- What is Prune Juice?
- Prune Juice for Infant Constipation
- Causes and Symptoms of Baby Constipation
- Recommended Dosage of Prune Juice for Babies
- Should You Give Prune Juice Daily to Your Baby?
- How to Use Prune Juice to Relieve Constipation in Babies
- Other Health Benefits of Prune Juice for Infants
- Are There Any Side-Effects to Giving Prune Juice to Babies?
- Methods to Prepare Prune Juice at Home
Last Updated on
Caring for babies can be a difficult task, as they cannot communicate what they are feeling. As a parent, you are required to pay constant attention to your child, to notice any irregularities in their behaviour and schedule. Since babies can only cry if anything is wrong, the task of finding the problem can be difficult.
Constipation is a common problem among infants, as they take time to adjust to the rigours of digestion. The child may be in a constant state of discomfort and, as a parent, you are expected to take notice of and understand the problem. Fortunately, though, constipation is not hard to tackle and cure, in the case of infants.
What is Prune Juice?
Prunes, officially called ‘Dried Plums’, are one of the best ways to ensure smooth digestion and relieve constipation. They not only help the child in matters of digestion but also have many other benefits to their health. The main symptom of constipation in both infants and adults is the inability to pass stools. You may find that the child has not had a bowel movement for a prolonged time, and the child may show this discomfort by crying at times. Prune juice can help relieve constipation and improve the functioning of the digestive system.
Prune Juice for Infant Constipation
In children, prune juice acts as a bowel irritant and helps to relieve the effects of constipation on the child. The juice is a natural laxative, so bowel movement is improved considerably. It is important to note that the juice must be unfiltered, to have the full effect of the laxative. Since constipation is caused due to weak muscle tone or the unavailability of water in the body, prune juice has a great effect on the child. For better results in the child, you must remember to give the child prune juice on an empty stomach. Apple juice and pear juice are good substitutes for prune juice if it is not available. However, these do not quite have the effect of prune juice on the child.
Causes and Symptoms of Baby Constipation
Constipation can be common during infancy and it is not hard to treat either. When the child is young, the digestive system is unable to handle any type of strain, and it can directly result in constipation. The common causes of constipation in babies are given here.
- Most of the time, babies experience constipation due to the variations in their diet. This is common, as infants must switch from breast milk to formula milk or solid food items when they are young. Variations in the diet can place a strain on the child, and cause constipation too.
- In some cases, it can also be due to some underlying conditions in the child. This is rare, as most of the time, constipation is due to change in diet.
- Dehydration can also cause constipation since the digestive system needs copious amounts of water for a smooth bowel movement.
- Medical conditions like thrush, food poisoning or cold can have a direct effect on the metabolism of the child and thus, causes constipation.
- While milk is good for the child, it does not contain enough quantities of fibres as required or smooth digestion. Fibres are important as they help in smooth bowel movement, so consuming an excessive amount of milk can also lead to constipation.
- Anal fissures refer to tears in the skin in the anal region, which makes the process of passage of stool more painful.
- Inactivity is another cause of constipation. Physical activities help the digestion process in the child and keep away any digestion problems like constipation.
It can be difficult to understand whether the child has constipation, especially during infancy. However, here are a few symptoms which can help you:
- The child may be undergoing extreme irritability or pain, before going to the loo. This can clearly be seen on their face. In the case of infants, they may cry loudly during the time.
- A constipated child passes stools only two or three times a week.
- The child may be displaying a loss of appetite and an aversion to eating in general. The poo may be hard, pellet-like and even foul-smelling.
- In terms of outward appearance, constipation may cause the belly to bulge outwards and become hard.
- Nausea and vomiting in the child are some other symptoms of constipation.
- Digestive problems may affect other systems and there may even be urinary incontinence in the child.
Recommended Dosage of Prune Juice for Babies
The dosage of prune juice must be controlled, considering the age of the child, for the best effect. If the child is under the age of six months, diluting one or two tablespoons of prune juice with water or other juices to suppress the flavour is enough to help relieve constipation. For older babies, the dosage can be subsequently increased. However, you must never give the child more than 6 ounces of prune juice a day. It is better to consult with your paediatrician before settling upon the ideal dosage.
Should You Give Prune Juice Daily to Your Baby?
If you observe that your child has a recurring problem with constipation and he gets relief from drinking prune juice every day, you can administer it daily. The laxative effect can smoothen bowel movement, and act as a preventive measure against constipation. However, remember not to give more than 6 ounces a day, and dilute it with other juices or water with thrice the amount of prune juice for good measure.
How to Use Prune Juice to Relieve Constipation in Babies
Prune juice must be given in a preset dosage to your child, which can be found out after consulting with a paediatrician. For young children, the dosage is small and requires greater dilution. However, the dosage can be increased as the children age. Prune juice can also be given as a preventive measure against constipation if you observe that your child suffers from constipation frequently.
Other Health Benefits of Prune Juice for Infants
Apart from being a laxative, prune juice also has many other health benefits, some of which are:
- Regulates Cholesterol: Prune juice has a large number of chlorogenic acids, which help reduce the bad cholesterol levels in the body.
- Fights Cancer: Prune juice protects the brain from free radical damage, thus, helping prevent diseases like cardiovascular damage and cancer.
- Healthy Cardiovascular system: Prune juice helps stabilise blood pressure in the child, as it contains high potassium levels. It also keeps the heart healthy in the long run.
- Prevents Diabetes: The number of natural sugars in prune juice prevent any spiking of blood sugar levels and play a huge role in preventing diabetes at a young age. Teenage diabetes is becoming increasingly common, and its onset can be delayed using prune juice.
- Prevents Anaemia: Prune juice also has a high iron content, which is important as it helps prevent anaemia. Iron deficiency can cause problems like fatigue and disruption in growth, and this is reduced by drinking prune juice.
- Stronger Kids: Minerals found in plums and prunes, particularly Boron, help in strengthening bones and muscles during the period of growth.
- Detox: The fibre present in prune juice encourages the body to produce more bile, which helps your child eliminate any harmful toxins from your baby’s body.
- Hair Care: Prune juice also has the minerals and vitamins required to keep hair and hair follicles healthy, making it shinier and more lustrous.
Are There Any Side-Effects to Giving Prune Juice to Babies?
Prune juice is a laxative, so excessive intake of prune juice is harmful to the digestive system of the child. It can cause diarrhoea and result in watery bowel movements if the right dosage is not given to the child.
Methods to Prepare Prune Juice at Home
To relieve constipation in your child, there are two methods of making prune juices at home.
Prunes are nothing but dried plums, so making prune juice is not difficult at all.
Soak plums in the water for a day, until they become soft. The pits then need to be removed from the prunes, and are put in the blender. If needed, you can add some banana or apple juice for an extra flavour.
Boiling prunes in the water is another method to make prune juice.
Put the prunes in a saucepan full of water and boil over a medium flame. Remove the pits as the prunes cool down to room temperature and blend them using a food blender to obtain a smooth paste. Add apple or other fruit juice to enhance the flavour.
Prune juice is a great digestive aid and acts well to relieve constipation in infants. However, you must consult with your paediatrician before deciding the dosage for your child, depending on the degree of constipation as well.
Also Read: Indigestion in Children