Announcement: Using Baby Massage to Relieve Constipation

Discover the true meaning behind infant constipation and how to use baby massage to alleviate your babe’s discomfort. While it is true that most breast-fed babies rarely suffer infant constipation, there are some that do and parents seeking some simple ‘hands on” techniques can be effective and pleasurable for your colicky baby before having to seek advice from a medical practitioner.

After a warm bath, with a teaspoon of epsom or himalayan salts from your local health food store, you can lay your baby gently on her back and with a little olive or almond oil on your fingers, you can trace a gentle clock-wise circle about 2-4 inches from her belly button with your fingers. You may not know it, but you are following the natural circuit of the large intestine and encouraging peristalsis (the squeezing action of the intestines) for the purpose of promoting elimination. Make sure baby is reacting favorably to this kind of stimulation as severe cramping or colic isn’t a normal reaction. If you are a visual learner, here is a great short video on infant massage to illustrate the technique with real live wriggling infants.

If you prefer to read more about this technique, have a look at this “How To Give Your Baby A Loving Infant Massage” by Diane Cuesta.

You can also enhance the effectiveness of the massage by adding a few drops of specially formulated essential oils to your massage oil. “Heal Baby Constipation” is specially formulated with 100% natural essential oils, extracted from plants.  The formula is designed specifically for babies and children and is gentle, free from pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, and is completely organic.

The other baby massage technique that works well is the recumbent bicycle. While baby is on his back, you can take his legs and gently imitate the motion of riding a cosmic bike. This also acts to stimulate peristalsis in the same way that walking and movement helps us parents to stay regular. If, during the baby massage, you feel hard or knotty stool, or you don’t hear any gas bubbles when you put your ear to baby’s tummy, it may be a sign of an obstruction from too much stool built up and the next action would be a trip to your medical practitioner for the appropriate remedy or intervention.

Have fun with baby massage techniques on a regular basis, as this is a brilliant way to bond and connect with your infant. There are many benefits to massaging your baby. It stimulates growth-promoting hormones, and also increases the quantity of enzyme formation, which optimizes digestion. It can also improve a baby’s ability for deep sleep, which contributes to a more steady mood. A further study of the benefits of infant massage can by found in this “The Health Advantages Of Infant Massage” by Alex Hanson.Its never too early to get started and building in these health benefits way before your baby switches from breast to bottle or to solid foods, and that way she will be well primed before infant constipation ever becomes an issue.

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Assessing the symptoms of infant constipation

What is the normal frequency of bowel movements in infants? Well, the answer to this question depends on the individual babe and also whether they are breast or bottle fed. The molecular structure of breast-milk is more ideal for an infant to assimilate which means that in some cases, a breast fed baby may go several days without passing any stool at all as they are absorbing every ounce of the nutrients offered in nature’s perfect food. Babes who are transitioning to goat’s, cow’s, formula or solid foods, can show some colic-like symptoms, drawing up their legs, fussing and suffering more infant constipation, with harder, darker and unusually smelly stools.

If your babe is crying or turning red with the effort to push out stool, and you notice that the stool emitted is dry and pellet-like, you may need to adjust the new diet. You can safely increase the amount of water or temporarily offer more of the breast-milk while your babe’s plumbing adjusts to the new, bulkier foods that naturally emit more waste product. In some cases, you may need to apply infant massage techniques to your baby’s tummy in clock-wise, circular motion down towards the right of their abdomen where the colon dumps the waste into the rectum. A warm bath can help with infant constipation, too. If you are worried, and it’s been a few days since your baby passed stool, you may have to resort to a glycerin suppository for infants if things are more advanced and bunged up. The goal is for babe to pass 1 to 2 soft stools each day depending on the volume of milk, formula, or solid foods your babe is consuming.

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Why does Switching to Formula Cause Infant Constipation?

Your baby starts out by breathing amniotic fluid and being nourished by the placenta. Their systems are delicate and need time to adjust, after birth, to the flow of nutrition through their immature pipes. Shortly after birth, the peristaltic action of the small and large intestine is tried successfully with easily digested mother’s breast milk. This is the way nature wholly intended for us to nourish our babes. However, if the babe’s system is not afforded the opportunity to ramp up over time, receiving more and more solid food to the degree that they are maturing, colic and infant constipation can result, leaving you frantically searching for solutions and the cause for your infant’s constipation.

Most new parents are surprised to find out that it is perfectly normal for their breast fed babe to only pass stool once every week or even two! You see, the waste matter from this natural source of optimum nutrition amounts to very little. Think about it, if you ate only liquids derived from organic material that was ideally suited for your exact nutritional needs, chances are you’d experience the same phenomenon. The most amazing thing is that Mom’s breast milk is changing constantly to meet the precise needs of her baby. For example, if you are able to examine colostrum (the milk elicited right after birth) you would see the globules of rich fat floating on the top just like butter heated in a pan. Mothers with premature babes will produce colostrum for weeks instead of days like Moms with full term babies.

As your baby grows and changes, Mom’s breast milk changes in its constituent forms in order to not only nourish the babe, but also provide a natural laxative, maintaining the softness of the food-stuffs moving through the intestines that is effectually emitted as stool. It is very rare to find a constipated babe who is breast fed. In fact, it almost never happens. However, if this natural process is impinged upon due to illness or other untoward factors, the intuitive nature of your baby’s food source can be inhibited.

