BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
Constipation in Babies
Berkeley Parents Network >
The Potty >
Constipation in Babies
I have a 2 week old son (truly a blessing) with constipation.
As he was small at birth, my doctor has us supplimenting
breastfeeding with formula. I pump as well as he is still
learning full feeding techniques. (I am working with LCs - who
are great.)Even with the pumping, I am a low producer. So I have
to supplement at least half of every thing he eats with the
I think the formula I am using to supplement is constipating
him. As nearly all formulas are iron fortified, I wonder if the
Iron is the culprit?!? (I know Iron is binding for adults...) My
other concern is that my husband's family is lactose
intolerant...so perhaps the lactose is the culprit.
My doctor is not very responsive - so I am turning to you folks
for advice.I hate seeing this little one straining so much.
He has gone from 10 dirty diapers per day to 1 every other day.
I know formula babies have fewer diapers - but he really seems
to suffer to make that one diaper.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
First of all, congratulations on the birth of your baby! It must be very
exciting for you and your partner to have such little and beautiful person
joining your life!
I do not know if this advice helps, but I have two sons who had completely
different pooping schedule when newborns. While my second son poopled
several times a day, my older son pooped only once in every 4 ~ 6 days,,,. Of
course we were very worried about him, whether he was unconfortable with his
schedule or not. We also seeked advice to several doctors, but the did not
seem so concerned. One doctor who is a father of my friend said that ''Well,,,
it is hard for a baby to turn liquid (milk) into solid (poops.)''. His poops
were never liquidy, but more like thick cream cheese. He also told me that every
baby is different, although at the time it was not that convinsing advice for
However, after all we stopped worring about it too much since he seemed
happy and not crying because of it. He also grew a lot (born about 6lb and 7
oz. One month later he weighed 10 lb and 2oz, gaining 3 lb and 5 oz in his
first month.) We came to believe that he simply absorbed all the milk he was
getting so nothing was left to come out.
As long as your baby is not too fussy or in pain, I would not worry too much
about his poop schedule. Once in every other day seems still normal to me.
Once thing we were suggested to do is to cook ''Riso di Orzo'' (in Italian. I
think it means barley rice?), dilute liquid with boiled and cooled water, then
give it just about half to one tea spoon to him. My midwife told me it will
help ease constipation. It did no help that much, but we did it anyway whenever
he did not poop for more than 3 days.
Mom of two active boys
I'm not a doctor or a lactation consultant, so I'm not sure of
the value of my advice, but I wonder about a couple of things.
Did your pediatrician recommend the supplementing after you'd
tried exclusively breastfeeding? Or just prophylactically
because your baby was small? If it's the latter, the formula
might not have been necessary. I've nursed both my daughters
without formula, and each one put on a significant amount of
weight from the breastmilk alone (over 12 pounds in the first 4
months), and it's not from large quantities of milk. In fact,
the supplementing could be to blame for your low supply. I
certainly wouldn't want to disparage your doctor's advice, but
your post makes me wonder whether the doctor is truly
supportive of your breastfeeding, or at least whether the
doctor's fully informed -- you said they're not responsive to
your concerns, right?
If all of this is the case, I might consider switching
pediatricians. There are lots of terrific ones out there who
might advise you more fully in this area.
If you'd prefer to stick with the supplementing, I don't think
the constipation is due to lactose intolerance. My husband's
family is also lactose intolerant, but that doesn't usually
lead to constipation -- in fact, just the opposite. The iron
sounds like more of the culprit to me (but again, I'm not a
Did you also ask your lactation consultant? Did they feel the
supplementing was necessary? I am curious about how your baby
would do without the formula, although I must warn you that
exclusive breastfeeding is incredibly exhausting at first.
Whatever you choose to do, good luck!
I believe the iron is the culprit, it is hard for him to
digest. From what I've read, babies don't need iron supplements
until they are 6 months old, which is when they begin to
deplete the supply they were born with. That is why doctors
recommend starting them with iron fortified rice cereal at that
time. I would try switching to a non-iron fortified formula and
see if in a couple of days that helps.
Lactose intolerance can often be attributed to beginning to eat
dairy products at too early an age. Our pediatrician recommends
not introducing dairy at all until our baby is 1 year old.
(This also goes for other possible allergy related foods - egg
yolks, peanuts). My husband is lactose intolerance, so we may
even wait longer than that (Dr. Sears recommends waiting to
well into 2nd year.)
