Helping Your Constipated Baby

Helping Your Constipated Baby
If you can help your twins get comfortable at will, then you have a leg up on millions of tired, frustrated parents worldwide, however many children they have. Many of us recite an internal checklist to ourselves at the first sign of discomfort, hoping to avoid a full blown cry festival. As a twin parent, I can vouch for all others when I say that we have added incentive to get to the correct solution fast; if you don’t, you have one twin unhappy for that reason, and the other twin just angry that there is crying going on!

Sometimes, while going through that mental list (which includes diaper changes, too hot or cold, need a swing, hungry, tired, etc..) it happens to be something you couldn’t have guessed-like constipation. It is important to remember that a baby on a milk diet will not have much by products, so infrequent bowel movements are not that uncommon. However, if it is causing the child pain, then it is time to act. Luckily, there are several time tested ways to keep this from being the one hiccup you can’t keep from getting out of control once it appears. Try these tactics whenever you suspect that you have a constipated child.

1. Change up the diet. There are some babies that don’t respond well to the introduction of certain food items. For instance, rice cereal in the milk has been known to create constipation. It is also common to see constipation from formula with iron supplements. Try switching to another low iron formula, and perhaps switch to another cereal grain such as barley or oatmeal. There is a diet called the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) which was recommended for children for some time, but doctors now say that these are the items to avoid while trying to help a constipated baby. Small amounts of fruit juice, water and baby food blends such as apricots, prunes, pears and many vegetables can also help to dissolve the backup. The main goal here is to incorporate whole grains and fiber into the diet when age appropriate. (Water and juice should be given in small amounts to younger infants because they do not replace a bottle.) Depending on the child, some pediatricians also recommend a small amount of corn syrup mixed in with a bottle to alleviate the problem. If you have questions, it is always a good idea to speak with your pediatrician prior to introducing new foods to your baby.

2. Exercise-Try the baby bicycle: Lay the baby face up in front of you and grab him/her gently by the ankles. Now, move the legs in a bicycling motion back and forth. It is believed that the pedaling motion can help to break up the hard stool, and help your baby to get it out. If the baby is in the crawling stage, more time zipping around the floor could alleviate the symptoms as well!

3. Soak it out-A warm bath can help anyone relax, and it can soften the buildup in the bowels as well. If it doesn’t do the trick, at the very least the warm bath will relax the baby. Who doesn’t love a good soak?

4. Massage-Rubbing the abdomen has been known to help because it contains the large bowel. Mommies recommend rubbing in a clockwise motion (even with baby oil sometimes) to rub in the natural direction of the flow of the intestines, hopefully helping the problem to move along.

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