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orange juice to help a newborn with constipation?? Really?

(29 Posts)
ReshapeWhileDamp Wed 26-Jan-11 20:29:00

This advice has been given to me by several friends (including a GP) and the HV now. DS2 is 5 weeks, and pooing very irregularly now. I do know that bf babies can go happily for several days between poos, but DS2 is far from happy. This time he went 3 and a half days and was in agony from wind, and seemed to be trying hard to push the poo out. At times, he resembled a woman in labour. sad I know 3 days isn't long, but he's really suffering.

So, what's the orange juice thing about? I've been told to mix it with warm, boiled water, or neat on a spoon. He's 5 weeks old. Surely this is bad news for his gut? (citrus, too!) Is this just Old Wives' Advice that's hung around, or will a few teaspoonsful of juice not hurt his immature gut? Was really surprised to hear it from a GP.

jaggythistle Wed 26-Jan-11 20:31:45

old wives advice for sure.

heard it from an HV as well once though. she did retire this year...

rubyslippers Wed 26-Jan-11 20:31:50

I was told to give brown sugar to my DS (didn't)

Personally I wouldnt give orange juice to five week old

Can you try to alleviate his wind by laying him on his tummy on your outstretched arm or bicycling his legs?

PrettyCandles Wed 26-Jan-11 20:34:16

It is OWA that does actually work. Whether or not it will do any harm, I don't know. Brown sugar is also effective, and probably less likely to cause any harm.

Is your ds breastfed? If so, I'd get advice from a properly trained bf supporter (ie NCT, BfN, etc).

NoTeaForMe Wed 26-Jan-11 21:16:13

I found that some cooled boiled water really helped my baby when she was constipated. I was told by my health visitor that she was a bit too young for
orange juice, but I believe that's still the advice if they're a bit older. Make sure you don't give too much though or it may fill him up and effect his feeding. This wasn't a problem for my daughter as once she realised it wasn't milk she wouldn't take it! I was told no more than an oz or 2 a day!

I am giving my baby some bottles and was also told to give her the cartons for a few feeds as apparently they're sweeter and work the same way as orange juice. Don't know if that helps? Obviously no good for you if you're exclusively breastfeeding!

Hope that helps.

Sarahlou8 Wed 26-Jan-11 21:18:21

My HV told me the same a couple of weeks ago when my DD was struggling to go (EBF 11 weeks at the time)

I didn't do it though - I just tried to feed her a bit more often and it did the trick.

AngelDog Wed 26-Jan-11 21:19:24

I wouldn't give it. Citrus can be dodgy even when older and it will damage the balance of his gut. IMO lots of GP advice is based on what might suit FF babies (who already have a foreign substance (ie formula) in their gut, so introducing something new would be less of a worry.

Could he have a reaction to something in your diet? Kellymom has info on food sensitivities. Also info on gassiness if you've not already seen it.

Worth a call to one of the bf helplines?

naturelover Wed 26-Jan-11 21:43:50

I'm no expert but my DS was always windy/constipated/sore ... until I gave up dairy. Overnight a happier baby. Worth a try perhaps?

BTW this was a suggestion by another MNetter to whom I am very grateful.

ReshapeWhileDamp Wed 26-Jan-11 21:58:47

No, I'm not going to give it to him! smile I should have said - I think it's mad advice too, I just wondered if it was something a lot of other people came up against, and if there was any sort of evidence base for it at all? It does seem to contradict what we're otherwise told about weaning, allergies and virgin guts. hmm

Yes, I'm breastfeeding DS2, like his brother before him. I'm finding it a harder job this time, though I think that's mostly down to having DS1 to look after too! DS2 is plagued by his gut though, and my supply seems more abundant this time, which he also doesn't like. sad

We do bicycling, gentle tummy massage (in circles), tiger-in-a-tree... every night! None of it seems to make a difference aside from the tiger carry, but I can't do that all night! He does settle in the end (I think he gets worn out) and so far, he tends to fuss and writhe for a block of time per night and then conk out (sometimes after 4 hours, mind) and we get some sleep together (we're cosleeping). But getting him to sleep is very hard. He wants a nipple in his mouth to settle, but not the milk that comes with it, if his tummy's hurting!

japhrimel Wed 26-Jan-11 23:41:03

Maybe try a dummy?

PrettyCandles Wed 26-Jan-11 23:43:22

How well does he feed, and how often?

Do you think that maybe he could be feeding inefficiently and taking in a lot of air? Could it be that he is uncomfortable from trapped wind, rather than poo?

I wonder whether a dummy would help - after a feed, when he wants to suck but does not want milk?

liquiditytrap Wed 26-Jan-11 23:45:04

Surely orange juice is far too acidic for such a tiny tummy?? V surprised that a GP would recommend that

NeatSoda Wed 26-Jan-11 23:46:00

I wouldn't.

