It is absolutely possible for you to assist in the treatment of your baby’s tummy problems at home; however, not all treatments designed for adults are suitable for infants. For example, how much prune juice is safe for a baby to consume when they have constipation? It is a tried-and-true method to deal with this specific stomach issue; however, nobody wants to give a baby too much of it because of the potential for adverse effects.
“Prune juice is a great way to treat constipation in babies because it helps draw fluid into the intestines, thereby loosening the stools,” paediatrician Florencia Segura M.D., FAAP tells Romper via email. “Prune juice is a great way to treat constipation in babies because it helps draw fluid into the intestines.” Having said that, a little bit can go a very long way. The specific amount of prune juice that you give your baby should be determined by their age. According to Dr. Joo Pedro Locatelli Cezar, a pediatric haematologist-oncologist, a reasonable starting dose for infants aged 4 months and older is 2 to 4 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day. This recommendation is made in an interview with Romper. Where does that leave the younger generation? According to Dr. Segura, the best way to give prune juice to a baby who is less than four months old is to combine one ounce of prune juice with one ounce of water and give the mixture to the infant one to two times per day. (As is the case with everything having to do with the well-being of your infant, you should consult with your paediatrician to determine how much prune juice is appropriate for your child.)
If you don’t have prune juice on hand, then other varieties of juice might work as well. In fact, Dr. Cezar recommends trying apple or pear juice instead of prune juice, because prune juice can cause abdominal pain in babies. Again, check with your pediatrician for advice on which type of juice is best for your baby.
Why is such a small amount of juice recommended? “I would not use any more than 2 ounces at a time, because little babies rely on formula and/or breast milk for nutrition, and apple, pear, or prune juice is not complete nutrition,” gastroenterologist Dr. Steven Ciciora tells Romper over the phone. In addition to the potential for missed nutrition, babies’ systems have a harder time managing water and sugar when compared to someone a bit older, Dr. Ciciora explains. With this in mind, it’s smart to use just a little bit to help get your baby’s system moving.
“You can give prune juice every day for about one to two weeks,” says Dr. Segura. Hopefully your baby likes the taste.
After serving your baby the prune juice, what should you expect to happen next? The results may not be immediate. “Based on clinical experience, babies will respond within several days of this intervention,” says Dr. Segura. “You can give prune juice every day for about one to two weeks.” (Hopefully they like the taste.)
“If your baby is still exhibiting signs of straining greater than 10 minutes and having small and hard stools despite these interventions, check back with your pediatrician,” adds Dr. Segura. For many babies, however, regular servings of prune juice can help ease constipation.
Dr. João Pedro Locatelli Cezar, pediatric hematologist-oncologist
Florencia Segura M.D., FAAP of Einstein Pediatrics
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How Much Prune Juice Can I Give My 6 Month Old?
Prune juice for infants
One ounce of prune juice should be consumed for every month of life, with a maximum daily dose of four ounces. This is a good rule of thumb. If they are experiencing constipation, prune juice should be given to them no more than twice per day at the most. If you want to help your baby stay hydrated, you might also want to dilute the juice with some water.
Can I Mix Prune Juice With Milk
The solution: Parents can mix an ounce or two of prune juice to formula or milk, or add prune puree to muffin mix, pancake batter or smoothies. Try pear nectar as an alternative to prune juice. It tastes better and when warmed and stimulates a bowel movement.
Are There Health Benefits of Prune Juice?
Prunes are dried plums that are full of nutrients, fiber, and natural sugars. One type of sugar called sorbitol acts like a laxative that can help with constipation. As a result, prune juice also has a lot of sorbitol and can help with constipation.
Prunes have many benefits that can improve your health and be a part of a healthy diet.
Energy provider. The simple sugars in prunes are a good source of energy and don’t cause a spike in blood sugar.
Fiber. Prunes are a good source of dietary fiber. They have soluble fiber, which draws water into the bowel and makes the stool soft and easier to pass. They also have insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to the stool and makes it move faster.
Vitamins and minerals. Prunes are high in boron, which is thought to help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones weak. One serving of prunes gives you all the boron you need. Prunes are also high in other vitamins like potassium, vitamin K, vitamin A, niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.
Phenolic compounds. Prunes have lots of phenolic compounds, which adds to the laxative effect. These compounds in prunes might also be helpful for heart health and preventing chronic diseases.
While prune juice can help constipation, it doesn’t have all the benefits of the dried plums they’re made of.
High water and sugar content. Fruit juices, including prune juice, are mostly water and sugar. This high sugar content is what helps with constipation, but you should only give kids small amounts of juice. Children who drink too much fruit juice can have diarrhea because of the high amounts of sugar.
Not as much fiber. Strained and pulp-free juices don’t have as much fiber as the whole fruit. Prune juice with pulp might be a better choice for children.
Constipation. Prune juice can help with constipation, but not pooping is also common in babies and children, so it may not always be necessary to give your children prune juice. It’s normal for babies to go a few days between bowel movements.
Cavities in teeth. Even though prune juice has natural sugars, too much fruit juice can cause cavities, especially if the juice is given at night in a bottle.
Breastfed babies might go longer than formula-fed babies between bowel movements. If your baby is under six months old and is formula fed, it’s important to make sure the formula is mixed carefully and to talk to your doctor. For older children, constipation is usually caused by not eating enough fiber. Adding more fruits, vegetables, and water to their diets can help.
You should see the doctor if your newborn, infant, or toddler has signs of constipation, including:
- Bloody stools
- Large stools, which might mean they’re holding it in
- Hard, pebble-like stools
- Pain while passing stools
How Much Prune Juice Should I Give a Baby?
It’s safe to give children one year old and older some prune juice to help with constipation. Prune juice is pretty safe and low risk, but prune juice for babies under 12 months is not recommended unless your doctor agrees. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that babies under six months should only be fed breast milk.
The best way to give prunes to your baby is when you start introducing foods around six months. You can give your baby whole mashed or pureed prunes instead of prune juice. Your baby will get both the sorbitol and the fiber from whole pureed prunes, which will help with constipation. This will also help them develop good eating habits.
If your doctor says it’s the best thing to do, you can give two ounces of prune juice with two ounces of water. It’s best to give the juice in a cup at meal times, but you can use a syringe if your baby can’t drink out of a cup yet.