Constipation in newborns is unusual in breastfed infants, as breast milk is considered to be a “perfect” food. In actual fact, it is not uncommon for babies to not empty their bowels for up to three days and this is not constipation but because the breast milk is being completely absorbed. However, if newborn constipation continues and the baby seems to be in any discomfort it is always best to consult a health care professional in the first instance.
Constipation in older babies (6 months plus and on solid foods) is more often than not caused by, and in turn can be remedied by, diet. Foods such as dairy, rice, apples, bread and bananas can be the cause of constipation in babies. Dehydration can also be a contributing factor in constipation. In warmer weather especially, it is advisable to ensure adequate water is consumed. Fruit juice, including apple juice is okay for children to drink, although diluted is advisable and be mindful that fruit juice is high in sugars.
High fibre foods such as apricots, prunes, peas and mashed beans are beneficial when it comes to alleviating constipation and incorporating these types of foods into the diet on a regular basis are a great constipation preventative. If incorporating a higher fiber diet ceases to help alleviate constipation it is recommended that you seek assistance from your doctor or a health care professional. They may recommend a glycerin suppository or a laxative such as Maltsupex. Maltsupex can be substituted with ½ teaspoon on processed bran mixed in with stewed fruit such as apricots- never apples. Apples are not good for baby’s digestive system as the pectin they contain can bind food particles in the digestive tract, this does not apply to apple juice though.
Massaging baby’s tummy in a gentle clockwise direction can also help get things moving, as well as help with discomfort they may be feeling. You can also lie the baby on their back and gently cycle their legs while holding their feet. If doing this seems to cause them pain or more discomfort then stop the action immediately and seek medical advice