Constipation in babies or young children is absolutely heart-rending to watch. My new book on natural healing for constipation goes into effective protocols for both adults and children. But for a baby under the age of two, the following comprehensive protocol may be all you need to resolve their constipation. It has worked very quickly for the babies of several friends of mine. Here is the original Question & Answer sequence that outlines the protocol:
Thank you so much for listening to our challenges with constipation. I totally appreciate your help. Our daughter is 7 months old – she has been constipated for approximately 3 months. For the last 3 months, she has had approximately a dozen unassisted bowel movements. We have to give her an enema for her to have a bowel movement. This happens usually every 3 or 4 days – sometimes we have waited over a week. However, the longer we wait the more agonizing it is for her.
When she was on just breastmilk, she had 3 – 4 movements/day – consistency like mustardy, fatty breast-milk movements. Now, I give her Enfamil A+ with Iron. There seems to be soy in the ingredients but otherwise I can’t tell. This is what we had when we were in the hospital. Also, we gave her pablum on the advice of both of our mothers to get her to sleep through the night. Perhaps a bit early at the 4 month mark.
We have tried many things to try and help her – prune juice, water, sugar water, fruit, vegetables, massage, (3 months of acupuncture and herbs – hundreds of dollars later…). Also at first we gave her suppositories, however it seemed to be a long term issue so we stopped to avoid dependency. Now we have to give her salt water enemas – otherwise she pushes and pushes to no avail – it is heart-wrenching to watch. The water seems to flush her system and enable her to pass stool more easily. It is painful for her. What she does pass are hard nuggets usually larger than a golf ball.
Our Chinese doctor says she has a weak spleen and digestive system. The acupuncture treatment, although good, seemed to be slow and we are running out of funds. Agh!! What to do? Jini, thanks so much for any thing you might be able to offer.
Your poor little darling – it must be agonizing to have her go through this! When I started my daughter on solids at 5.5 months, she became constipated for up to 6 days at a time and it nearly killed me to watch her pass those HUGE solid bowel movements. So, based on all my knowledge and personal experience, here’s my opinion on what I think would work for your girl:
1. Immediately get her started on Natren brand’s Life Start (B.infantis) probiotic. 1/4 tsp. 3 times per day. Once she’s pooping regularly, cut it back to twice a day, and then after two months of that, cut it back to only 1/8 tsp. twice a day. Once she’s eight months old, add Natren’s MegaDophilus (L.acidophilus) probiotic (1/8 tsp) as well. The best way to give her the probiotics is to put them into a little dish, dip your finger in the dish and then let her suck your finger, rub it on her gums, etc. Give it to her on an empty stomach – 15 mins. before food or formula. If you can’t give it to her this way, you can add it to her formula bottle, but it will be less effective that way. Remember to keep the probiotics refrigerated at all times. DO NOT substitute another brand of probiotic – it has to be Natren for both safety and efficacy issues. Once bowel function has normalized, continue on the probiotics for at least 3 more months. Thereafter, use only once a day, or sporadically as needed.
2. Iron is very constipating (has anyone told you this?) so if you can get an iron-free formula, do so. If you’re worried about her getting enough iron, then just puree some cooked spinach, chard, or seaweed for her (you can add fruit or yams to it if she doesn’t like the taste straight). I prefer raw goat’s milk or raw cow’s milk to any formula, so try her with that if possible – or you can also get formulas that have goat milk as the protein source – if you can’t find one locally, then check the Internet. If you’re still breastfeeding, it would be best to simply cut out the formula altogether and just