A baby is constipated when she is uncomfortable due to her inability to pass a stool, and when her stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Usually breast-fed babies have fewer bowel movements overall; an exclusively breast-fed baby may pass a stool only once a week.
- Firm, dry, dark, hard stools
- Pain when passing stools
- Swollen or loose intestines, such that muscles cannot move waste
- Lack of adequate fiber in diet
- Lack of exercise
- Formula that does not agree with your baby’s system
- Contracted feces because of excess yang food, such as meat, eggs, cheese, fat, flour products, and refined grains
- Irregular habits—being rushed during regular bathroom times
- Emotional stress, such as pressure to toilet train or arrival of a new baby
- Breast-feed your baby.
- If breast-feeding, observe your own diet and how certain foods affect your baby. Consuming alcohol, dairy, gluten, and caffeine can cause a reaction.
- Avoid animal foods, such as meat, eggs, and cheese.
- Offer whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and fermented foods.
- Exercise and massage your baby regularly.
- When toilet training, respond to your child’s urge to go to the toilet, and try to relax throughout the process.
Constipation: Suggestions for Care
Exercise can ease constipation. Move your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion. A warm bath can relax her body and get her system moving.
Food and Remedies for Nursing Mother or Baby Older than Six Months
Be sure that your child is well-hydrated. If your baby is breast-fed, the nursing mother can drink more liquid. If you use formula, your baby’s digestive system may not agree with the brand, so changing formulas may be helpful.
- Hara–maki (belly warmer)
- Ginger compress or warm water bottle
Foods to Emphasize
Cooked or raw fruits, such as dried fruits, raisins, prunes, apricots, applesauce, and concentrated fruit spread. Add fiber to her diet in the form of whole grains, warm porridge, vegetables (especially green vegetables), and vegetable juices. Add fermented foods and probiotic booster. Other remedies to relieve constipation are ground flaxseed or flaxseed oil added to food and kuzu.
Foods to Avoid
Processed oils, dairy foods, meat, eggs, and sugar.
Essential Oils for Baby
Acupoints for Baby
- Large Intestine 11
- Stomach 25, 36
Reiki for Baby
For two or more minutes, place your hands on the following parts of your child’s body: abdomen and lower back.
Massage for Baby
- Massage the abdomen clockwise while facing your baby.
- Massage the back of your baby’s tailbone and lower back.
- Massage all over her body (shoulders, arms, legs, and neck) for relaxation.
The number of stools your baby passes in a week is not as significant as her overall condition and comfort. Observe your baby. Call your health care provider if your baby suffers chronic constipation or has blood or mucus in her stool.
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.