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10 Ways to Ease Baby’s Constipation

If your baby seems to be straining, or if her diaper is filled with hard pellets, that’s a sure sign things that your baby or infant might be constipated. If your baby or infant is suffering from chronic constipation, or if you ever find blood in your baby’s stool, contact a doctor ASAP, as these can be signs of a serious condition.

This gallery is for informational purposes only – always call your pediatrician with any medical questions. That said, check out these 10 tips that moms have used for eons to treat baby constipation quickly and getting their baby bowels running smoothly again!

1. Increase Your Baby’s Water Consumption

a glass of water

Whether your baby is breast or bottle fed, it’s easy to assume she’s getting enough water due to a primarily liquid diet. If your baby is showing signs of constipation, try giving her an additional 2-4 ounces (1/4 – 1/2 cup) of water after each feeding to help bowels flush properly.

2. Introduce Fruit Juice

a baby's bottle filled with apple juice

Prune juice has a natural laxative effect, but pear or apple juices also work well to relieve minor constipation. Most babies quickly develop a preference for juice because of how sweet it is, so only offer full strength juices when your little one is constipated. To avoid gas, start slowly with less than 2 ounces of juice after feedings.

3. High-Fiber Foods

Apricots with leaves

Bananas, rice cereal, carrots, and cheese are a mainstay of most infant diets – they also tend to have a binding effect on stool. Foods like apricots, pears, prunes, peaches, and plums are better choices to help avoid constipation in babies and infants.

4. Give Your Baby “Bicycle Legs”

Sometimes making your baby’s body move will help get his bowels moving, too. Place your baby on his back in front of you. Lift up his legs and move them in a circular motion to mimic the motions of peddling a bicycle. The movement should help to release some abdominal pressure and get things going in the right direction.

5. Switch to a Different Brand of Formula

baby formula

If your baby gets formula, sometimes a switch is all it takes to relieve constipation. Every baby reacts differently to the ingredients of each type of formula, so try a few brands to find the one your baby tolerates best. Most brands have a low-lactose option, which your baby may tolerate better.

6. Check Your Baby’s Temperature

a baby thermometer

Rectal stimulation can help your baby’s bowels to move. Use Vaseline to lubricate the tip of a rectal thermometer and insert it into your baby’s bottom. Very gently wiggle JUST the tip a few times before removing it. The stimulation will often cause a bowel movement to occur.

7. Massage Baby’s Tummy

a mom massaging her baby's tummy

With your baby on her back, place your hand on her belly button. Using a clockwise motion, massage your baby’s tummy in ever bigger circles. Follow your baby’s cues as to how much pressure to use. If she fusses or cries, you’re pressing too hard.

10 Ways to Ease Baby's Constipation Infographic
10 Ways to Ease Baby’s Constipation Infographic

8. Give Baby a Warm Bath

A warm bath will soothe almost anyone. The thought is that the warm water will help your baby relax, allowing his body to let go of what he’s been holding in. When you’re drying him off is also a perfect time to try the tummy massage technique to help ease your baby’s constipation.

9. Use a Glycerin Suppository

a person holding a Glycerin Suppository

Consult with your doctor regarding exactly how much of a suppository you should use. Depending on your child’s age, size, and how long they’ve been constipated, your doctor may recommend anywhere from ¼ to one whole children’s suppository. Glycerin suppositories will typically cause a bowel movement within 15-30 minutes.

10. What Not to Do

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Because babies are small they can quickly become dangerously dehydrated. It is recommended to never use mineral oil, enemas, or stimulant laxatives on your baby.

If none of the previous tips help relieve your baby’s constipation a doctor’s visit is required to rule out any other potentially serious underlying conditions.

Talk to your medical professional

Every baby is a unique little butterfly, and their reactions to various constipation relief techniques are different than other babies. Some parents might start by trying out some of the more common strategies like prune juice or sugar-free popsicles, but if those don’t work they should contact a doctor immediately since chronic constipation can be dangerous for young children (and even adults). The advice from medical professionals may alleviate the problem quickly with less experimentation on parts of parents’ time!

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