Simply put, constipation is a condition where waste has become harder and drier than usual, making it difficult and even painful to go to the toilet. If your infant is suffering from this condition, this may be indicated by evident discomfort when trying to empty their bowels, or they may not go to the toilet as often as they usually do.
A baby’s behavior can change when they are constipated, the most common signs you may notice are irritability, frequent crying, hardening of the stomach and constant straining when trying to pass stools. You may also see your baby pulling her legs up, close to her tummy and becoming red-faced.
The harshness of constipation varies from child to child -it mostly depends on the infant’s diet. For example, a breastfed baby often passes soft yellowish stools, many times a day. Where a formula feed baby is likely to have harder, darker stools and poo less frequently. Constipation most commonly occurs in infants when they start their weaning journey; as introducing solid foods can affect your baby’s digestive system; their intestines need to get used to administrating new foods and regulating a new bowl movement. At first, this may cause the digestive system to become sluggish; this can cause hardening of stools and abdominal pains; which in turn leads to constipation.
It can be burdensome treating constipation in infants, but prune juice can help. This wonder juice is an effective treatment for softening stools and easing tummy pains in infants. Prunes are abundant in Sorbitol and Polyphenol; these compounds are beneficial for promoting laxative properties; they help elevate moisture in the baby’s intestines; which in turn helps them to pass their waste more efficiently. It’s also an ideal drink to help promote health and well-being in infants too; due to the many vitamins and minerals found in prunes; these include Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Manganese and Iron; making this drink ideal for boosting brain development and overall health.
In general, prune juice shouldn’t be given to babies under six months of age. This is because the digestive system isn’t mature enough to digest it; which alternately could make the problem worse. If your baby is younger the six months, it’s wise to consult your doctor or health professional before giving prune juice for constipation.
Prune Juice Recipe
Homemade prune juice is simple, easy to make and much more nutritious than the processed drinks you find on the shelves. So why not give it a try?
65g / 1/2 cup dried pitted prunes (soaked overnight)
500ml / 2 cups water
In a large pan boil the water, then add the prunes and simmer for five minutes. Allow to cool.
Once cooled, place the prunes and water into a blender, blend until smooth.
Using a sieve, drain the mixture to remove any residue. Pour the mixture into a 500ml container and give it a good stir.
You can give the juice to your baby straight away; the rest will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Guidelines: It’s advised to dilute 25% of prune juice with 75% water. You can start by introducing a small amount of liquid to your baby – we recommend 2-3 ounces to start, but you can give up to 6 ounces a day.
Caution: Always speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before administering prune juice.