How to relieve constipation in babies quickly

Baby Constipation: How To Tell & How To Relieve Using Home Remedies

Constipation, for some babies, is just a natural part of growing up.

It may occur if they’ve eaten something different that doesn’t agree with them, if they’re switching between baby formulas with different ingredients, or moving up to solid food and aren’t consuming enough fluid.

In most cases, it’s easy to resolve with home remedies, if you know how.

First, How To Tell If A Baby Is Constipated

sugared water for baby constipation

Babies should poop every day. If you notice a change in their frequency or the consistency of the poop, it could mean that they’re constipated. Look out for:

  • Pooping less than four times per week.
  • More solid poop.
  • Small, round pellets.
  • Noticeable discomfort when pooping.
  • Excessive gas.
  • Loss of appetite.

What Are The Reasons For Baby Constipation

Reasons For Baby Constipation

Babies often become constipated due to changes in their diet. Breast milk is relatively easy to digest because this is their initial, natural food source; it needs to be easily digestible as it’s when their digestive system is at its most delicate.

However, if your baby switches to formula and later, on to more processed foods, it can take a while for their digestive system to register the change.

Constipation occurs in around 15% of babies and is a natural part of growing up. 

When Should You Worry?

Constipation can be a natural part of growing up for some babies as they develop their digestive systems.

However, if you notice regular constipation, blood in their poop, weight loss, or a loss of appetite, you should take your baby to the doctor immediately for an assessment.

Quick Home Remedies For Baby Constipation

when can babies have juice for constipation

Some quick-fire solutions to cure minor constipation are:

  • Have a warm bath. The sensation of bathing helps to loosen your baby’s bowel. 
  • Drink more fluids. If you’ve recently switched to more solid food, ensure you’re including lots of water in their diet. 
  • Baby cycling. Lay your baby on their back and move their legs around in a cycling motion. 
  • Baby massage. Massage your baby’s tummy in a clockwise, circular motion.

Other Remedies

home remedies for baby constipation

Orange Juice For Baby Constipation

Orange juice is one of the best cures for constipation. You should dilute this so it’s half water and half orange and give this to your baby alongside their regular meals. It shouldn’t replace their meals. 

The extra fluid coupled with the high fiber content of orange juice will help to stimulate their bowel. Orange juice is also full of a flavanone called naringenin which is known to ease any discomfort caused by constipation.

Plus, your baby will love the sweet taste, so giving them orange juice shouldn’t be a problem. 

Be careful to monitor their stool closely and ease off the orange juice when they start to poop normally again. Too much could have the opposite effect and cause diarrhea if you’re not careful. 

Oatmeal For Baby Constipation

Oatmeal is excellent for a baby with constipation. Mixing a high-water content oatmeal allows your baby to take in lots of fluid and the single grain oat, which is a natural laxative and full of fiber.

It’s a great choice if your baby is just about to start eating more solid foods as it can act as the first step on the ladder and works as a preventative measure as well as a remedy for constipation. 

Brown Sugar For Baby Constipation

Brown sugar should be given in a water solution just before a feed to soften the stool. You shouldn’t give your baby sugar by itself as it’s hard for them to swallow and can cause choking, and will also be bad for their gums when directly applied. 

Instead, boil some water and let it cool completely. Add half a teaspoon of brown sugar to half a glass of the water and allow it to dissolve. 

You should give this to your baby three times a day immediately before feeding until their poop softens and becomes easy to pass. 

Warm Bath For Baby Constipation

A warm bath is the most natural and enjoyable solution to constipation for your baby. The warm water and motion of the water movement stimulates your baby’s bowels and makes it less painful when they poop. 

You should try splashing around a little near their bum to create waves that mimic the bowel’s movement, and it encourages your baby to try and poop because it feels more natural. 

This will only work for very minor constipation issues though. If you’ve tried this a couple of times and you’re still witnessing obvious discomfort, then it’s time to take more drastic action. 

