It is okay for a baby to not have a bowel movement for several days during the week. However, if you see your baby getting fussy or facing discomfort while having a bowel movement, trying any of the below pediatrician-recommended home remedies can help relieve their constipation fast.
10 Home remedies for relieving infant constipation
Tip 1: Provide hydration
Babies generally do not need water because they get adequate hydration from breast milk or baby formula. However, if you find your baby straining during stools, they may not be getting adequate fluids from their diet. You can start giving an additional two to four ounces of water after each feeding to help flush their bowels properly.
Tip 2: Start fruit juices
Offering fruit juices to your baby is one of the options to increase their fluid intake and aid in smooth bowel movements.
If your baby is older than two months, start with two to four ounces of any fruit juice—grape, pear, apple, cherry, apple, or prune—two times a day, but opt for 100 percent fruit juice. Juice can help draw water to the bowel.
If your baby’s stools become watery, reduce the quantity of juice.
Tip 3: Include high-fiber foods in your baby’s diet
If your baby has just started eating solid foods, you can try introducing high-fiber foods into their daily diet. Giving them fruits and vegetables two times a day is the best way to ensure they get their adequate fiber intake. Some of the best sources of fiber include:
If your baby is older than six months and has not yet started eating solid foods, try the pureed forms of some of the aforementioned high-fiber foods.
Tip 4: Replace the cereal
If your baby is eating rice cereal, you can try and check if switching to other cooked cereal, such as oatmeal and barley cereal, helps with their bowel movements. Instead of refined foods, offer whole-grain bread, crackers, and bran cereals because these add bulk to your baby’s stools for an easier bowel movement.
Tip 5: Try a different brand of formula
If your baby is facing constipation while on a formula diet, you just need to switch to a different formula. Sometimes, this simple trick helps relieve their constipation. You can try low-lactose formula and check whether it works for your baby.
Tip 6: Give warm water bath
Giving your baby a warm water bath soothes and relaxes the tensed abdominal and rectal muscles.
Tip 7: Massage
Massaging a baby’s abdomen can help relieve constipation. For this, you just need to tap your fingertips or massage in circles over your baby’s abdomen. This mimics bowel movements and helps the stool get expelled from your baby’s anus faster. Using baby oil may help ease the massaging procedure.
Tip 8: Help your baby exercise
Just like adults, moving around or exercising helps your baby have smooth bowel movements. If your baby can crawl, encourage your baby to move around in the house but watch for their safety. If your baby is not old enough to crawl, then help them exercise by trying bicycle legs:
You can bend your baby’s knees and push them gently toward their abdomen. These simple exercises put pressure on their abdomen so that the stools move in the right direction.
Tip 9: Try using glycerin suppositories
If you have not seen any results with other home remedies, you can get the help of an over-the-counter glycerin suppository, which is meant to be placed into your baby’s anus. However, use these suppositories occasionally. Never force the suppository pellets inside your baby’s anus.
Tip 10: Consider giving a stool softener or laxative
You can consider giving a stool softener such as corn syrup to your baby. An over-the-counter laxative for your six-month-old baby can be considered the last option when other home remedies have not worked. Do not resort to other over-the-counter options, such as mineral oil, stimulant laxatives, or enemas, to treat infant constipation.