Prune juice is a proven constipation remedy and good source of iron and potassium. Learn how to make prune juice at home for your baby.
If your baby hasn’t passed a bowel movement in several days or is passing hard stools, he’s likely constipated. Most infants experience constipation at one time or another. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix that doesn’t require a trip to the pediatrician.
When my children experienced painful bouts of constipation as babies, I whipped up a bottle of fresh prune juice. The sweet-tasting juice worked fast to soften the stools and lubricate the bowels.
“Prune juice is by far the most effective juice in treating constipation,” according to Children’s Health Partners. “Start with ½ ounce of juice per day, increasing up to 2 ounces of juice per day as needed.”
While you can purchase pre-made prune juice from the store, most contain added sugars and preservatives. Making your own prune juice at home is easy and much healthier.
What the Experts Say
“If your baby is regularly irregular, he may need some extra fiber to move things alone. Try one teaspoon of prune juice per feeding (mixed in formula or given separately to breastfed babies) until you get the desired consistency of poop.”
Baby 411 7th Edition, Dr. Ari Brown, Denise Fields
“Prune juice, if age appropriate, is very helpful. Dilute it at first, two-thirds water to one-third prune juice. If that isn’t laxative enough, you can mix it half and half.”
No-Nonsense Nutrition for Your Baby’s First Year, Annette B. Natow, Jo-Ann Heslin
“Prune juice is a time-honored laxative. Prunes carry two chemicals, isatin and phonophthalein, which are thought to act as natural stimulants to the intestine.”
Meals That Heal for Babies and Toddlers, Eileen Behan
“After age two months, dilute two ounces of prune juice with an equal amount of sterilized tap water. You can also buy diluted baby prune juice.”
24/7 Baby Doctor, Victory Mcevoy
“The most readily available stool softeners are prune juice and pear juice. These fibrous fruit juices are sugary, and this sugar content helps the body draw water into the intestines as the stool is being formed.”
Your Newborn: Head to Toe, Cara Familian Natterson
How to Make Fresh Prune Juice
To relieve your little one’s constipation, prepare homemade prune juice in your own kitchen. The following recipe makes one liter of prune juice.
You will need:
- 1 cup dried prunes
- 5 cups water
- Remove the pit from each prune. To pit prunes, slit them open with a sharp knife and push out the pits.
- Boil 5 cups of water in a pot on the stovetop. Transfer the water to a heat-safe container. Submerge the pitted prunes in the water.
- Allow the prunes to soak in the water for 12 to 24 hours.
- Pour the water and prunes into a blender or juicer and blend until smooth.
- Place a sieve over a one-liter container and pour the mixture into the container, removing any solid pieces in the process.
- Store your homemade prune juice in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Optional: Add 1 cup of pear juice to the liter of prune juice to create a sweeter, more palatable juice.
Giving Juice to Babies
“It’s best to wait until after a baby is 6 months old before offering juice,” says Mary L. Gavin, MD of the Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children. “But even then, pediatricians don’t recommend giving babies juice often, since it adds calories without the balanced nutrition found in formula and breast milk.”
The one exception is prune juice for constipation. Babies two months or older can have prune juice temporarily to relieve constipation symptoms and jumpstart regular bowel movements. Your baby may be constipated if he cries or shows signs of when trying to pass a stool, or has hard, compacted stools.
Prune juice has long been touted as an all-natural laxative and constipation remedy. Just a small amount of juice is effective at warding off constipation. If you’re concerned about your baby’s bowel habits, talk to your child’s pediatrician.