Chamomile Tea For Baby Constipation

Chamomile tea is an excellent laxative for babies over six months old. It shouldn’t be given to newborns or any baby younger than six months. 

It’s best to give the tea to your baby warm but not hot, as the taste can be off-putting when cold. You shouldn’t give more than 15 milliliters 3 times per day to stabilize their digestion. 

The tea’s gentle effects relieve any discomfort and soften the stool, but more importantly, don’t go too far the other way as they can also be an effective remedy for diarrhea and colic.

For this reason, chamomile tea can be a constant in your baby’s life after the first six months, and it should improve their digestion as they grow up and try new food groups. 

Chamomile has also been known to be a boost for the baby’s immune and digestive system if taken by the mother during pregnancy or breastfeeding. 

Prune Juice For Baby Constipation

Prune juice is great for babies over six months of age if taken in small doses. It’s a natural source of bran which provides lots of fiber to keep your baby pooping regularly. 

However, too much prune juice could irritate your baby’s intestinal tract and cause longer-term health issues, especially if given when they’re too young. 

Twenty-five milliliters twice a day just before food is enough, and the treatment shouldn’t continue after your baby’s constipation is resolved. 

Applesauce For Baby Constipation

Applesauce is absolutely one to AVOID when it comes to constipation. While apple juice contains fiber to help pass poop, applesauce is actually a culmination of the whole of the apple, rather than just the juice. 

This means it contains a high pectin level, which binds poop and gives it more body. Because of its firming qualities, it can actually cause constipation rather than relieving it. 

Avocado For Baby Constipation

Avocados contain a high amount of potassium and fiber and are great for babies over nine months old to help relieve constipation. Their taste and texture also make them the ideal baby food, and your baby will love it. 

Although avocado can help to relieve constipation, you can feed a couple of spoonsful to your baby every couple of days as common practice. This can help to prevent constipation too. 

Make sure you don’t feed avocado to a baby under nine months though, as the high potassium levels can cause issues with your baby’s under-developed intestinal tract. 

Sugar Water For Baby Constipation

White sugar can be provided in precisely the same way as brown sugar, although it’s not quite as effective. 

Adding half a teaspoon of white sugar to half a glass of cooled, boiled water will soften your baby’s poop and allow them to pass it. 

It’s great to remedy constipation but isn’t a long-term solution or preventative measure as excessive sugar can cause diarrhea if it’s consumed too often. 

Three times per day before food will be more than enough, and you should stop the treatment when you see results. 

How long can a baby wear a diaper at night

Baby Wearing A Diaper At Night: How Long, When To Change & More

Changing diapers throughout the day seems to be a never-ending task. It feels like you’ve only just changed one, and they suddenly need changing again. 

However, changing a diaper during the night is a whole different process. Your baby needs their sleep, and actually, it can be more detrimental to their development if you constantly wake them for a change.

In fact, you can leave your baby all night without changing their diaper if necessary, and it can even be better for them. 

So, Can A Baby Go the Whole Night Without A Diaper Change?

Can A Baby Go the Whole Night Without A Diaper Change

Yes! At first, you’ll be overly keen to keep changing their diaper to make sure they’re comfortable, but it’s a myth that they need changing more often when they’re younger.

Yes, they’ll wet their diaper reasonably often, but they usually don’t even notice when they’re sleeping.

A nighttime diaper is designed to last for up to 12 hours without a change as long as it’s just wet. Their heightened absorption rate (20-25% more effective) will allow you and your baby to sleep throughout the night without having to worry.

What Happens As Your Baby Grows?

Your baby’s bladder will naturally get stronger as they get older, and they’ll be able to recognize when they need to go.

This is when they’ll start to wake up and let you know about it. An older baby is actually a more demanding one. They know when they need changing and will likely scream to make you aware of it.

Again, changing a baby due to this will give them the impression that you’ll change them whenever they cry. You want to avoid this habit. Check if they’re okay, then go right back to bed. As long as your diaper is absorbent, there’s nothing to worry about. 

