Baby Constipation

Infant constipation often begins when a baby starts eating solid foods. If your baby seems constipated, consider simple changes to your infant’s diet: Water or fruit juice. Offer your baby a small amount of water or a daily serving of 100% apple, prune or pear juice in addition to usual feedings.

Babies can get constipated when they are learning to eat solid foods. Any of the following can help your baby pass a bowel movement: Water or fruit juice. Offer your baby a small amount of water or a daily serving of 100% apple, prune or pear juice in addition to usual feedings.

When a baby constipates, it’s important to take action quickly. Try this simple remedy for baby constipation: Offer your baby a small amount of water or a daily serving of 100% apple, prune or pear juice in addition to usual feedings. Increase fiber in their diet by adding foods like applesauce with their meals. If your infant is still not passing stool, try increasing the fiber content in their diet and offering extra fluids.

Babies who are constipated might need to consume additional fluids and fiber. Offer your baby prune, pear or apple juice prior to each feeding and make sure she gets a lot of water each day

The more constipated a baby becomes, the longer it may take to pass the stool. The small amounts of water and juice can help your baby’s intestine contract and move stools down as well as loosen them before they go too far into the bowel.

Baby Constipation Remedies

Infant constipation isn’t common. However, signs a baby might have infant constipation include:

  • Hard or pellet-like stools
  • Bowel movements that appear painful or difficult to pass, causing your baby to arch his or her back or cry, accompanied by hard, dry stools
  • Bowel movements that are infrequent or less frequent than usual

If your newborn seems constipated, contact a health care provider for advice. But keep in mind that the frequency of bowel movements varies depending on an infant’s age and what a baby is eating. It isn’t unusual for an infant who is exclusively breastfed to not have a bowel movement for several days.

Straining to have a bowel movement isn’t always a sign of infant constipation. Infants have weak abdominal muscles and often strain during bowel movements. Infant constipation is unlikely if your baby passes soft stools after a few minutes of straining.

Infant constipation often begins when a baby starts eating solid foods. If your baby seems constipated, consider simple changes to your infant’s diet:

  • Water or fruit juice. Offer your baby a small amount of water or a daily serving of 100% apple, prune or pear juice in addition to usual feedings. These juices contain sorbitol, a sweetener that acts like a laxative. Start with 2 to 4 ounces (about 60 to 120 milliliters), and experiment to determine whether your baby needs more or less.
  • Baby food. If your baby is eating solid foods, try pureed peas or prunes, which contain more fiber than other fruits and vegetables. Offer whole wheat, barley or multigrain cereals, which contain more fiber than rice cereal.

If you have made dietary changes and your baby is still struggling and passing hard stools, after a few days, ask a health care provider if an infant glycerin suppository may help. Glycerin suppositories are only meant for occasional use. Don’t use mineral oil, stimulant laxatives or enemas to treat infant constipation.

Rarely, infant constipation is caused by an underlying condition, such as Hirschsprung’s disease, hypothyroidism or cystic fibrosis. If infant constipation persists despite dietary changes or is accompanied by other signs or symptoms — such as vomiting or weakness — contact your baby’s health care provider.

6 Month Old Baby Constipation Remedies

Constipation (con-sta-PA-shun) in infants can worry parents. Most of the time, your baby is not really constipated. They may not have developed a routine for pooping yet. Some babies do not develop a bowel movement (BM) pattern for a while.

An infant’s BM pattern can change if their diet changes, like switching from breastmilk to formula, starting solid foods, or drinking less formula than usual. If your baby’s stool (poop) is not soft or easily passed, then they may be constipated.

In rare cases, constipation may be caused by a lack of nerves going to the intestines or by a problem with the way the intestine formed at birth. Your baby can be tested for these conditions if your health care provider feels it is needed.

Signs of Constipation

  • less stools than their usual pattern
  • straining more than normal to have a bowel movement
  • a change in how the stool looks from soft and mushy to:
    • small, hard pebbles, or like a large, round golf ball
    • loose and watery
  • abdomen (belly) bloated or swollen with gas
  • painful cramps

Treatment

  • If your baby is not eating baby food yet, you may give 1 to 2 ounces of 100% fruit juice (pear, prune, cherry, or apple) once a day. Stop the juice if their stools become too loose.Mother bathing baby
  • If they are old enough to eat baby foods, feed them pureed pears, peaches, or prunes instead of giving them juice.
  • If your baby eats cereal, it may help to give oatmeal, wheat, or barley cereal. Rice cereal can cause constipation in some children.
  • Sometimes giving your baby a warm bath to relax them or exercising their legs, like riding a bicycle, will help stimulate the bowels to move (Picture 1).
  • If it has been a few days since your baby has pooped and the juice or pureed food has not worked, then you can try a glycerin suppository. Place your baby on their back. Gently push the suppository into their anus (bottom). Suppositories are meant for occasional use.
  • Contact your baby’s health care provider before giving them laxatives, baby mineral oil, or enemas to treat constipation.

Medical Therapy

Your child’s health care provider may order the following treatments:

  • Give your child medication.
  • Check your child’s temperature using a digital, rectal thermometer. Put a small amount of petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) on its tip before inserting into the rectum. Taking a rectal temperature may stimulate the baby to pass stool.

When to Call the Health Care Provider

Call the health care provider if any of the following occurs:

  • Your baby is irritable and seems to be having stomach pain. Infants will pull their legs up to their stomach and cry when they are in pain.
  • Your baby has constipation and develops vomiting, and their belly looks like it is bloated or filled with gas.
  • You see blood in their stool.
  • Their constipation does not get better with treatment.

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