Lactulose? Very easy to give to baby.

AngelDog Thu 27-Jan-11 00:17:38

Reflux? (I've no experience so probably don't know what I'm talking about - but could be worth getting it checked.)

SquallyRose Thu 27-Jan-11 04:20:09

My breast fed DD had constipation at 8 weeks, i was advised to give her Lactulose which helped her poo but gave her what seemed like bad stomach cramps so she was still crying in pain constantly. My health visitor said try orange juice so in desperation I did, I used 5ml orange with 5ml cooled boiled water and gave it her in a syringe, she took it happily and next day poo'd, after a couple of times doing this she got back into a rythmn herself and never had anymore problems. She's now 20 months old and has never shown any signs of it causing her a problem

BaggedandTagged Thu 27-Jan-11 05:07:39

Why don't you use a glycerin suppository if you're worried about him ingesting something. The results are fairly explosive though.

CountBapula Thu 27-Jan-11 06:24:55

Noooooo! Could be v bad for him (can't remember why but think there have been threads on this before).

Is the poo itself hard when it comes, or is it like normal yellow liquidy bf poo? If the latter, he's not constipated IIRC. My DS is ebf and pooed very irregularly at that age - even at 18 weeks he's still a 'once every other day' man - and he would get v grumpy leading up to one. I think some degree of straining is normal.

Have you tried gripe water for his tum? We found it very good for getting things moving, and DS loves the taste so it would settle him a bit when tum was hurting.

worm77daisy Thu 27-Jan-11 06:31:28

You could also try the lying tiger in a tree hold, it really helped my DDs wind pain.

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 27-Jan-11 08:31:16

We're seeing the GP this afternoon for advice (not the GP who said about orange juice, that was my SIL...) and I'll ask about lactulose and the glycerine suppository. HV didn't mention glycerin yesterday at the weighing clinic. She said this was all normal and given he only cried for an hour and a half at night, that was well within the range of healthy normal newborn behaviour. hmm Yes, but he cried because he was in pain! And I'm trying to stop the pain for him.

countBapula, I tried gripe water but he was so enraged and upset at the taste that I haven't tried since. He has Infacol, to little effect. And yes, his poo is more or less normal bf poo, nice and yellow, but it's not that runny - it's very mucus-y. DS1's was often a bit like that, but this is much stickier. Will ask GP about that too... It's certainly not hard, anyway.

I envisage a lot of sling-wearing for the next few weeks! grin

snowcone Thu 27-Jan-11 08:40:38

Don't know about wisdom of OJ but it's probably too late to worry about 'virgin gut' if you have already given medications like infacol and gripe water.

ReshapeWhileDamp Thu 27-Jan-11 08:57:58

Snowcone, I suppose one of the worries about orange juice is that early citrus has been linked to allergies. And Infacol isn't absorbed by the gut - it says that very clearly. smile

CountBapula Thu 27-Jan-11 09:03:46

Oh no! I wonder why my DS loves it so much. I've tasted it and it's gross! What a little weirdo

Hope you get him sorted. We had lots of windiness in the first few weeks and it's horrible. And the suspense of every nappy change, waiting for a poo ... !

marriednotdead Thu 27-Jan-11 09:10:51

Have you considered varying your own diet?

I drank orange juice a few days after DD was born. The effect on her nappy was dramatic- I was violently jet washed with orange through the side of her nappy confused

And yes, a dummy in those circumstances is not a bad idea. I had oversupply problems with both of mine.

If they just want to suck for comfort, it makes sense not to have them vomiting the milk they didn't actually want in the first place.

rodformyownback Thu 27-Jan-11 10:35:02

As someone else has said, could it be that the problem is more to do with him taking in air than him being constipated?

Last week my DS2 (7 weeks, ebf) started feeding in a very slap-dash fashion and was getting uncomfortable with wind. He only poos every 2-3 days anyway and it's become very mucusy. I didn't realise why the change until earlier this week he sneezed out 2 enormous bogeys out of the blue! I hadn't guessed he had a cold as his nose wasn't running or anything. I'm keeping his nose clear with the calpol nasal spray now which seems to be doing the trick, and he seems to be less full of wind.

Just an idea!

Lovecat Thu 27-Jan-11 10:42:26

My HV recommended OJ for DD's constipation - she had horrible reflux already and was being FF as I'd been told by the Paediatrician at the hospital to stop BF at 8 weeks because of jaundice, so there wasn't this issue of harming a virgin gut, sadly - anyway, the upshot of my post is to say that my HV was a brilliant, brilliant woman who's advice I trusted implicitly, so I gave DD 1tsp (5ml) of OJ and the effects in her nappy were very noticeable - and she was so much happier!

Ffwd nearly 6 years, she has no allergies or stomach problems, btw...

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