Should You Let Your Baby Sleep In A Poopy Diaper?

Do you wake a sleeping baby if they pooped

Unfortunately, diapers can only do so much and won’t soak up poop. And the acid in baby poop can affect your baby’s skin and cause uncomfortable rashes.

Usually, if your baby has pooped in their sleep, they’ll wake up and let you know that they need a change. 

You should change a poopy diaper ASAP to keep their skin clean and healthy. However, poopy diapers during the night are likely to clear up long before wet diapers.

When babies grow, a combination of their developing muscles and more solid food means that the baby poop isn’t as soft, meaning they cannot pass it without waking up.

Their body will gradually start to retain it until they’re able to wake up in the morning. Excessive changing of wet diapers during the night can actually delay this process, and your baby will rely on you to change poopy diapers for longer.

“But I Feel Guilty For Not Changing Their Diaper”

Guilt is a common emotion for new parents to feel. It’s natural to want your baby to feel comfortable all the time. However, constant disturbances overnight can affect their sleeping pattern and may result in them having sleeping problems.

As long as you’re not leaving them with a poopy diaper, it’s perfectly acceptable to let the diaper do its job. They’re specially equipped for absorption, so your baby will be completely fine until morning. 

How Often Should You Change A Baby’s Diaper At Night?

my baby is asleep but has a dirty nappy

Your baby will only need a diaper change if they’ve pooped overnight. This will likely happen at the beginning of the night, before they’re fully asleep, or just as they’re about to wake up in the morning.

This is because the act of pooping requires more muscle control which your baby won’t have during sleep. 

If you need to change their diaper due to this, then it’s likely to only be once during the night. If they just have a wet diaper, this can be left until morning – so there would be no need to change.

But How Will You Know When Your Baby Needs Changing During the Night?

That’s just it; you won’t. You should always have a baby monitor next to your baby’s bed to check for any sounds of discomfort. However, they will usually wet their diaper while they’re asleep.

Babies don’t gain control of their bladder until around two and a half years old, and at night, they may not wake up when they feel the need to pee until they’re 4 or 5 years old – even after a diaper has become unnecessary during the day.

Because they’ll likely remain asleep while they wet their diaper, you won’t even know about it until the next morning. But even they pooped, you’ll most likely hear about it.

Top Tips For A Diaper Change Free Night

Should I change a dirty nappy if baby is asleep
  • Always make sure the diaper fits well. Babies lose mass overnight. Their stomach visibly reduces as they digest any milk that they’ve had.
    You should make sure that the diaper is stretchy to allow it to change shape with your baby. This prevents any leakages and means that your baby will feel comfortable for longer. 
  • Buy good quality nighttime diapers. Nighttime diapers need to be super absorbent to soak up any pee.
    Your baby may wet their diaper two or even three times per night, so you need a diaper that’s equipped to absorb all that moisture. Good quality diapers will make your baby’s night feel dry. 
  • Diaper rash is one of the main reasons that parents obsessively change diapers. A good rash cream with no additives or perfume can remove any diaper rash, despite leaving your baby with a wet diaper at night. 

How To Change A Baby’s Diaper During The Night

Should I change diaper if baby is sleeping

Ultimately, your baby getting the right amount of sleep is much more important than changing a wet diaper.

However, if you do need to change a diaper (whether it’s poopy, or they’re seemingly uncomfortable), you should be as stealthy as possible – your main aim is to do a complete change without waking them at all. 

  • Don’t turn on the light (unless you absolutely have to). You want to keep the nighttime ora, so your baby doesn’t fully wake up during the change. If they wake up, you can kiss goodbye to your good night’s sleep. 
  • Your baby will typically sleep on their back, so they’re already in the optimum position for a change. Gently unwrap the diaper and slide from underneath their legs. 
  • Warm up a wet diaper wipe before the change. A cold wipe is more likely to wake them. 
  • If your baby does wake up during the changing process, you can use this as an early introduction to potty training. Although you can’t punish your baby for not controlling their bladder – they can’t help it – it shouldn’t be an opportunity for fun during the night. Your baby has to not associate wetting their diaper at night with a positive experience. Make the change as quick and silent as possible and slip back to bed. They’ll soon fall back to sleep.