However, according to Dr. Sears this dairy ban doesn't apply to
formula. Here's a link to Dr. Sear's website, where he says
why it is better to give dairy based formula instead of soy
(unless otherwise directed by your doctor) and why:
My daughter is 7 weeks old and is breastfed. The first two
weeks of her life she was a champion pooper--6+ a day. Then
the poops diminished to one every 3 to 4 days. While I was
concerned, our pediatrician group's booklet for new parents
indicated only to intervene if the baby didn't poop for 5 days
(in that case putting alittle vaseline on a rectal thermometer
or cutting an infant suppository in half). At about 5 1/2
weeks she began pooping almost every day and now she poops
twice a day most days. My sister's babies also went through
similar phases whereas some friend's babies never did.
Most likely the problem is the formula. Iron is binding, and
constipation is an issue formula fed babies face much more often
than breast milk only fed babies.
I would say that the least likely problem is lactose intolerance
for a few reasons. The first reason is that it is extremely rare
for a human baby to be lactose intolerant: breast-milk is very
high in lactose, and it just doesn't make sense that nature
would allow great numbers of babies to be allergic to their
mothers' milk. The second reason is that lactose intolerance is
something that develops in people as they age... usually it
doesn't start until the teenage years or later. Additionally,
most people I know with lactose intolerance experience the
opposite of constipation.
Have you discussed these issues with your lactation consultants.
They would probably be more responsive than the dr. You might
also want to join the pumpingmoms email list. They are chock
full of info, advice, support and help. www.pumpingmoms.org
All three of my sons experienced constipation at some time
in their infancies - because I worked part-time they were
both breast and formula fed. What I would do was put a
small (say 1 tablespoon) of prune juice in a 4 oz bottle of
formula. I usually only had to do this once or twice and it got
them going again. Given how young your baby is you might
start with a lesser amount and check with your doc/advice
nurse. Did you ever think you would get so fixated about
poop! Congrats on your little one!
Yes, formula can be constipating, primarily because of the high
iron level. Lactose intolerance usually manifests itself in
other ways, so although it's certainly a possibility, that's
probably not what's causing the constipation.
Your main focus should be on solving your breastfeeding
challenges and eliminating or at least reducing the amount of
formula your baby gets. When you can get him on all breastmilk,
this problem (as well as a host of other health risks) will
likely disappear. (I hope, in a way, that there is more going
on than you've said -- low birth weight in and of itself is not
a good reason to use formula! -- but mostly I hope that you are
able to quickly resolve whatever issues you have and get your
baby onto exclusively breastmilk as soon as possible! Your LCs
have advised you not to use bottles for the supplemental
feedings, right? :-) )
Meanwhile, however, ask your LCs and the baby's doctor about
using a low-iron formula for some or all of the supplemental
feedings. They do exist. If there are other symptoms of
lactose intolerance as well, you may want to try soy based
formula or Nutramigen.
Member of the ''Breastfeeding Brigade''
You should not worry!!! Sometimes my entirely breastfed baby didn't go
poop for 4 days and now that he eats food he goes longer and he also
strains and then he finally poops. A mom in my mom's group has a son
who never has ever gone more than every 9 days. Just be aware that
he needs lots of fibre when he is older and starts food, In the meantime
as long as he is not in pain (i.e. crying b/c his tummy hurts or when he
poops) then rest assured that your baby is totally with in the realm of
We have a 2 month old son who goes for days without a bowel
movement. He grunts and strains a lot like he is trying to go to
the bathroom, but the most that ever happens is he passes gas.
He often lets out a high-pitch squeal and cries when he's doing
this, so it seems to me like he is in pain. Our pediatrician
says it is normal for babies his age to go for days without a
bowel movement, but because our baby is in pain, it is difficult
for me to watch. We have used glycerine suppositories to induce
bowel movements - we usually give him 4-5 days before doing
this - but the little guy has not gone on his own for over a
month! We would love to hear from parents who have had similar
experiences. What can we do to comfort our baby when he is in
pain? Should we be waiting as long as we are to ''help him out''?
Are we impeding his development by inducing bowel movements? How
long can we expect this to last?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
Poopless in Berkeley
Your child is very likely not in pain, and you are making things
much worse by using the glycerin suppositories. Two-month-olds
grunt, strain, moan. They make very bizarre noises. That's
totally normal. They are figuring out their systems, growing used
to them. Were he in pain he would be crying hysterically. You
must listen to your doctor's advice. It's normal for a child that
age to go days without pooping. Leave him alone. I also suggest
that you change pediatricians...if you don't feel comfortable
enough to trust your doctor's very sound advice then you need to
find someone you do trust, so you don't end up in this situation
mother of four.
I wonder whether your 2 month old is still mainly nursing? When
our daughter was 2 months old, she tended to go 5-8 days between
bowel movements. We were told that it was normal for breastfed
babies to go many days between bowel movements--apparently,
breastmilk is very well absorbed, and there just isn't much left
over. As for the discomfort, a lot of babies seem to suffer some
digestive discomfort during the first 3 months, which does make
sense--that system is just coming online for the first time! We
found that abdominal massage (from a book that might have just
been called Infant Massage) really helped--it made the baby more
comfortable, and it let us feel like we were doing something to
help. Elephant Pharmacy on Shattuck also used to have free
infant massage classes and may still--if not there are lots of
weekend classes around.
I cannot recomend Gripe Water more highly. Originally from
England it is all natural, with ginger and fennel. The ginger
helps with digestion and the fennel acts as a bit of a
relaxing/laxative agent. I first read about it with my third
child on Babycenter.com and there were something like 800
reviews all gushing over the stuff so I had to try it. There
are times when it seems to work instantly. I even use it
whenever I feel bloaty and yucky. It has a bit of a strong,
yet sweet taste so different kids may react differently but it
is a very popular item in our house with our four kids. Much
better than simethicone (sp?) which I haven't bought for years
now- just Gripe Water. It is available in most health food
stores. Also, it is common for babies over a month who are
breastfed to go for a few days without a BM- just watch out
when they do. One of my twins went for about 6 days without a
poop and when he did it came out his sleeves!
Best of luck
When my daughter was an infant she only pooped about every 11 days. Yes, that's
right - once every 11 days. She had a lot of gas pain as well. We did the
suppository only once and vowed never to do it again. When she did poop the
consistency was good so it wasn't a matter of her being constipated. Our doctor
told us that some breast fed babies poop infrequently because they are so good at
fully using up the milk that there is very little to poop out. As she got older she
gradually started to poop more often. We were also told by the doctor that it can
take up to a year for a baby's digestive tract to fully develop. She continued to poop
infrequently and did actually become constipated when she was about one or two
years old. To remedy this we put a little bit of prune juice in her milk. We did this
until she was about 3.5 years old. She is 5 now and poops every day or every other
day. Her digestion is great and she doesn't need any prune juice at all. We worried
a lot about her lack of pooping and we really wished we didn't. The only thing that
was problematic was her gas when she was an infant but she got over it by the time
she was 4 months. Don't worry. It's going to be okay. I know this lack of pooping
is different from most kids - but it really is okay.
I have a 2 year old who had and a 2 month old who has the exact
same problem. I remember this lasting about 3-4 weeks with my 2
year old and I am hoping that it will be about the same with
the new baby. I usually give a glycerin suppository every 3
days minimum to help with the discomfort and he usually sleeps
much better too. Hang in there--this too shall pass!!
Our 3-month old daughter is breastfed, thriving, and rarely
poops. Do we DO anything? She seems to be working on
one often (this is our second child) but we see a poo only
every 5-6 days. What happens when a child with this
tendency gets older?
My daughter also rarely pooped, which was of great concern to me
initially, since my son seemed to poop every time he nursed! My
Doc said to only worry about it if it seemed like she was having
a hard time pooping, and then to try to get her to drink a bit
more. Once she went to solids, it all resolved itself fine
(she's now a year). She poops very regularly, twice a day now,
with no apparent problems. So, if your daughter is often
straining or seems uncomfortable, I'd ask your pediatrician what
he/she recommends, otherwise, enjoy the lack of poopy diapers to
We had the same problem with our 2nd breastfed child. We used
to joke that he only pooped on Tuesdays! We asked our
pediatrician and she said it was perfectly normal at that age
for some children to poop only about once a week.
Once he started eating solid food he began pooping every day
(and we kind of missed the old odor-less days!)
Hi there, My daughter also rarely pooped. Sometimes she
would go 11 days without pooping. I was so worried about it
- but she was also thriving, gaining lots of weight etc. We
spoke with many doctors and they all said we had nothing to
worry about. She wasn't pooping because she was using
up all of my breast milk. She didn't have any solid food until
10 months (her choice). She has always been a very large
child (off the charts). Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it. We
saved a lot of money on diapers. I also asked for advice
about this issue and heard from a lot of parents who had
the same experience as me which was very reasurring.
