Can You Give Prune Juice For Treating Baby's Constipation?

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Prunes are nutritious fruits rich in natural sugars. As they possess laxative properties, eating prunes can smoothen the stool and help in its comfortable passage. You might want to know if it is safe to try prune juice for baby’s constipation. Read on as we give you the answer in this post.

Folk medicine uses prune juice to alleviate constipation. However, the amount of juice a baby consumes should be controlled as excess consumption can upset a baby’s stomach.

In this post, we tell you how much prune juice you should use to treat constipation in babies, how it can treat your baby’s constipation, and ways to make prune juice and puree for babies.

How Do Prunes Prevent Constipation?

Prunes can effectively help prevent constipation

Image: iStock

Prunes contain complex sugars that are not efficiently absorbed by the small intestines. The sugars remain in the intestine and draw water from the inner intestinal lining. The water, along with prune sugars, pass into the large intestine, where they soften the hardened stool and help in its easy passage out of the body (1). It works well in adults, but let’s see what happens in the case of babies.

Quick fact
Prunes’ sorbitol content helps improve infants’ bowel movement (9).

Can You Give A Baby Prunes For Constipation?

Yes. You can give prunes when a baby suffers from constipation. Prunes can be fed as a puree or juice. For older infants, you can chop prunes into smaller pieces and give it as finger food.
However, do remember that prunes cannot be given at any stage in a baby’s life.

Caution
When buying prune juice from the market, ensure it is pasteurized to avoid potential contamination with disease-causing organisms, such as Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, and Cryptosporidium (4).

When Can Babies Have Prunes?

  • Prunes: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends giving solid prunes only after the baby is six months old, when he can have other solid foods such as fruits and vegetables (2). It means you can safely introduce solid prunes to the baby once they are six months old.
  • Prune puree: Purees are nearly semi-solid due to their thicker consistency. Pediatricians recommend waiting for the baby to turn at least four months before giving him fruit purees (3). Thus, you can feed prune puree after your baby has crossed four months of age.
  • Prune juice: American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving juice only to babies who are above the age of 12 months (4) However, under some circumstances, doctors may recommend prune juice for babies who are three months or older (5)..

    Babies can have prune juice from six months onwards

    Image: Shutterstock

There should be a cap on the amount of prunes you give your baby.

How Much Prunes Is Required For Preventing Constipation?

The AAP recommends giving no more than an ounce (30ml) of undiluted 100% prune juice every day to a month-old, constipated baby. As the baby grows, ounces of juice per day become equivalent to the baby’s age in months. Therefore, a two-month-old gets two ounces a day, a three-month-old gets three ounces, and so on up to six months. The baby can have prune juice daily in the said quantity until the constipation is cured.

Once the baby is older than six months you can give him up to four ounces (120ml) of undiluted 100% prune juice over several servings in a day (6). Start with small quantities to observe the effects, but do not exceed four ounces.

Between four and six months, you can also introduce a tablespoon of prunes puree a day. Once the baby is older than six months, the baby can consume about two to three tablespoons of puree twice a day until the constipation is cured (5).

Stewed prunes up to three tablespoons, three times a week, may be added to a baby’s diet once they are nine months or older (7).

Remember, integrate prunes into the baby’s diet gradually to improve the chances of its acceptance.

How Long Do Prunes Take To Cure Constipation?

Do not overfeed your baby with prunes to cure constipation quickly

Image: Shutterstock

The effect of prunes will depend on the severity of the baby’s constipation. Some babies respond better than others. Give prunes to the baby till you see improvement in the little one’s bowel movements. Do not overfeed the baby with prunes in your eagerness to cure constipation quickly. Instead, stick to the recommended quantity.

If there seems to be no change in the infant’s condition, then consult a pediatrician.

As mentioned above, prunes can be given to babies in many forms to cure constipation.

Will Prune Baby Food Help Prevent Constipation?

Yes. Prune baby food can help a baby with constipation, and you can give it a try. Always choose prune baby food that is suitable for your infant’s age. Also, select those made with 100% natural prunes and do not have added sugar, flavoring, and preservatives.

But, the best thing is to make prune juice and puree at home.

How To Make Prune Juice And Puree?

Here is how you can prepare prune juice and puree.

Prune puree:

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Soak the desired quantity of pitted prunes in warm water till they turn tender.
  1. Sieve out the prunes and transfer them to a blender. If you intend to make the puree thinner, add some water during the blending process.

Prune juice:

Image: Shutterstock

  1. Boil five cups of water, add one cup of pitted prunes to it, and soak the prunes for about 12 hours.
  1. After 12 hours, the boiled water cools down, so transfer the water along with the prunes into a blender and blend them.
  1. Run the blended prunes through a sieve to remove solid particles. It should make about a liter of prune juice, which you can dilute by adding some water. You can also add some apple juice or pear juice as both relieve constipation. Once prepared, store the juice in an airtight container.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do prunes make my baby poop right away?

Puree made of prunes effectively relieves constipation, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that your baby might poop in minutes. Instead, try other techniques. If nothing seems to work, even after a few days, you may contact a pediatrician for further evaluation (8).

2. How can I make my baby poop instantly?

Certain home care tricks such as a warm bath, a gentle stomach massage, tummy time exercises, a fiber-rich diet, and an increased water intake (for babies above six months) could help relieve constipation and soften baby’s poop (7).

Prunes are a good source of nutrition for babies; however, they are more popular for their laxative benefits. Many parents have been giving their baby prunes for constipation for a long time and getting good results. You may start giving your baby diluted prune juice for constipation after they turn one month. As babies grow, you may offer them undiluted prune juice, prune puree, or prune as finger foods. Babies react differently to prunes. Some find relief from constipation soon after consuming prunes, while others get benefitted gradually. Although prunes are beneficial, remember to offer them in the recommended dosage. If your babies do not find any relief after having prunes, contact a doctor.

Infographic: Prunes For Preventing Constipation And Recipes To Try

Prunes are known for curing and preventing constipation. But when it comes to babies, you cannot give them a random amount, as an excess may cause complications. So if your baby is experiencing digestion problems, the infographic below presents age-appropriate quantities of prunes and a few ways to add the fruit to their diet.

prunes for your baby [infographic]
Illustration: MomJunction Design Team

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Infant Constipation ;American Academy of Pediatrics (2017)
2. Wendy S;When Should I Start Baby Food?; Seattle Children’s (2013)
3. Constipation; Oregon Health Authority; WIC(2016
4. Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations; American Academy of Pediatrics
5. Feeding Guide for the First Year; Stanford Children’s Health
6. Constipation; Seattle Children’s; Seattle children hospital research foundation
7. Constipation in babies; Pregnancy, Birth and Baby.
8. Constipation: Infant; Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
9. M Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, et al.; (2001); Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food?; National Library of Medicine

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