There is an old wives tale that says giving your baby castor oil is a good thing. Luckily it has fallen out of practice for many people, but you still hear about it enough to make you wonder if it’s a good idea.
This used to be a remedy for constipation as it can produce bowel movements with reliable consistency. But you don’t want to get into the habit of doing anything harsh to your baby, and there’s not really a lot of control when it comes to using something like this.
Not only that but the taste is awful, and it’s not something you’re going to enjoy giving to your baby. The overall experience is likely to be a negative one, and this could all be avoided with some easy preventative measures.
Can I Give My Baby Castor Oil? Answer: Not Recommended
Any kind of one-spoon fixes like these should best be avoided. This is the kind of quick fix thinking that had a tendency to perpetuate itself from one generation to the next, before the advent of the Internet where people could go online to question whether it’s a good thing to do or not.
Preventing the Need for It
As long as you are feeding your baby a proper diet, in proper portion sizes, and at the right time of day, you shouldn’t need to give them anything that brings on a bowel movement. They should be regular, with healthy amounts that are not too hard and not too soft. Feed them fresh fruits and vegetables as much as you can, pureed of course so they can eat them easily. Introduce new options to them one at a time until you have a long list of healthy foods you know they like and digest well.
Did you know that there are certain times of the day that are better than others as far as digestion goes? In the morning you should give your baby a lighter meal, with their most substantial meal coming at midday. Then give them a lighter meal for dinner. You can prevent a lot of indigestion and constipation this way, because it follows their natural cycle for digestive juices.
Breaking With Tradition
You’re not going to want to give them castor oil every day, are you? And eventually they’re not going to have it at all, so why give it to them now? Just because they are a baby doesn’t mean they need it, and just because your grandmother or mother did it, doesn’t mean that it was right. It can be hard going against tradition, but not if the tradition had little medical grounding. Yes, castor oil produces results, that’s why people did it. But it doesn’t mean they needed to do it, or that there weren’t any better options for them at the tiem.
Look at the Overall Picture
Your baby’s health does not rest with one thing, but is the sum of a lot of little things all coming together. You don’t want to give them castor oil and then feel like you are doing everything right for them. You should be giving them a lot of fresh and healthy foods so that they have normal bowel movements without any supplementation needed.
Also, giving your baby something to induce a bowel movement will only make them dependent on it. If your child is suffering from constipation it’s from the foods you’re giving them, which is why it’s a good idea to start and maintain a food log so that you can go back and form a link between what you gave them and what caused the blockage. Then avoid that going forward, or reintroduce it at a later time when they can handle it better.
No Safey in Numbers
Just because a lot of people used to do this in the olden days doesn’t mean it was right, and the fact that we all survived it and made it into modern times was no proof that it was effective. It was just something people did back then, and has largely been phased out as food quality has improved. There’s really no reason for you to give this to your baby.