Constipation in infants is an even worse experience than suffered by adults or older children. Infants are too young to understand why their belly hurts or to accurately articulate their symptoms. These simple steps can help eliminate both one off and recurring cases of infant constipation by implementing changes in diet and lifestyle without having to use medication, having your infant back happy and healthy in no time.
Infant Constipation Causes and Remedies
The digestive systems of infants are still developing and are far more susceptible to digestive system ailments such as constipation and diarrhea than adults or even older children. The delicate balance maintained by digestive bacteria can be easily knocked out of balance by seemingly innocent changes to diet, exercise and even lifestyle factors that you wouldn't necessarily associate with children such as stress.
Exposing an infant slowly to a wider range of foods is a natural progression as your infant progresses towards childhood. Although this is a needed development step in your child's life, the exposure to different foods can increase the risk of constipation until your child's digestive system is used to the new items in their diet. By adding new items slowly and ensuring that high levels of fiber and fluids are maintained will minimize the chances that your child will suffer constipation while their diet expands.
A long term poor diet can also contribute to infant constipation. Just like adults and older children, infants need a diet rich in fiber and water to help maintain regular bowel movements. A diet high in processed sugar including soft drinks, white bread, chips and sweets can lead to long term poor digestive system health and constipation. Ensuring your infant has a diet full of high fiber items such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and water while not depriving your special little boy or girl of the occasional treat is the best long term plan to eliminate constipation from your infant's life.
Exercise and Massage
Even for infants, physical activity is an essential ingredient to maintain a healthy digestive system. Infants need 15 â 30 minutes of physical activity and play a day to help eliminate constipation symptoms. If your infant is too young or too ill for such high levels of physical activity, you can assist by stimulating physical activity in their little bodies by laying you child on their back and performing the motions of moving for them, for example stimulate their legs by moving them backwards and forwards in a style similar to riding a bike. Similar activities can be undertaken with their arms and gentle messaging of their tummies will not only stimulate the abdominal muscles but will help to relieve the symptoms of constipation.
Changes of environment and even the seasons can contribute to constipation in infants. Unfortunately taking infants to new environments is a natural fact of life therefore it is even more important to keep a consistent diet and exercise regime for your infant during the changes of seasons or when you are on holidays to reduce the likelihood of your infant developing constipation or other digestive system ailments.
Constipation can be a symptom of other underlying medical problems though generally it is from rather benign ailments such as short term gastro viruses or bacteria infections. A bout of digestive system illness will seriously impact the delicate balance of digestive system bacteria naturally found inside the human body and there is a high likelihood of short term digestive problems, including diarrhea, constipation or flatulence until this balance is corrected. Expert medical advice should always be sought if the symptoms do not improve quickly after your child has endured illness.
In most circumstances, constipation in infants can be cured naturally and safely with common sense diet, exercise and lifestyle changes. If these changes do not relieve constipation symptoms or if your infant's constipation symptoms worsen than seek expert medical advice immediately.
Explaining constipation to infants can be difficult. One terrific resource that can help your child understand what is happening to them and why they do not feel well is It Hurts When I Poop! By Dr Howard Bennett. This fun and informative book could help your child overcome their constipation and toilet problems.
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