Why do babies get constipated so easily nowadays?
Thanks to the infant formula that contains little or no dietary fiber and medium-chain fatty acids that are critical for infants to move their bowels regularly.
In contrast, exclusively breastfed infants are rarely constipated because breast milk has got a good amount of medium-chain fatty acids that almost always help to soften stools and stimulate bowel movement for infants.
So, if you exclusively feed your baby infant formula, you need coconut oil since coconut oil has considerable amount of medium-chain fatty acids (especially lauric acid) that are also present in breast milk. Here are the 3-step guide to help your baby relieve constipation with the correct use of coconut oil.
Step 1: Choose Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Virgin coconut oil carries the best nutritional structure for both health improvement and bowel movement. And if it's organic, that will be even better for infants since you wouldn't want to expose them to pesticides, unknown substances or artificial chemicals. So, make sure you choose only organic virgin coconut oil for your baby.
Side note: You can also use deodorized organic coconut oil (RBD), which carries almost the same constipation-relief benefit as that of virgin coconut oil.
Step 2: Test for Allergic Reaction
Unless he or she is born allergic to coconut, virgin coconut oil should not trigger any allergy-like reactions on your baby (at least so far I have not heard of anyone suffering allergy from eating virgin coconut oil).
But to play safe, perform a quick test by gently rubbing a dab of the oil on the inside of your baby's elbow area. Let the oil seep through the skin. If your baby is allergic to virgin coconut oil, it should appear within 12 hours. But it's good to make sure virgin coconut oil is good on the infants externally for 24 hours before starting it internally on them.
Step 3: Start Little and Increase Progressively
Virgin coconut oil can be powerful in moving bowels. So, the first thing you need to do is to start with just half a teaspoon (NOT tablespoon) on your baby.
Mix ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) of virgin coconut oil in your baby's breakfast. And make sure he or she drinks enough fluid as well because adequate fluid intake is still necessary for bowel stimulation.
After 4–5 hours if your baby still shows no signs of moving bowels, pour another 1 teaspoon into his or her meal (if your baby has past lunch time, then give him or her some snacks along with the oil).
For the first 5 days, keep the maximum daily intake of virgin coconut oil at just 3 teaspoons, spreading throughout the day. Then on the 6th day if your baby looks fine with virgin coconut oil, up his or her intake by teaspoonful like this – instead of ½ teaspoon added to breakfast, make it 1 or 1½ teaspoon. Lunch will be 2 teaspoons and so on. Maintain maximum daily intake of 6 teaspoons for another 5 days before you increase the amount again.
When I say maximum, I do not mean that you need to give your baby that much. If let's say he or she can move bowels with just 5 teaspoons per day, then keep to that amount.
There's no one standard dosage for all infants since each baby has a different body constitution and may react differently with virgin coconut oil. You just have to find and fine-tune the right dosage for your baby that will help him or her relieve constipation.
Please bear in mind not to feed virgin coconut oil when your baby's stomach is empty. Also, never attempt to feed him or her straight from the jar. Always mix coconut oil with food. This can help to prevent him or her from getting the runs too frequently and suffering from bad stomach cramp.
The key to treating constipation in infants with virgin coconut oil is to start with a small amount first (just to be on the safe side) and then increase the amount gradually and progressively. At the same time, monitor closely for any peculiar reactions on your baby and respond accordingly based on your own judgment.
This 3-step guide on constipation relief with coconut oil works for toddlers as well.
Note: In case you start breastfeeding your baby but your baby is still not moving bowels smoothly, you can actually consume virgin coconut oil to increase the production of medium-chain fatty acids in your breast milk. Same thing as feeding your baby virgin coconut oil, you need to start with a small dose first and then increase the amount of virgin coconut oil gradually to avoid diarrhea-like effect on you.