Baby Health

Constipation in babies

This is not medical advice always consult with your doctor if in doubt.

What is normal for your baby?

If you’re concerned that your baby may be constipated, first consider what her normal pattern is. How often she has a bowel movement depends on factors such as what she eats and drinks, how active she is, and how quickly she digests food. She may poop after every feeding, or she may wait a day or more in between.

Babies who breastfeed exclusively are rarely constipated. Breast milk naturally balances fat and protein, so it produces stools that are almost always soft – even if your baby hasn’t pooped for several days. If your baby is breastfed, there’s no “normal” number or schedule – only what’s typical for your baby. It’s not unheard of for breastfed babies to have one bowel movement a week.

If your baby drinks formula or eats solid food, she’ll probably poop at least once a day.

How can I treat my baby’s constipation at home?

Here are some home remedies to try:

  • Help her get some exercise. If your baby’s a crawler, encourage her to do a few laps. If she’s not crawling yet, try pumping her legs instead. While she’s lying on her back, gently move her legs in a forward, circular motion as if she were pedaling a bicycle. Carrying out bicycle kicks – helps any new-born with bowel movements and reduces discomfort
  • Massage your baby’s belly. For step-by-step instructions, watch this video about baby massage for helping digestion.
  • If you feed your baby formula, ask her doctor about switching to a different brand or type.
  • If your baby is old enough to eat a variety of solid foods, cut down on constipating foods like rice and bananas. Try higher-fiber foods such as pureed prunes, peas, apricots, or pears, or whole-grain cereals to help loosen her bowel movements.
  • If your baby is passing such hard, dry stools that you see a little blood or even slight tears (fissures) in the delicate skin near the opening of her anus, you can apply an ointment such as petroleum or nonpetroleum jelly to the area to help it heal. Keep the area as clean and dry as possible, and mention the fissures to your baby’s doctor.