The bowel movements of a newborn start with a dark and sticky, tar-like stool, which is called meconium. After a few days of birth, the stools become mustard-colored in breast-fed babies and tan-colored in formula-fed babies. It is usually soft, seedy and runny. In general, the frequency of bowel movements in newborns is high, as they pass stools after every feeding. This frequency reduces as the baby reaches one month of age. Babies who are in the age group of one to four months have three to four bowel movements per day. The frequency reduces to one or two bowel movements, as they start solid foods.
As compared to formula-fed babies, breast-fed babies pass more stools per day. Some babies may not pass stools for several days, and this condition is rare in exclusively breast-fed babies. A few days (2 to 3) without any bowel movement is not a cause of worry, in case of infants. If it is accompanied with other symptoms, like irritability, vomiting or constant crying; you have to consult the pediatrician immediately.
It is a misconception, that a baby who does not pass stools for more than two to three days, is suffering from constipation. Even though, the baby passes stools at an interval or three to four days, the condition is not considered constipation, as long as the stools are soft and watery. If the stools are very hard, dry and pellet-like; and the baby is straining a lot to pass it, the condition is termed infant constipation. It is normal for an infant to grunt and strain while passing stools; but if he is experiencing constipation, he will strain more to pass the dry and hard stools.
He may also develop bloating and loss of appetite. The baby may become irritable, and may also have a tight abdomen. In some cases, there will be blood streaks in the hard stools, that may also cause anal fissures. Infant constipation can be addressed with exercises, massage, dietary changes, and home remedies. If you are looking for a home remedy for infant constipation, prune juice is a good option.
Prune Juice for Infant Constipation
Prune juice is extracted from steamed prunes. This extract is very rich in fiber content, and is popular for its laxative effect. It is one of the widely accepted home remedies for constipation. In case of infant constipation, prune juice is found to be highly beneficial. It can be fed to babies, who are above the age of six months. Mix one ounce of prune juice with one ounce of water and feed the baby, twice a day. Strain it before use. This solution should be given to the infant, in addition to the daily food or breast milk. While natural, diluted prune juice is preferred for infants; you may also use store-bought juice.
Avoid adding sugar to the diluted prune juice, which is meant for the baby. This solution will loosen up the bowel and triggers bowel movement. In case of newborns and babies below the age of six months, consult your pediatrician regarding constipation remedies.
Prune juice is an age-old home remedy for constipation in babies, but some babies may refuse to ingest it. In such cases, you may resort to other remedies, like gentle tummy massage, warm baths and exercises like, leg bicycling.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.