Summary

Your baby doesn’t need you to change their diaper during the night if they’re just wet. In fact, leaving them alone will actually benefit their sleep cycle and develop bodily functions for the future. 

Unless your baby has a poopy diaper, resist the urge to keep them constantly dry and make sure you invest in high-quality nighttime diapers to help them feel comfortable. 

is vicks vaposteam safe for babies

Is Vicks VapoSteam Safe For Babies: What About VapoRub & BabyRub

The truth is, most babies get sick A LOT. 

As their immune systems begin to develop and they start to navigate the world, your baby is undoubtedly going to come down with a common cold or two. While this isn’t necessarily a cause for panic, it can be pretty stressful for new parents.  

And since babies can’t use most over-the-counter cold medication, finding some baby-safe relief for your little one can be a struggle.

So, more and more moms are interested in using vaporizers as a cold/flu treatment at home, and Vicks VapoSteam, particularly for babies, has been dominating the market. That being said, its safety for young children has been consistently called into question.

Here, I have put together everything you need to know about the safety concerns associated with Vicks Vaposteam for babies and some easy (and better) alternatives.

Of course, it’s always best to consult your pediatrician before using any methods on your infant or young child.  

What Is Vicks VapoSteam? 

vicks vaposteam for babies

Vicks Vaposteam is an inhalant pod that is added to your standard vaporizer. It is used to increase the effectiveness of a vaporizer for cold relief use by using essential oils and active medicinal ingredients.

The formula was developed to relieve sore throats, suppress coughs, and help open the breathing passages.

In a nutshell, you can thank natural ingredients such as eucalyptus, turpentine, and cedarwood oils, as well as menthol and nutmeg, for most of this product’s soothing and medicinal effects.

However, medicinal ingredients such as Thymol and Camphor are also added for antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects. And this is where it gets complicated.  

So, Is Vicks VapoSteam Safe For Babies?  

Long story short, no, Vicks Vaposteam is not safe for infants. Safety guidelines do not recommend the use on anyone below two years old. There are some safer alternatives, however, depending on the age of your child.  

Why Vicks VapoSteam Isn’t Safe For Toddlers Under 2 Years Old

The medicinal ingredient camphor is used to promote pain relief and relieve dry coughs. However, it poses a serious risk to small children, especially young babies.

Camphor absorbs extremely quickly in young children and can cause a wide range of adverse effects.

You may notice that it irritates your child’s airways, increases mucus to the point of extreme excess, or worsens “cold symptoms” such as nasal congestion. Prolonged exposure and camphor poisoning could even lead to brain damage.

Some studies even show that camphor can be lethal to babies.

Is Vicks VapoRub Safe For Babies?

Is Vicks VapoRub Safe For Babies

Some parents might wonder if Vicks VapoRub is a reasonable alternative to the vaporizer version, but it is not. The active ingredient, camphor, is consistent between both products.

Camphor is also easily absorbed by the nose and skin, which is really dangerous, as pointed out in the previous part.

As is true with vapor containing camphor, poisoning through absorption could also lead to nausea/vomiting, stomach aches, and irritability. On the mild end of the spectrum.

More severe reactions are also possible based on the level of exposure and the age/weight of the child.

It’s also worth mentioning that products like VapoSteam and VapoRub should be kept far out of babies’ and childrens’ reach, as ingestion could lead to very severe side effects.

Children who eat products containing camphor could suffer seizures, liver damage, or even fatality. 

Is Vicks BabyRub Safe For Babies?

Vicks has released a baby version of the rub, called Vicks BabyRub. This pediatric alternative is not suitable for an infant. However, Vicks Babyrub is considered to be safe for babies under three months old or ten pounds.

