Seeing your baby struggle with tummy troubles is hard to watch. Typically, a backed up baby is not a happy baby. If your little one is struggling with constipation, she might be fussy and noticeably uncomfortable, and her stomach will feel rather hard. Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do at home to make the going a little easier.
Is there anything a nice soak can’t fix? If your baby is having trouble, a warm bath might be the perfect solution. It’s comforting, and it gives the digestive system a little nudge to move things along. Adding in epsom salt, which is packed with magnesium, will relax your baby’s muscles and soften stools. You may want to check with a care provider beforehand, however, in case your baby has sensitive skin that might not respond well.
Most likely, you just got done personally dealing with nine months of constipation and were told that exercise helps. The same thing goes with babies! If your baby is on the move, try to get her to crawl to you. Surround her with colorful toys during tummy time to encourage her to move around more. Another effective method is to help her “bicycle.” To do this, lay her on her back, take her feet into your hands, and push one leg gently towards her belly and pull the other towards you, alternating with each pump. This Tour de France practice will help her body move things along.
If your baby is over six months old and has started solids, you may want to reconsider what she’s eating. High carb foods like bananas and white rice as well as proteins like meat can be very constipating. Try adding in high-fiber foods. Peaches, prunes, plums, and pears are all great options! You can substitute brown rice for white or offer some whole grain bread as well to ensure your baby is getting a healthy amount of fiber in her diet.
At Celebrate Birth, we strongly believe in the power of massage. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, but it can also do wonders in restoring the body and making it work at its full capacity. If your baby is struggling to let out gas, take your hand and gently press against her belly, making circular movements. This will release any trapped air that might obstruct your baby’s bowels. A foot massage can also help hit specific pressure points that will trigger the digestive system.
The Nest offers a class that focuses exclusively on infant massage. This skill has long-term benefits for both you and your baby including better bonding, lowered blood pressure and cortisol levels, and increased gut health. The instructor, our very own Licensed Massage Therapist Meredith Fisher, will teach you how to know your baby’s cues so you can offer the best relief. Through this practice, you’ll not only help your baby’s sensitive digestive system but also understand how to best respond to her other needs.
Constipation is unfortunately a common part of the baby stage, but through taking some steps, you can be prepared. When your little one shows the distress of backed up bowels, know these tactics. And remember, you are your baby’s best ally. Above all else, stay calm and patient, and you both will get through this!