What are Home Remedies for Constipation in Babies?

Warm baths can help relieve constipation in babies.
Prunes can be an effective, natural laxative.
Apricots are solid food that won't cause constipation in babies.
Pears may be used as a natural laxative for babies.
Babies who appear to be in pain for longer than an hour at a time are thought to be suffering from colic.
Certain types of baby food can help with constipation.
Prune juice mixed with water can help a baby with constipation.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2014
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Constipation in babies is a common concern among parents and a condition that is commonly addressed by pediatricians. This type of constipation refers more to the consistency of the stool than the frequency. While many newborn babies pass stool after each feeding, the frequency of bowel movements begins to subside between one and two months of age. Constipation in babies is marked by infrequent, hard stool that appears to be painful to pass. You may be able to help relieve constipation at home, though new parents are encouraged to call their pediatrician if they are concerned.

A common treatment for constipation is to feed them prune juice diluted with water. This is a viable option in babies older than six weeks. Fill a bottle with one ounce water and one ounce prune juice and feed it to baby twice a day.

Prune juice should be given in addition to regular breast or formula feeding, not as a substitute. Though it may not seem palatable, there is no need to sweeten the juice with sugar, and you should not do so. Most babies will suck as a natural reflex and ingest some of the juice.

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If your baby refuses prune juice, is less than six weeks of age, or seems to be unresponsive to the juice, sometimes obtaining a rectal temperature will stimulate a baby’s bowels. If you are unfamiliar with obtaining a rectal temperature, you should not try it until your baby’s doctor or nurse has shown you how. Also, if your baby has a higher than normal temperature, you should consult your doctor. You can also try a glycerin suppository for stimulation and softening, but check with the pharmacist about specific brands and use. Never use a laxative on a baby.

Constipation in babies older than five months is often caused by the introduction to solid foods. As the baby's digestive system is introduced to new foods, it may react differently, and bowel habits may change. If your baby has started solid foods, meaning baby food, you may want to avoid or decrease rice cereal and bananas and try prunes, apricots, or pears, as these tend not to be constipating. Continue breast or bottle feeding as usual.

Though breastfed babies are rarely constipated, they can become so. Constipation in babies who are formula fed is more common, and you should talk to your doctor about switching infant formulas as a way to prevent or relieve constipation. Make sure your baby is drinking plenty of water, especially if you notice a decrease in urination. Constipation accompanied by pain or obvious discomfort lasting more than an hour, which is often considered colic, should be discussed with a pediatrician. Call your doctor immediately if you notice blood in your baby’s stool more than once or in excessive amounts.

Constipation may also be confused with or accompanied by gas and bloating. You can use over the counter drops for gas, such as Mylicon, but be sure to follow the directions on the insert carefully. Also, a warm compress on the tummy may serve as a relief and comfort to gassy or constipated babies. Most babies resume normal bowel habits within a few weeks, but if you are still concerned or nothing seems to be helping, you should always be comfortable calling your child’s doctor.

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anon961626
Post 74

Please stay on breast milk. Don't stick stuff up your child's anus because it is absorbed through the lining and could be toxic. Stay away from solid foods until a year.

anon925677
Post 72

Why would anybody put their baby on Ranitidine is beyond me. Any drug is questionable and the long term effects even more troubling. Try to conquer your problems as naturally as possible. It may take longer but it will be a healthier way of dealing with the body systems.

anon925674
Post 71

When a parent is introducing foods other than formula or breastmilk, etc, to their little one, just remember that their digestive system needs to become acclimated to it. Please introduce foods slowly and diluted. For instance, lets say you want to give the child some pears. Say the child is under one year old as well, then mash those pears up and serve the child about 1 teaspoon every couple of hours the first day. What you are doing is "waking up" the already fragile digestive system to something new. Make sense? Good luck.

anon263577
Post 69

To all the people on this forum who put articles about different things in their baby's anus, please stop it. It is very dangerous.

Giving water to a newborn is advised after feeding, because would we just eat and not drink? Don't forget milk is a food, too. Also, massaging the tummy and a warm bath will ease the baby's wind and move the bowel.

