Natural laxatives for kids may be necessary to relieve constipation, which is common in infants and children. Constipation occurs because the digestive system is not fully developed at a young age, and intestinal flow can become reduced when new foods are introduced.
Some examples of natural laxatives for kids include plum water or fig and plum syrup. The home remedies are not indicated for babies under 4 months, however, unless approved by a pediatrician. Young babies may benefit from abdominal massages to help relieve colic and intestinal gas.
If symptoms do not improve with these home remedies or if you find the child is unable to gain way, you should see a pediatrician for further assessment.
Ways to relieve constipation in kids
Some natural laxatives for kids that are safe for use include:
1. Plum water
Put one plum in a glass with about 50 ml of water and let it soak overnight. Give ½ tablespoon of this water to the baby in the morning and repeat the process once a day until bowel movements return to normal.
For babies over 4 months old, you can squeeze the soaked plum through a sieve and give 1 teaspoon of the juice a day.
2. Fig and plum syrup
Fig and plum syrup is indicated for children over 3 years of age.
- 1/2 cup of chopped figs, with peel
- 1/2 cup of chopped plums
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon of molasses
How to prepare
Place the figs, plums and water in a pot and let these soak for about 8 hours. Then bring the pot to the boil, add the molasses and boil for a few minutes until the fruit softens and the excess water evaporates. Remove from heat, blend everything in a blender and store in a glass jar with a lid that has been sterilized in boiling water for 10 minutes.
You can offer 1 teaspoon of the syrup per day as necessary.
3. Oatmeal porridge
Replace rice, wheat or cornstarch porridges with oatmeal porridge, as it is richer in fiber and helps stimulate bowel movements.
It's also important to offer plenty of water between meals, as water helps to hydrate the stools and allows for easier transit within the gut.
4. Orange and plum juice
Squeeze 50 ml of orange juice, add 1 black plum and blend together in a blender. For children over 1 year old, offer the juice once a day for a maximum of 3 consecutive days. If constipation persists, talk to your pediatrician.
For children under 1 year old, 10 to 30 teaspoons of just orange juice should be offered.
When to use suppositories or see a doctor
If constipation lasts more than 48 hours, you should consult your pediatrician, who may recommend the use of suppositories or an enema.
You should also monitor for sores on the child's peri area and for blood in the bowel movements, as dry stools can cause micro-injuries. These small cuts can make bowel movements very painful for the baby, and may be forcing the child to hold in their stool to avoid discomfort.