with constipation, because fluid enters the small intestine and helps break up the appliance, says Dr. Chopra. Pear or apple juice is most preferred for baby constipation. These contain a sugar called sorbitol, which softens 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 this can be unhealthy for children.
Sesame, poppy and flax are some healthy seeds that can add fiber to food. Add them to breakfast cereals or grind them and mix them into hot breakfast cereals such as oatmeal.
Lemons contain a lot of vitamin C, which helps to draw water into the intestines. When the water content increases, it helps soften the stool and stimulate bowel movements. Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water and give it to your child.
4. Warm milk with ghee
Add a teaspoon of ghee to about 250 ml of boiled warm milk and give it to your child before bedtime.
Dates are rich in fiber and help with bowel movements, says the expert. Take three dates and wash them well. Soak them overnight and mash them thoroughly the next morning. Mix pureed dates with half a 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. If you notice blood in the stool or notice that your baby is constipated for a long time, do not wait and take the little one to a doctor immediately.