Please don't use anything foreign in the baby's body. It can and will be very detrimental to your baby's health. I'm a mother with 31 years experience, and old school works best.

anon259350
Post 68

My two month old brother is having a hard time pooping. It has been two hours since it happened. Please help me and my Mother to cure whatever is happening to my brother.

anon217579
Post 67

my daughter is 9 months old and she's constipated. the doctor advised me to give her frequent water and papaya daily.

anon214419
Post 66

My daughter's baby girl is 14 days old today and she is a little constipated and her doctor said to put a tsp of dark karo syrup in every two ounces of formula or water. I hope it helps for your babies as well.

anon186375
Post 65

For the love of god people, please do not put anything in your baby's anus. Treatments for constipation can be bought over the counter. These products are designed for infants and constipation. Otherwise, anything else including soap, oil and any other products (i have read oin these blog) is absorbed instantly through the lining of your child's rectum and can be toxic.

I was advised by a doctor to give 1 ounce of juice with 1 ounce of water twice a day. This is to supplement feedings, not replace them. Apple, pear, and prune juice can be used. Further, plain water should not be given before six months of age. If this doesn't work, consult a doctor. A bigger issue may be causing the constipation. --Nurse Heather

kithesh
Post 63

I need to make contact with anon64649. I have the same problem. Please help.

anon163235
Post 62

i have a five day old newborn girl who is bottle fed and she has trouble with constipation. She goes just a little bit every day. what could i use to help her move her bowels? i heard water works or babylax or prune juice but i don't know what is safest for her because she is so young, someone help, please. thank you.

anon163024
Post 61

We have a 1 year old little boy who has just made the transition from formula to whole milk and we have started giving him table food. But now we have run into the problem that he is terribly constipated and when he does have a bowel movement he screams bloody murder! Please help.

anon161463
Post 60

Pear juice works great! Also a little bit of brown sugar and warm water seems to work. When our daughter was almost a year she was really plugged. We knew she had to poop as she was screaming in pain. My husband pinched on the side of her anus and broke the "plug" out, followed by a lot of poop. Seems to work when she needed it.

anon157115
Post 59

For constipation, olive oil is best and it works also. Take care.

anon153375
Post 58

For constipation in babies use the tip of a match crush it up, add some cooking oil and soap (not scented) and put in anus. works great.

anon153041
Post 57

I recently tried mixing a tbsp of hemp protein powder in my baby's cereal and it has been helping. She is 11 months old. You should be able to find it in the organic section of your grocery. Good luck.

anon151180
Post 56

my son will be 8 months old in a couple of days. he has been breastfed since day one, but recently we started solids and he got terribly constipated.

we tried prune juice and enemas, and now our doc prescribed lactulose, but nothing works. we've been taking lactulose for two weeks now and had only one. it's terrible.

my mom suggested cooked cabbage. i tried it only a couple of times so i don't know if that is going to help any. my baby is fussy and doesn't sleep good. i heard about karo but afraid to try because of botulism. anyway, if anybody has more suggestions I'll be glad to listen.

anon148319
Post 55

I have a three week old son today. he has been blocked up for about a week now. i am using the latex free liquid suppository. It helped in the beginning, but stopped helping. i need some advice on what i can do to get him out of all this pain. please help me. thanks -michelle-

anon147621
Post 54

I have an almost three month old son. He normally eats constantly and has been breastfed from day one. he is what you would consider a chunky baby but has a huge problem with constipation, i give him 8oz a day of formula recommended by his dr for vitamins and to help fill him up more, i have tried apple juice, apple prune juice, the rectal thermometer, suppositories and massages, and nothing seems to work -- not even the suppositories which were prescribed by his doctor and he is also on ranitidine/zantac, and occasional gas drops. Can someone please help me? My son is miserable which means i am as well. he normally does not go without longer then four days well, he is almost on day eight. Please help us!

anon147223
Post 53

My son is 12 months old and he is constipated and i see blood in his bowel. I've tried everything. can somebody please give me some advice on a home remedy?

anon144220
Post 52

My two and a half months old daughter has a constipation problem. She usually takes five to six days to do her stool. Please advise.

anon141227
Post 51

i would like to see some sort of proven cases of a baby getting botulism from karo syrup. there are none.

anon139980
Post 50

Nobody seems to be mentioning water! Water should be given from birth between feeds to soften the babies bowl to make it easier to have a movement. Also if constipated, squeeze the juice of a segment of orange in the water. I also used prune juice which worked. Gripe water is also fantastic for trapped wind.

Also, why not try massaging your baby's stomach? Health visitor will give you details of free baby massage classes in your area, just so you can get the bowels moving. Also a nice bath to relax your baby, may also relieve a bit of trapped wind and push the movement through.

anon139150
Post 49

my daughter was constipated from day she was born.

originally we had to give her coloxal drops and enimas. then i tried at six months old boiled prunes, keep the juice and put in rice or as a drink. i found after eating the prunes she came right. also lots of water. try to remove constipating foods like potatoes and bananas. also avoid anything dairy.

I have since discovered my little girl is allergic to soy and dairy. life is a lot easier now, good luck.

anon138435
Post 48

The soap trick works! Our four months old daughter hadn't had a poo in three days when she normally passes one or two regularly a day. She was getting more and more unsettled and was visibly in a bit of pain.

So, we carved a little bit of soap and just pushed it into her bum about three or four millimeters and held it there for about 30 seconds. Next thing you know, she passed a bit of gas and then it all came gushing out. Lucky we had a towel under her!

She's now back to her bubbly self! We felt a bit weird doing it and it didn't harm her at all. It definitely works and we feel so relieved.

anon131427
Post 47

My five month old grandson is constipated with currently only one BM every three days but he is on oral antibiotics long-term, prior to a certain bowel test, as he had e.coli in his bladder which the hospital thought was due to an internal problem with his tubes or kidneys.

My daughter was breastfeeding exclusively, on demand, but now she is giving him a bottle of formula at night (mixed to the recommended amounts) as he is a very hungry baby and just wouldn't sleep before.

I think he is showing he is ready to try solids (he was born three weeks over due date and he is a big baby), but I wonder if the formula is causing the constipation problem, or the antibiotics - does anyone have any advice, please? The GP has prescribed lactulose, which I know nothing about.

It's no good asking the medical profession here about mixed feeding, because the Health Service in the UK is totally blinkered and its workers are not allowed to give any advice which conflicts with the official view that there is no alternative to breastfeeding. Thank you in advance for any helpful responses.

anon129928
Post 46

try apple juice for an infant. It is beneficial.

anon128827
Post 45

for # 38 also, I found if a child doesn't like prune juice sneak it into something like apple sauce, oatmeal even cookies. If there are some veggies he likes try adding it there also. Good luck.

gabby15
Post 44

My daughter is five weeks today and every time she tries to use the restroom she starts to cry and her face turns red. It hurts me to see her like this. What can I do to help her?

anon111172
Post 43

My daughter is 33 months old and i was trying to give her toilet training, but she stops passing stool. I am so worried about her. she hasn't passed stool for four or five days.

what should i do? I've done everything I could.

Please help me. what should i do?

anon111047
Post 42

Great article! I would just like to add:

Just be very careful with the thermometer as it can cause serious problems if it punctures something inside your baby. This should be your last resort.

Glycerin (food) is good, laxative (drug) is very bad for babies. Glycerin is not a drug but used in making candies.

Be cautious with corn syrup as it can contain harmful bacteria. Karo corn syrup is considered safe nowadays because of its Clean manufacturing process. Boiled brown sugar with water is a good alternative. What it does is, it helps bind more water(liquid) in the baby's stool, making it softer. Otherwise, the water your baby drank just ends up being urinated.

Breast milk has a natural laxative effect and the best cure most of the time. You just have to breast feed more. Prune juice is also good.

anon107160
Post 41

Since there is no time stamp for comments, I don't know if this is still relevant, but answering to poster #38: I have been having issues with my 2.5 years old for a very long time and the doctor was unwilling to do anything.

Odd thing is, the twin sister has no issues so it seems more related to the specific individual. In the end we found out that lactose intolerance was the problem, so we switched from regular cow milk to a lactose-free cow's milk and it did the trick. two months on, stool went from painful and twice a week to "smooth" and daily.

Keep in mind it is just a specific case though.

anon106381
Post 40

Some of you people are posting that breastfeeding is the remedy for constipation. If that was true, breastfed babies would not get constipated.

The problem is not introducing the baby to food too early; it is feeding the baby too much food too soon.

Babies' digestive systems are new and sensitive. Therefore, you have to slowly introduce strained food into their diet. A tablespoon of cereal in a bottle of milk (formula or breast milk) will help.

Also, someone posted inserting white soap into their rectum. It works! I would suggest using Ivory soap with a little petroleum jelly. It isn't magic -- it just stimulates the sphincter muscle forcing out their bowels.

anon102230
Post 39

I know for a fact that taking a sliver of white soap and inserting it into the baby's rectum will definitely get you results within minutes! Be careful! It can be really messy.

anon96807
Post 38

Please help. i am very desperate for a cure for my 20 month old little boy's constipation. i have been prescribed babylax which is not working.

He is constantly constipated. He has an excellent diet of fruit and veg and i have now taken him off cow's milk, but i cannot get him to drink prune juice no matter what i do with it. It is so hard when he knows exactly what he likes and doesn't.

I am writing this in tears as i can't handle watching him in constant pain anymore. I am five months pregnant and have three other children. i am past exhaustion and need a remedy that will work. Please advise me. Thank you.

anon89910
Post 37

my daughter is almost one year old now. she has suffered since she was two weeks old and has been exclusively bread fed. we even tried switching he to a pre-digested formula at one point but she wouldn't take it.

when foods were introduced, the problem worsened. we have been to many doctors and done several different treatments, including laxatives, glycerin suppositories, probiotics, massage, prune juice and high fiber diets. she has had x-rays and a barium enima.

It is still a battle and we get no sleep! we are still looking for answers. any suggestions are always welcome.

if you have a child suffering, just remember to stay away from natural laxatives as they are highly addictive and can be harder to get rid of than the actual problem. -april

anon86903
Post 36

to all parents struggling with a constipated baby. my son has struggled since birth, and nothing has helped at all. i took him to a normal gp and not a paediatrician, and he gave me a laxative syrup. that is all that has helped me.

anon82905
Post 35

I started formula feeding our seven month old a month ago and she instantly got blocked up, had the lumps in the gut and everything. We took her to emergency. She was that distressed and they told us to start using a child friendly laxative called Parachoc. Talk to your pharmacist about it and if your using formula FOr every 240ml of water instead of doing the 4 scoops just do 3. Breast milk is more watery than formula.

anon82749
Post 34

Thank you to whoever posted about breast feeding. I have a 14 month old daughter whom I still breast feed as her primary source of food. She eats solids but I do not push them as three meals, two snacks a day. She eats solids when she wants and I do not have a problem nursing. I am going to start weaning about 18 months but if it were possible I would also nurse until three. Thanks again.

anon79723
Post 33

good news for children who can eat solid foods: give them popcorn daily, as much as they can eat, once a day. That's what I do with my 6 year old son and it does the trick as he was complaining of constipation. And for smaller children, warm 1-2 teaspoons of gripe water and give them twice a day. That is proved for ages in our family.

anon77201
Post 32

my baby has had problems with constipation. i tried the q-tip remedy and it works right away. you take a q-tip, put some Vaseline on the end and insert it into the rectum, but don't overdo it. the baby could start depending on it.

anon71008
Post 31

Dear anon69073: The doctor's name in Mafraq hospital is Dr. Abdul Rab and he is a specialist of Gastroenterology for children. Regards, Zamad.

anon70223
Post 30

So, I just had a baby two weeks ago and he was having trouble eating they had to put him on Enfamil AR which is thickened with rice and within a couple of days he was constipated.

We tried to switch his formula to stop the constipation but he couldn't keep the formula down, so what do I do? I had previously had people tell me to give him brown sugar and thought they were crazy, but I called the doctor's office about his issue and asked what I could do and they told me one to two tsp. of dark brown sugar for every four-ounce feeding until there is a bowel movement, then reduce to one, and then stop!

anon69073
Post 29

Mr. Zamad: Can you please tell me the name of the dr. in Mafraq hospital. My daughter is almost two years old and she has a constipation problem.

anon68875
Post 28

my 25 days old baby boy been constipated for three weeks now, going for his fourth. I only give breast milk and i noticed he was pushing a lot and getting red. I did not realize what the problem was until the third day.

My mom recommend me gripe water but it did not work. I went to the doctor and she told me to mix one ounce of prune juice with three ounces of water. I do'nt see any result but do see that it hurts him because he cries.

It hurts me to see him pushing so much. Even worse from pushing so much how his belly button came out.

I need something that gets rid of it once and for all. Our poor son is suffering. Please help!

anon64649
Post 27

i have a little fellow who is one. and since he was four or five months he has suffered from constipation very badly.

i have taken him to the doctor many times and no results. Nothing has worked. I've tried the prune juice, he had suppositories and is now on defax syrup which is starting to work.

The only downfall is he will have to go back in a month to get weaned off the defax syrup and chances are he could just be constipated as soon as he is off it again.

It's heartbreaking watching him try to go. sometimes i have to bend his legs up to help push it out. does anyone have any good suggestions that work?

anon57906
Post 26

In reading some of these posts, it scares me that some have used Karo syrup. studies have shown and proven that it is not safe and can cause infant botulism. Avoid using it at all costs!

anon54148
Post 25

I have a three week old he drinks similac advanced shield with iron and he hasn't had a bowel movement in two days so i mixed a 1/2 oz of apple prune juice with a 1/2 oz of water and minutes later he had a bowel movement.

anon52929
Post 24

my baby is 5 1/2 months old and he is always constipated. when i introduced rice cereal from that time i felt that he is more constipated. so i stopped giving him rice cereal and switched to barley and oatmeal.

If your child is constipated, remember the word BRAT, where B is for banana; R is for rice cereal; A for apple syrup; and T for toast. And you have to stay away from these things.

anon51114
Post 23

My 15 month old has always been constipated which is a nightmare. I give her at least 20ml of lactulose in her milk each night which helps.

anon50518
Post 22

Not this this is a reason for everyone's baby having constipation, but I think introducing foods too early for babies is causing many of these problems. I think babies naturally ("in the wild") would breastfeed exclusively for at least six months -- probably more like 8 or 9 months -- and after that they'd still breastfeed as their main source of food for another year at least. In other cultures babies breastfeed until they are three years old. You rarely see that here in the US (and everyone gets freaked out about it if they hear someone does). I don't think babies are built to handle solids so soon and so much. Their stomachs are calibrated for mainly breastmilk. So introducing something other than that needs to be done delicately and slowly.

Hardly anyone ever does this long term breastfeeding these days and so many babies start other foods even at birth (those that drink formula) and so we end up messing with their poor little digestive systems. Some babies can handle it, others can't.

Anyway my two cents. Hope I haven't offended anyone - no offense is meant.

anon49669
Post 21

I introduced solid food to my 4 1/2 month old son and three days later he developed what i consider serious constipation. The stool is really hard and he cries and strains a lot when passing stool. I have stopped the solid foods apart from the fruits, formula and breastfeeding. Is there need to take the baby to the hospital and can the suppositories help?

anon49179
Post 20

i have a 15 month old baby. ever since i changed her milk from formula to whole milk she is always constipated. please help.

anon47090
Post 19

Cut off a sliver of plain soap, put vaseline on the baby's butt and insert the soap as a suppository. So long as it stays in 2 minutes, it'll make the baby do a doodle in no time!

anon39358
Post 18

i have baby girl with 2.8 years my problem is that she has recurring constipated. different type of laxatives and syrups consulted by the doctor, but no result.

anon38362
Post 17

My son have a problem with constipation and through up. He is seven months and have been constipated since he was three months. Rice cereal was added to his milk to stop the throwing up and increased the constipation. I have changed his milk several times. I have tried prune, peaches, karo syrup, glycerin suppository, water, exercise, juices, nothing works.

anon37748
Post 16

I have tried many remedies for my childrens' constipation and the best is: 3 ounces room temperature water and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. For my children...it takes about an hour for a bowel movement and they are not in pain when they go. Also...you can try 1 teaspoon olive oil (orally)...this works great too. Good luck!!!

anon35869
Post 14

We have an almost 3 month-old baby. Ten days ago we started adding formula to his breastmilk and he showed some constipation. We boiled 5 prunes and collected the liquid. One coffe spoon of it in the 90 cc of water we use to make the formula. It worked very well.

Also some doctors recommend a daily teaspoon of Karo, which is an American molasses (syrup) made out of corn (i.e. it is fructose, a form of sugar). Karo is not available everywhere, but corn syrup should be available in naturist stores and fancy supermarkets or in the internet.-- Claudio- Poland

anon35672
Post 13

Prunes did help not 100%.

I took my daughter to a specialist in Marfaq Hospital (Abu Dhabi, UAE) and he told me that I have to add sugar to my daughter's routine milk and it can be 1-4 teaspoon i.e. keep increasing until positive results. My baby is 100 OK now, Thanks to Allah.

I hope this helps you guys, I know it's hard to see your loved ones in pain. --Zamad.

anon35355
Post 12

We have a 6 week old that hasn't had a bm for 2 days. He drinks 4 oz of enfamil with iron and takes zantac ranitidine twice a day and takes mylicon for gas relief. What would you suggest?

anon35337
Post 11

I have a 7 month old son who is consistently constipated (ever since we started solids). Prunes and prune juice do not seem to be helping. Any suggestions?

anon31049
Post 10

To relieve constipation an easy way is boil 7 to 8 raisins in a 1 glass(8oz) of water, let it boil till the water comes to 2oz. and just mash the raisins with the help of a spoon, strain and give the water to your baby. This is safe to give when the baby is 1 month old.

Riz

zamad
Post 9

My daughter is cured after many months of struggle and consultations - I gave her *prunes* & she is fine now, only sometimes I have to increase/decrease the volume.

Thanks to everybody.

Zamad

anon30046
Post 8

My child is 1 1/2 years old and he's having many problems of constipation. What should I do? Can u suggest any home remedies?

Antoinette
Post 7

hi. i have a soon to be 5 mth old baby girl. she has been having trouble having a bowel movement. i change her milk and she's be fine for a while, then back to being constipated. she even bleeding a little. what can i do to help her? i even talked to a doctor and nothing. please help.

anon29431
Post 6

i had the same problem of constipation when my 4 week old was changing formulas. i found that lactulose worked great and it was prescribed by her doctor. i softened up her stool and made it easy for her to have a movement. i even used some and it worked. i had to up the dose of course, but when used accordingly there were no side effects for my daughter

zamad
Post 5

Hi,

I have a daughter of 1 year. Since many months she is having constipation, tried lots; increase liquid/water, fruit juices..etc

She is still not OK and passing hard stool with tears in eyes-which I cannot tolerate, as is common with every parent.

Please Help Me-what can I do to fix this problem?

Yes, been to more than 10 doctors for the same reason and *no help.*

johnson9403
Post 4

i have a soon to be nine month old baby girl that we have been trying to change over to table food. she has become constipated with the change over. please give comment on a solution. thank you

anon17118
Post 3

You can prepare by yourself a home made puree for your baby. About peaches - peel them and put them in boiling water for 1 minute, than you can make them puree, and don't add sugar.

About prunes - you must peel them too. The same way, like peaches.

If you want to prepare prune juice - after you squeeze the prunes, put them in a sieve. - tanja

anon17117
Post 2

you should give your son more fruit purees and especially peaches, apricots, prunes, you should never give your baby bananas, rice and yogurt, because things will be getting worse. I have a son 19 months old and I still breastfeeding him. He makes "aki" every morning. But always give him fruits- that is very important. -tania

olittlewood
Post 1

I started feeding my son this month, after he turned six months, and the solid food has started making him a bit more constipated. he's been exclusively breastfed since birth, but i think the solids are affecting him. should i up his fluids? or do i need to try prune juice? right now, he's been eating brown rice cereal, sweet potatoes, peas, bananas, avacodo and squash. i haven't added any other foods yet. so far, he has responded really well to the food, a little gas (and stinky!) but no other reactions.

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