Ayurveda

Home Remedies for Constipation in Infants

Infant Constipation can bring a lot of misery to the new parents. A constantly crying, restless and colicky baby is most often a victim of constipation. A new born may show signs of constipation within the first one month of age. It could be very difficult to comprehend the reasons of not opening up bowels in month old babies. However, some serious conditions are associated with constipation in new borns.

There are no laid down rules as to how many times an infant should open up his bowels. 3 times a day to once in 3 days could be normal depending on the body constitution of the baby. However, a newly born child ideally passes greenish stools within 24 hours after being born. This greenish looking stool is called Meconium.

Not passing meconium could be an indication of some serious physical ailment.

What are the causes of Infant Constipation?

There are some serious conditions which could be associated with constipation in babies.

Imperforate Anus
It is a birth defect in which the opening of the anus is missing or blocked. About 1 out of 5000 infants is born with this condition. Anus is the passage which connects to the rectum and enables the discharge of the stools. The anus may also open at the base of the penis or the vagina in girls. Not passing stools within the first 24-48 hours after birth is an indication of the presence of this congenital defect. Generally the defect has to be fixed with surgery.

Hirschsprung Disease
The muscles of the stomach and abdomen help the digested food move along the digestive tract and eventually the wastes being disposed by the anus. The nerves in the muscles of the stomach facilitate the contractions and push the food through the intestines. When the nerves are not present then the digested materials can get accumulated and cause a blockage. This condition is a birth defect and can be corrected with surgery. It is responsible for 25% of all intestinal blockages.

Anal Stenosis
A structural defect in which the anal opening is extremely narrowed. As a result, the digestive wastes build up in the body and cause pain and discomfort in the body. Treatment of this disorder is mainly through therapies which involve gentle dilation of the muscles of the anus until the narrowed anus reaches its normal size.

Cystic Fibrosis
Not having bowel movements in the first day or two after being born could also indicate the condition Cystic Fibrosis. It is an inherited disease in which a defective gene causes the build up of abnormally thick and sticky mucous in the lungs and digestive tract. It is a life threatening disorder.

Above are some of the serious causes of infant constipation It is important to take this condition seriously to rule out the prevalence of the above disorders.

However, there can be some non serious reasons also for constipation. Newborns and infants purely on mother’s milk are unlikely to suffer from constipation. But, any undesired changes or modification in the diet or medication of the mother might result in disturbances in the bowel movement of the baby. A constipated mother is also likely to have her baby suffer from constipation. Babies who are formula fed are prone to constipation. They need extra care with their diet and drinking habits. Some home remedies will help in curing constipation.

Home treatment of Constipation

  • Insert the tips of a thermometer into the rectum of the baby. Slide the tip back and forth. This will stimulate the rectal muscles. Take utmost care while doing this. This should not hurt your baby. Medical advice is a must.
  • Take a clean and sanitized piece of cotton. Dip it in glycerin and insert it in the rectum of your baby.
  • Take some lukewarm water and add a few drops of castor oil to it. Mix them and give it to your child once every day. The dose is required to be adjusted according to age. If possible, replace lukewarm water with mother’s milk.
  • Mix 2tsp or home-made ghee (clarified butter), black current juice (after soaking overnight in water) and 1/8 tsp of sugar together. Give 2 tsps of this mixture to your child once everyday.
  • Take 6-8 raisins and soak them in hot water. Cool and crush them well. Strain them properly. Give the strained remain to your toddler to eat. This will regulate the bowel movement efficiently.

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