Prune juice is made using dried plums or prunes, containing many nutrients which can make up part of a healthy diet. Prune juice for babies is frequently suggested as a great treatment for constipation, but parents wonder whether it is safe. It is also normal to wonder about the appropriate dose and how old your child should be.
Is It Safe to Give Your Baby Prune Juice?
You should not give your baby any juice until she or he is six months or older. Until then, they will receive all the necessary nutrients from their formula or breast milk. If your baby is younger than six months, his or her stomach isn’t ready to digest a substance like a prune juice.
1. When your baby is six months, you can occasionally use prune juice. Remember, however, that formula or breast milk and water should still make up most of the diet.
2. Consider a baby-specific juice as it will have fewer added sweeteners and sugars. It usually costs more but is better for your little one.
3. Always dilute juice with water for your baby. Try 25 percent juice and 75 percent water.
4. Never give your baby more than 6 ounces juice daily. Drinking more juice than this may cause malnutrition.
5. Drinking too much fruit juice may lead to diarrhea because many juices have sorbitol, a non-digestible type of sugar. When sorbitol levels are too high, your baby’s body tries to dilute it by bringing water in the bloodstream to the intestine, leading to loose stools.
Prune Juice for Infant Constipation
The amount and type of bowel movement for a baby vary with what he eats and his age. Constipation may start once he starts eating solid foods. When this happens, prune juice for babies works as a natural laxative to encourage soft stools that are easy to pass.
1. How to Tell If Your Baby Is Constipated
If your baby is constipated, you will notice:
- Irritability or other behavioral changes
- A hard belly
- Poor appetite
- Firm stools fewer than once a day including straining or difficulty passing them (for newborns)
- Pain when passing dry, hard stools
- Straining during the bowel movement to produce hard, pebble-like stools. This can include drawing the legs up to the abdomen, getting red-faced or grunting
- Blood streaks on the stool’s outer edge
2. How to Relieve Constipation with Prune Juice
Although you shouldn’t use prune juice for babies under 6 months, you can try diluting one tablespoons of it in water. Once your baby is older, you can give more prune juice at a time. You have to try different dosages to get the right effects and find a taste your child likes. Your doctor can help you determine the dosage.
3. Other Tips for Infant Constipation
- Try giving your baby smaller meals more often. This may give the digestive tract some relief as it has more time to digest.
- Put a small amount of a lubricating gel by your baby’s anus so the stool can pass easier.
- Give your baby a stomach massage using a circular motion by the belly button.
- Put your baby on his back and gently grab his feet. Move his legs like he is riding a bike slowly and gently a few minutes a day. This will stimulate bowel movement.
- You can ask your baby’s doctor about glycerin suppositories. Insert them in your baby’s anus and they lubricate a hard stool. Make sure to consult the doctor before using glycerin suppositories and use it only as a temporary solution.
How to Make Prune Juice for Babies at Home
Instead of buying prune juice for babies, you can make your own natural prune juice with whole fruits. Mix one part of dried prunes and five parts of filtered water and simmer the mixture for three to four hours. Remove the pits, puree your mixture and filtrate it. You can save the leftovers for jam. You can also cook the prunes without their seeds until they are tender. Drain, mash and save the liquid.
Homemade Prune Baby Food
Another alternative is to make prune baby food. It can relieve constipation and provide vitamins and fiber. You can make this recipe in only 15 minutes.
Two cups of water (or enough to cover your prunes by around an inch)
A bag of organic dried plums
Rinse your prunes, put them in a saucepan and add some water.
Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Cool the mixture and put it in a blender. What you will get is a thick paste that your baby can eat at any temperature. You can also try mixing it with apple sauce or other foods.
If you would like to find out how to puree prunes at home, watch this video: