Constipation is when there are dry, hard, pellet-like or crumbly stools that are also irregular and usually passed with pain. If the bowels do not act each day, but the stool is soft, that is not constipation. There may be a problem, like insufficient intake of food, but it may also be totally within normal limits too.
Try these baby constipation remedies
- Offering water to a baby less than five to six months will not really relieve constipation as they cannot yet drink enough to make a difference. For older babies, offering water bottles between feeds or frequent sips throughout the day will mostly help with constipation.
- Beverages like weak rooibos baby organic tea can replace water for babies who won’t drink water, but cut out other drinks like fruit juices and cold drinks.
- Apply a little petroleum jelly around baby’s anal area and ride ‘bicycle’ with baby’s legs when he is straining to pass a motion.
- Add a few drops of olive oil to two to four of baby’s bottles a day.
- Holding baby upright and massaging his lower back while he strains can also improve constipation and associated discomfort.
- Switch formula if you’re formula feeding. Baby milk formula is a common trigger, as it is far less easily digested. It is common for a baby to suddenly start having digestive discomfort with painful cramping and bloating when changing from the totally baby-friendly composition of breast milk to formula milk, and this often precedes or accompanies constipation. The added iron in formula milk may lead to hard, dry, dark, constipated stools. Try a few different formula milks to find one that agrees with your baby – although one should give baby a few weeks to adjust to any particular brand unless discomfort is very bad.
- Constipation often occurs when babies begin eating solid foods. Cereals are often the trigger for constipation. New foods can also cause constipation. When this happens simply avoid the food until later.
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.