Infant constipation causes can be due to molecules that are too tightly packed in the formula. Sources of whey protein from cow’s milk can be too large at the molecular level for baby to handle causing pain and constriction in the intestines as your babe tries to adjust. If you think about it, cow’s milk is designed to grow a 1,200 lb. animal and a baby under 20 lbs. can interpret this food as a shock to its immature system. In some cases goat’s milk can be more ideally suited as the baby goat kid is a little more on par with a human baby’s size and patterns of growth.

Finding optimum sources of nutrition, other than breast milk can be a challenge for sure. Not all components of a mom’s breast milk can be ideally sourced in order to reproduce nature’s perfect food for the infant. Antibodies destroyed in the pasteurization process of cow or goat’s milk, or formula, is not ideal for your babe. If you think about it, a wet nurse was employed over the last 5-6,000 years for a babe not able to be suckled at his own mom’s breast. Unfortunately, infant formula derived from a powder or can, does not even resonate at the same energetic frequency of around 8 Hertz as the milk derived from mom does. This can make infant formula a tough food for babe to absorb. Soy formulas have been found to cause harm and allergies in babes and toddlers. It is a badly sourced protein structure, derived from a cheap cash crop, that inhibits the complete uptake of oxygen to the cell, causing not only infant constipation, but also breathing issues like asthma or even pneumonia in the babe later on.

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Infant Constipation : what are the potential side effects of drug treatments?

glycerine suppositories

When it comes to resolving infant constipation, most parents are reluctant to use drug therapy of any kind.  That pristine healthy babe that you hold in your arms relies wholly on your judgement with regards to her welfare.  It is a brutally tough decision to make if we feel like we’ve run out of options and contracting with our medical doctor to research drug protocols for our constipated infant or toddler can feel like we’ve somehow failed our trusting babe.

The truth is we can only make the best possible decision with the information we have.   Like you, most Physicians are also very reluctant to prescribe any chemical drug for a babe suffering infant constipation.  They know that the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals (CPS) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) informs the public that all clinical trials are tried on adults between the ages of 18 and 45.  Typically white males too, which means that even the professionals we rely for medical care aren’t apprised of the potential side effects of drugs in our children.

This resource provided to Idaho Physicians, Pharmacists, and other Healthcare Practitioners indicating the side effects of medications typically prescribed for pediatrics in the event of infant constipation.

You will very quickly see that the typical choice for your trusting infant is narrowed down to one.  Glycerin (the same ingredient found in most soaps) suppositories are the only possible choice as far as the medical establishment is concerned.  Here is some more information on this more innocuous root should you choose to go this way.  Just so you know this over-the-counter product is offered in child dose and size at your local druggist.

Please be sure to note that Glycerin suppositories are designed to irritate the lining of the colon, promoting peristalsis (squeezing) of the muscular walls and can be harmful if the babe is suffering a blockage or any respiratory ailments like pneumonia.  It is tough to realize that we can’t get away without potentially causing any harm when we are dealing in the realm of chemical drugs even with something as innocuous as soap.  But if you’ve ever had soap in your eye, you can imagine the sensation in a nerve rich area like your baby’s anus.

The importance of hydration in relieving infant constipation

Glycerine suppositories for infant constipation

One of the first things to consider in troubleshooting infant constipation is the issue of hydration.  It is important to note that when your baby transitions from the breast to formula, or milk, there can often be a temporary incidence of difficult, knotty stool.  Find out some safe, easy ways to help your babe “let go” from some of the leading experts including Connie Limon in her article entitled, “When to Call the Doctor for a Sick Baby.” In her article, she states, “Infant constipation is rarely due to an underlying condition. It usually occurs with the transition from breast milk to formula or from strained foods to table foods. However, if constipation persists, call your doctor.”

Jay Hoecker, MD., leading expert at the Mayo Clinic provides the essential guidelines for also safely hydrating your constipated babe.    Simply by adding some water or fruit juice to your baby’s diet at the appropriate age may be enough to restore normal bowel movements which should be anywhere from 2-4 per day depending on whether they are breast or bottle fed.

Another great idea is to use a small amount of water based lubricant to your child’s anus to ease the passage of the expectant stool, but also the mild stimulation may be enough of an invitation to get things moving again.  Dr. Hoecker advises never to give mineral oil, laxatives or enemas to infants.  Dr. Laura A. Jana, and Dr. Jennifer Shu also provide a very helpful range of suggestions for dealing with infant constipation in their book Heading Home With Your Newborn : From Birth To Reality.

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Dealing with infant constipation? “Poop Happens” in Chapter 6!

Find out what to expect if your newborn should suffer infant constipation from this clear and practical book,”Heading Home With Your Newborn“.  This must-have, non-judmental guidebook is cheerful, engaging, sympathetic and tremendously appreciated in a parent’s early weeks at home with a new babe. Keep it next to your rocking chair for easy access!

The advantage is that you will know what to do if your newborn suffers infant constipation in a casual clear style with great illustrations.  Think about it,  your babe is uncomfortable and colicky with her legs kicking with high pitched-crying at 2:00 a.m., and the stress causes your mind to blank from the little sleep you’ve had.  Wouldn’t you love knowing that this reassuring little resource is available at your finger tips day and night?

This essential guide was written my two mothers, who are also medical Doctors, with a bedside manner like a true loving sister.  If you would like to reap the benefits of no-fear parenting before “Heading Home With Your Newborn” and learn about infant constipation before it ever looms on your landscape, pick up your copy today!

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