Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Constipation in Infants

Before we look at constipation in infants, let's remind ourselves just what constipation is.
A simple definition is the inability to have a comfortable and regular bowel movement. A normal range is having a bowel movement between 3 times a day to 3 times a week.

We all suffer from constipation from time to time but sometimes it becomes persistent and uncomfortable. While the most common causes of constipation are poor diet and lack of exercise (with adults), for some groups other factors also have an influence on our ability to eliminate waste from the body. As a craniosacral therapist I have found that constipation is a common problem among babies, toddlers and pregnant women. These groups have special needs and experiences that make them prone to constipation.

Let's now move on to looking at Constipation in infants and toddlers.
In my own experience, the following are the most common causes of constipation in babies:

·         Both breast and bottle-fed babies may experience a difficulty in digesting components of milk.
·         Switching between formulas can also cause constipation.
·         Change in diet from breast to bottle.
·         Moving on to solids at around 6 months and...
·         Birth Trauma. This final cause is the common cause of constipation that I address directly as a craniosacral therapist.

Let me explain a little about the connection between a traumatic birth and constipation. If intervention was necessary at birth, the baby is often left with a restricted spine and head. The compression on the baby’s bones can prove excessive if the use of forceps or vacuum is needed. Or, indeed, the total lack of compression is also a problem if the baby is delivered by C-section.

Excessive compression on the head or neck leads to tension on the baby’s nervous system which in turn triggers digestion and elimination problems. Craniosacral therapy can assist in helping your baby to recover from a heavy birth process which at the time was necessary for safe delivery. With the help of a craniosacral therapist the little head and spinal bones can slide gently into place freeing the vagus nerve which allows the baby to relax. Other problems clear up too! Baby is now happy to sit in their car seat, lie on their backs, sleep for longer periods and are happier and more content.

Jeannette Raskin practices at Family First Chiropractic, 142 Erickson Drive, Red Deer, Alberta.  403-347-3261. www.family1stchiro.ca.

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