Constipation in Babies – How to Identify a Baby is Experiencing Constipation

Constipation in babies or Constipation in breastfed babies is a common thing especially during weaning. Parents should therefore know how to identify a baby is experiencing constipation. The best measure to take is to first identify the normal bowel movement of your child.

Constipation in babies

How to understand your babies bowel movement

Babies have different ways of responding to the foods they consume. For some babies certain foods will lead to fast bowel movement while others may take longer. The amount of food and drink taken may also be a determinant in bowel movement. A baby who is well breast fed will normally has no difficulties in bowel movement.

When you understand your baby’s bowel movement frequencies it is good to look out for signs of constipation. Some of these signs include hard stool and infrequent bowel movement that go for more than three days

Causes of constipation in babies : Constipation in Newborn babies

Some of the reasons why your baby may be experiencing constipation is because

1. Weaning/Introducing solid food

Weaning means that the baby’s body will take time to adapt to the new feeding. He/she may have mild constipation until the body is accustomed to the solid food. Compared to breast milk, solid food has less water hence it leads to dehydration that may result in constipation. Some babies may react negatively to formula milk. Depending on the brand components some contain high protein that may affect the baby.

2. Lack of fluids.

When a baby lacks enough fluids the body tends absorb more fluids from the foods eaten and from the unwanted waste in the bowels. Eventually this makes the bowel to become dry and hard, making it hard to pass out.

3. Food allergies

Some foods especially the ones with high protein may lead to allergies resulting to slowed bowel movement hence causing constipation

4. Illness or a medical condition.

In rare cases is constipation caused by medical problems but some conditions such metabolism diorders may result to constipation. Some medications may also interfere with digestion thereby lowering bowel movement frequencies.

How to treat your baby’s constipation :  Constipation in babies treatment

Many parents may ask –how can treat my baby’s constipation? Well below are some of the tips on how to treat your baby’s constipation.

Keep the baby active

Simple exercises can reduce constipation. To help your baby get active constantly hold them in a position that will result in whole body movement. For instance, let your child lie on his/her back and hold his/her feet or legs. Easily push one of his legs towards his chest as you stretch the other one. Push and stretch each leg three times; pause for some time and do it again. For crawling babies make them have more crawls.


Overhaul massage is important for a baby, but to reduce constipation belly massage is essential. To do this, ensures the baby is relaxed and lying on his back. On the lower left part of the belly apply some pressure or massage gently for around three minutes.


Parents feeding their kids with formula should be observant and note if the constipation is related to any brand of formula. In case the baby is affected by certain brand you can consult with a doctor or dietician for the preferred band. Dark corn syrup has been known to lower cases of constipation if added to formula. One should be very careful on the amount of dark corn syrup to use. For every 114 grams of formula the maximum dark corn syrup should be a quarter tea spoon. In case the constipation persists, add one teaspoon to 114 grams of formula. The amount of dark corn syrup shouldn’t go beyond one tea spoon per 114 grams of formula

Provide fiber

For a baby who already eating solid food ensure to add some foods with fiber. Some of this could include spinach, prunes, peas, barley, oatmeal, cereals and more vegetables. However don’t give so much fiber as it may lower the normal feeding of the baby. It is also advisable to lower some of the foods that cause constipation such as rice, bananas, bread etc.

Give prune, apple of pear juice.

To treat constipation for babies who on exclusive milk you can add one of the above juices to the milk. Apple juice has some laxative properties that relief constipation. The amount of juice to be given is as shown below

Months Number of Ounces
2 months 0.5 ounces
4 months 1 ounce
8 months 6 ounce

Although babies are not to be given juice while still young, giving them to reduce constipation will be ok.

Warm Bath

Warms are generally known of soothing the body. When a baby is bathed with warm and combine with massage the baby will relax hence the body will be able to relieve itself.

Seek doctor’s advice on use of stool softener.

Never go for over the counter stool softener without a professional advice. For prolonged constipation that make life difficult for the baby you can ask for professional help on the best laxative to use.

Try rectum stimulation.

It is good to ask for professional assistance on how to stimulate the baby’s rectum for bowel movement. In some occasions glycerin can be used for severe constipation. However the use should be limited as it may lower the ability of the body to regulate the bowel movement.

At what time must I call the doctor?

You can call the doctor if your child is facing feeding problems and cannot even breast feed, drastically losing weight, there is blood in the stool. As mentioned above try seeking for medical advice before getting a laxative for your baby.

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