Vicks VapoSteam vs Vicks BabyRub

Vicks VapoSteam is a medicated vaporized treatment, while Vicks Baby Rub is a non-medicated topical ointment.  

You can apply the ointment by gently massaging it onto your baby’s chest, neck, back, and feet in small doses. This product aims not to treat a common cold but to help make your baby more comfortable and less agitated.

Still, it will have similar effects to the vaporized product, reducing coughs, throat irritation, and opening the airways. Most importantly, this product does not contain camphor. Instead, it is made of coconut oil, aloe, and paraffin wax. 

Vicks BabyRub Safety Measures

Is Vicks Babyrub Safe For Babies

While Vicks Vaposteam is not recommended for any baby below the age of two, the pediatric version, BabyRub, is considered safe for older babies, defined as above three months old and a minimum of 10lbs.

That being said, you will want to take some things into account to ensure safe usage: 

  • Always be sure to cover your baby’s hands and feet to avoid ingestion (baby socks and mittens work great!) and avoid putting it on areas that could easily be licked.
  • Semi- loose clothing is necessary for the vapor to reach the nasal passage and soothe your baby effectively, but do not use anything loose enough to pose a hazard.
  • Make sure your baby is not allergic to the product before covering them in it and having them breathe it in. You can do this by applying a tiny amount to the skin on the back of their hand. As long as a rash or skin irritation does not appear after 1-2 hours, you should be okay to continue.
  • Do not put the ointment on or near your baby’s eyes, forehead, or nose to avoid irritation and respiratory distress.
  • If you have any concerns, cease use immediately and contact your pediatrician. If your child is experiencing a severe allergic reaction or respiratory distress, call 911 and seek emergency care right away.  

Alternative Congestion Relief For Babies & Toddlers

is vicks vaposteam safe for toddlers

Whether you have a young infant who is not eligible to use any of the aforementioned products, or you are simply interested in a safe, natural alternative, we have good news!

There are plenty of other ways to help make your baby more comfortable as they fight off their common cold.

Natural Vapor Rub For Babies

Why not make your own vapor rub ointment for your baby? This way, you know exactly what you are putting on their skin. All you need is:

  • Two tablespoons of beeswax.
  • Some eucalyptus oil.
  • Some coconut oil. 

Simply melt the wax, add a few drops (not more than four) of the essential oil, and one tablespoon of the coconut oil.

Then, it’s as easy as mixing it together and storing it in an air-tight container. You can refrigerate the mixture for a cooling effect, but this is not necessary.  

Disclaimer: Make sure that you are using high-quality, pure essential oils when making ointment from your baby, and follow the same precautions as you would with the BabyRub to avoid ingestion.

In the United States, essential oils are not regulated by the FDA, meaning they are not guaranteed to be safe for consumption, no matter what you may read online.

Topical use is okay in most circumstances, but you can always consult your doctor if you have any questions. Overly repetitive use may cause airway irritation.

Saline Nasal Drops For Babies

Lots of saline nasal drops are safe for infants! After using a common syringe or “snot sucker” to clear your baby’s nasal passages, you can likely use an over-the-counter saline nasal drop.

Ask your doctor to recommend one that is safe for young children, or look at the approved ages on your standard drug store brands and be sure to follow safe-use instructions precisely.

Vaporizers And Humidifiers For Babies

A plain old humidifier will have many of the same benefits as VapoSteam, without the extra (unsafe) ingredients.

A cool-mist humidifier is safe for babies since there is no risk of burns, and the added moisture can soothe irritation in the nose and throat and relieve headaches without the worry.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, choosing a cold relief product that is safe for your baby is of the utmost importance.

Taking the time to understand the ins and outs of a product, safe use instructions, and the alternative options is already a huge success- so congratulations, mama!

All that’s left to do is consult with your pediatrician and choose the cold relief option that is right for your baby. Before you know it, your baby’s cold will be over, and you’ll feel confident that you can make him/her comfortable in a breeze the next time they get sick.