Remedies for Constipation in Newborn Babies

There are a number of remedies that can be put in place to relieve constipation in newborn babies. Get to know them.
Remedies for Constipation in Newborn Babies

Last update: 11 December, 2021

Constipation in newborn babies isn’t uncommon. If this problem isn’t solved spontaneously, it can put the health and well-being of little ones at risk. For this reason, it helps to know what to do to ease the discomfort.

First of all, it’s important to note that constipation occurs for different causes and that in most cases, it’s a functional problem without an associated anatomical defect. However, other times, there may be congenital alterations in the digestive tract that condition intestinal transit.

Here’s everything you need to know about constipation in newborn babies and how to help them pass their stools.

Causes of constipation in newborn babies

A woman holding a diaper.

In general, constipation in newborns is associated with the components of formula milk. For this and other reasons, it’s best to offer breastfeeding from birth, as it has proven to be the best food for babies.

On the other hand, dehydration can also be the cause of digestive transit disorders. According to a study published in the journal Jornal de Pediatria, ensuring an optimal daily consumption of water favors the lubrication of the bolus and helps it to descend effortlessly towards the anus. In the case of newborns, the source of hydration is the milk itself (you should never give your newborn water).

Finally, there are other less frequent causes of constipation in newborns:

  • Anal fissures, which are associated with severe dermatitis
  • The immaturity of the digestive tract, typical of premature babies

Tips to relieve constipation in newborns

It’s important to note that constipation in newborns doesn’t usually occur when they’re exclusively breastfed. For this reason, in the case of opting for feeding with formula milk, you need to choose one specially prepared to avoid or improve this problem. For example, those that contain probiotics inside.

At this age, glycerin enemas or laxatives aren’t recommended, unless there’s a precise medical indication. Using these remedies without proper training could increase damage to the digestive tract and compromise the child’s digestion or well-being.

Home remedies against constipation in newborns

In addition to nutritional solutions, there are some home remedies to help babies improve constipation. Among them, warm water baths or the application of a warm seed bag on the belly. Both can help relieve pain and stimulate intestinal transit.

Baby-wearing is another mechanism capable of offering great benefits, as carrying the baby close to the mother’s body favors the optimal physiological posture for evacuation.

Another option to consider is baby massage, as you can stimulate the transit by means of gentle circular movements on the baby’s belly. The hands should move clockwise, and it’s important to apply an oil to avoid friction. An important detail to keep in mind is that the massage shouldn’t be practiced with cold hands.

A crying newborn.

It’s possible to relieve constipation in newborns

As you’ve seen, constipation in newborns is a relatively common problem, especially in formula-fed babies. In any case, these simple remedies that we’ve discussed can help you improve the problem and provide greater well-being to your little one.

If, despite putting them into practice, you feel that the constipation isn’t solved, it’s best to consult your doctor. There are drugs that can facilitate the evacuation of stools, but they should never be used without the consent of a professional. Even so, it’s always preferable to opt for natural remedies.

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  • Mosca, F., & Giannì, M. L. (2017). Human milk: composition and health benefits. La Pediatria medica e chirurgica : Medical and surgical pediatrics, 39(2), 155. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.4081/pmc.2017.155
  • Boilesen, S. N., Tahan, S., Dias, F. C., Melli, L., & de Morais, M. B. (2017). Water and fluid intake in the prevention and treatment of functional constipation in children and adolescents: is there evidence? Jornal de pediatria, 93(4), 320–327. Disponible en: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jped.2017.01.005