When you think of mom-ing, constipation for your little guy or gal is certainly not the first thing that comes to mind, but it is definitely something you are probably going to have to face at some point. Usually, this comes when starting first foods, if not sooner. This is especially true for preemie babies and others on simplified formulas like Elecare, which make pooping a much more rare occasion than that for normal babies.
It can be upsetting for mom and dad, who worry about their little one and try to help with their discomfort. No one wants a trip to the doctor because their little one is impacted. Fortunately, there are some pretty simple solutions that usually work. Of course, always contact a pediatrician before trying any methods just to be safe and to keep your pediatrician informed in case your baby needs medical attention.
1. Try a Little Juice or Juice & Water
One of the first lines of defense, juice is a natural go to. For smaller babies, mix the juice 50/50 with bottled nursery water for infants under 6 months. I just premixed it and kept it in the fridge. Types of juice they recommend to me were prune or pear, though some people recommend apple juice for older babies.
For babies older than 4-6 months who have started solids, pediatricians usually allow straight juice.
When you purchase juice for baby, be sure it’s pure juice with no sweeteners or additives. Most of the time, stores offer juice made specifically for babies in the baby food section of the grocery or health food store.
2. A Rectal Thermometer or Qtip with Vaseline or Organic Olive Oil
While it doesn’t sound very appealing, it works for most cases. The nurse I spoke to instructed me to put a little Vaseline or olive oil on a cotton swab or rectal thermometer and insert it into the anus only a little bit. For most babies, this is only going to be the swab itself, so like 1/2″ depending on the baby. I usually use the organic olive oil because it’s more natural. In the hospital they use Vaseline. It works rather well.
3. Make Sure to Grease the Little Crevice
Tears can happen on your little one’s anus when they are constipated and can be very painful, so be sure to use a recommended baby cream liberally on their “crack” (not inside). I like CeraVe Baby Healing Ointment or Burt’s Bees Baby Multipurpose Ointment. I’d recommend doing this in addition to the other methods that you use.
4. Try the “Yoga Potty Position”
Try putting your little one in a position that makes it easier to “go.” Would you find it easy to move your bowels on your back or with your bottom sitting strapped to a flat, hard surface? Probably not. This method replicates a more comfortable position to help baby relieve himself.
Start by sitting on a couch or bed, somewhere comfortable for you because the effect is not instant. Sit cross legged with a dipped in space in your lap. If you can put one foot on top of one knee without injuring yourself, I’ve found that works even better. Now, place your little one in your lap with their bottom in the “hole” and their legs up across your calves. Their bottom should not touch the ground or your lap. Their legs can be straight or crossed, whatever is comfortable for them. Their back should be against your belly and chest.
This is found on most lists, but I have found that it only works in conjunction with other methods for us. Still, it’s non-invasive and definitely worth a try. Essentially, you move your baby’s legs like they are riding a tiny bicycle. Usually, we pause and push his legs up so his knees are bent and to his belly briefly in a squatting time position (something the nurse in the hospital showed us).
6. Constipation Ease Liquid
We’ve had good results with Mommy’s Bliss Constipation Ease. The active ingredients is a prune concentration. He hates the taste of it, but it often helps and doesn’t require him to actually eat prunes. It’s administered orally through an oral dropper that’s included in the box.
7. Make Sure Baby is Hydrated
Often if your little one is starting first foods, they will lower their formula or milk consumption. This can lead to constipation. You may need to return to milk/formula only for a couple of days. If baby is refusing to drink, call your doctor and watch for signs of dehydration such as sunken fontanel, lack of tears when crying, or less than 4 wet diapers per day.
8. Oatmeal and Raisins
I have a friend who swears by this recipe: 1/2 cup quick cook organic steel cut oats, boiled with 1 1/2 cups water and then 1/2 cup raisins or prunes while it cools on the stove. Then, puree in blender after it’s cooled. Of course, I’d only use this if your baby has already had these foods and you know they are OK regarding allergies and confirm with your pediatrician.