Is It Safe To Give Laxatives To Babies For Constipation?
Mothers always recommend to give natural laxatives for children. However, they don’t always resolve the constipation. What then should one do?
After all, constipation is one of the commonest problems across age groups, and babies are no exception. Is your little one cranky while pooping or says, “Mummy, it hurts while I poop?”; this is probably a sign of painful constipation that can be relieved using some natural laxatives for children.
How do I recognize my baby’s constipation?
It is very easy to identify constipation in your little one. Symptoms of constipation in children include
- Your baby poops lesser than before
- She passes hard and dry stools
- She cries while pooping
- You notice blood in diaper or on baby’s toilet seat
- Her belly becomes firm
- She refuses meals or feeds
What could be the reason of constipation in children?
There are many reasons why your little one might be constipated. These reasons vary with age but some of the commonest reasons are as listed here.
- Diet that is low in fiber
- Poor intake of water or liquids
- Withholding the stool for longer hours. This usually happens in case of strict potty training or avoidance of using toilets in certain places (school, public toilets etc) or if the child had a previous painful experience while pooping. This is one of the commonest causes of constipation in toddlers.
- Illness that might provoke vomiting or less intake of food or water may cause constipation
- Certain medications
- Premature babies
Breastfed babies when shifted to formula-feed or top feeds are likely to experience constipation as formula can harden up the poop. Thus, weaning should be done gradually to avoid constipation in an infant.
How can I help my constipated baby?
If you have noticed constipation in your baby for the very first time, slight changes in your baby’s feeding or diet can do the job for you.
- Water consumption
- If your baby is less than 1 year old, offer your baby about 80-120 ml of water or some fruit juice each day
- If your baby is above 1 year of age, encourage him to drink water or fluids to around half litre each day
- Dietary changes
- For younger babies, more of breast feed and less of formula feed does the trick. Including fiber rich food, like fruits, vegetables, wheat, barley or cereals, can help too. Avoiding formula feed or top feeds is the best medicine for infant constipation.
- For older kids including fruits and vegetables along with probiotics like yoghurt or curd can improve digestive health
- If your baby is below 1 year, gently rubbing or massaging their tummy can help in relieving the discomfort. You can also try and leg-bicycle your baby to give some passive exercise to your little one
- If your baby is above 1 year, you can encourage him to walk or ride a bicycle or perform some other exercises, which can help in improving the digestive health
- Milk – It is a natural liquid laxative that eases constipation
Fruits, milk and promoting water intake are the best natural laxatives for kids, which usually resolve a baby’s constipation in about a week’s time. Rarely do these techniques fail; then you may require pediatric laxatives.
Can one use laxatives for children?
Using laxatives for kids is not the recommended treatment, but if you have tried some of the mentioned techniques or home remedies without much results, you may have to use laxatives after consulting your pediatrician.
These childrens laxatives may include
- Glycerin suppository
- Psyllium powder or malt-barley extract
- Polyethylene glycol
- Milk of magnesia
- Docusate sodium
These laxatives do carry some amount of side effects and should not be used in children below 2 years of age unless prescribed by your pediatrician after a thorough examination.