Friday, 1 July 2011

Constipation in Babies


Many babies suffer from this complaint. So much so that it is often considered quite 'normal' . But there is always a reason why and it is better to solve the underlying problem rather than giving regular symptomatic relief .

What do I mean by constipation?

Constipation does not only refer to being in pain, having a distended abdomen, or being in pain producing a bowel movement. It can also refer to painless infrequency of bowel movements and general inactivity of the bowel, even when it seems not to bother your baba.
A healthy bowel is one which eliminates waste matter regularly!

There is a difference between breast-fed babies and bottle-fed babies when it comes to frequency of bowel movements as it is more common for breast fed babies to have less movements. However, Mum should note  in the case of an infrequent bowel movement, whether the baby's abdomen is soft, their appetite remains healthy and has not reduced in any way (it is easy to attribute a reduced appetite to teething and other complaints), whether there are any noises, gurgling, gas or fermentation in the baby's belly, and whether the consistency of the stool remains soft, and whether there is any straining when the baby does have a bowel movement. If none of these symptoms are present, it is probably okay. 

Here are some suggestions of homeopathic remedies to use if your baby becomes constipated:

Silica 6x/ 6c/ or 1 dose only if 30c. Use this if baby's poohs are hard and small and dark and are produced with much strain and effort. Also if you notice that the stool does actually recede after baby has tried to go (if you catch baby poohing!) . Use if the constipation starts up coinciding with difficult and slow teething. And particularly if your baby's appetite is poor and they are not gaining weight satisfactorily.

Calc-carb 30c. This is useful if your baby seems to be not bothered at all in any way by being constipated and the bowel just seems inactive. This baby is a placid type, who gets a bit sweaty round the back of the head, is pudgy with chubby cheeks and contented. The constipation may accompany teething as well or not. And they may have trouble digesting milk or be sensitive to lactose or milk protein.

Lycopodium 30c. This is where the baby will be irritable with the constipation, and very 'gassy' lots of burping and/or farting alongside the complaint. Instead of having a poor appetite, they seem to never get enough to satisfy them and particularly get hungry at night-time. They will also be clingy and fussy in general from the discomfort and their abdomen will be distended or hard as a rock.

Nux-vomica 30c. Give this to an impatient, determined baby! Who can be irritable but is fiercely independent rather than clingy and who is experiencing alot more frustration with developmental milestones than other babies. Give this also where the baby has had any conventional medicines that have upset the system or where the baby has had to have had laxative to produce a bowel movement. This baby will be trying to go the loo and will strain and push but nothing will come out and all their efforts will be in vain.

Also, if your baby is constipated and has had a number of antibiotics use Infant Probiotics (I find the Udo's Choice Brand excellent)  to restore the friendly bacteria in the bowel and aid bowel health. But only give the probiotic after an antibiotic rather than during their treatment. It is always a waste of money to take probiotics while taking an anti-biotic - the antibiotic kill the probiotics off as fast as they go in. The infant probiotics are perfectly safe and can be mixed in with yoghurt for older babies on solids.

Breast-feeding Mums remember to check your own diet and make sure your baby doesn't have a cow's milk sensitivity and make sure you, yourself are not dehydrated and drink plenty of water and eat fruit. Do not over-do the fibre in your own diet though.

When babies are on solids as well as milk feeds - this is an obvious one, I know...but give them fruit ( not too much banana) and remember to give them water as well.

Constipation can have an overall effect on depressing immunity, toxifying the body, holding back development, preventing assimilation of nutrients and contributing to poor growth and picky eaters; so it is not a 'small' complaint in relation to your baby's overall health and well-being!

There are many other natural  remedies and tips for alleviating constipation as well as homeopathy but that is for another day!

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