Just relax. She'll start pooping regularly when she gets
It's TOTALLY normal for a 3 (and 4, and 5) month old to poop as
seldom as once a week. You don't have to worry about it and
there is nothing you need to do about it. Just be happy you
don't have to change as many diapers for a while :)
In a couple of months, when you introduce solids, his pooping
will become more frequent.
That's the wonderful thing about breastfeeding -- breast milk is
such perfect food that babies are super efficient at processing
it and don't need to excrete very much. It's not a sign of
constipation, it's a sign of healthy nursing! Once your little
one switches to solids, I'm sure she'll be pooing like a champ.
Are your child's poops soft? If so, this is totally normal and
absolutely no cause for concern. Don't change anything. Just
keep breastfeeding and thank your lucky stars you don't have to
change more poopy diapers! Breastmilk is such a perfect food
that there's almost no waste, and many breastfed babies only
poop once a week.
When she gets older and eats solid foods, her pooping patterns
will change. Her current pattern will have no bearing on this.
our boy seldom pooped even as an infant -- similar to your
little one, once every 4-7 days. he never seemed
uncomfortable, so it seemed to be his rhythm. he is now
2.5 and he poops once every day or two. he has had some
problems with constipation (but not until he was almost 2),
including one ugly bout that kept him up most of the night
and shaking and crying to pass it. we talked with our doctor
and she recommend we give him ''Benefiber'' and it has
helped. it dissolves tastelessly in his juice. enjoy those
easy diaper changes!
Our daughter was the same from 2.5 to 4 months. We
thought it might be related to the stress of our move, which
was happening at that time. We tried warm baths, making
sure she was well rested, and making sure she was getting
enough hindmilk when breastfeeding, but she was always
miserable by the end of the pooping cycle. The problem
went away on its own at 4 months and hasn't been an issue
for a few weeks.
This problem sounds very familiar to me. My now 3-year-old has
been dealing with it since his first weeks, when he once went 8
days without a poop. Definitely talk to your doctor about
this. When our son was an infant, we occasionally used
suppositories to relieve him. As he got a bit older, we gave
him baby oatmeal instead of rice cereal, which can be
constipating and put a small dollop of mineral oil in the
oatmeal. When he started baby food, we avoided bananas and went
heavy on the prunes, plums and peaches. At 3, we still avoid
bananas. He gets mineral oil every morning and night in his
sippy cup of milk, and we occasinally resort to prune juice.
The doctor says he will outgrow this, but I am still waiting for
it not to be a struggle to poop.
I could have written your exact same msg a year ago when my
second was 3 mos old. Now he's 15 mos. and totally regular on
the poops. We talked to our pediatrician about it because we
did marvel on how anybody could go for 5 days without pooping,
but it's just one of those things. If they are otherwise
healthy, that's just the way your babe is, and no need to worry-
they'll eventually grow out of it.
I have an almost 5 month old baby. She also started pooping once
every 2-3 days. I was worried at first but just thought it was
her metabolism. I asked her doctor and she said not to worry as
long as when it comes out it is not hard and she is not
suffering. Since your baby is being breastfed, she is getting
the necessary water she needs. Ask your doctor nevertheless if
you are worried. My daughter still poops, sometimes everyday,
other times every 2-3 days and she is fine and thriving. I hope
If your child is not straining or otherwise showing discomfort
or pain, then this is pretty normal. Have you spoken with your
pediatrician to rule out anatomical problems or nerve disease?
My 3 month old daughter suffers from the same problem. She has
had problems passing stool since birth. If she does not have a
bowel movement by two days, then she will go almost
indefinitely. At this point I have to stimulate her anus with a
thermometer in order to help her make a bowel movement.
After frequent talks with her pediatrician, two visits to a
pediatric gastroenterologist, and a barium enema, we determined
that she has a tight anus. (Yes, our otherwise totally laid back
baby girl is a tight ass.)
We are now undergoing a twice-daily therapy to help her stretch
this muscle. It's simple and hopefully we'll see results after
If you'd like a second opinion from another pediatrician or if I
can share the name of our pediatric gastroenterologist, please
send me an email. Best of luck.
I bet you will get lots of responses in this community, but just
in case you don't...
Don't worry about it. Breastmilk is such a perfect food for
babies that there is hardly any waste... hence hardly any need
to poop. I have heard of babies who go as infrequently as every
14 days and are still having healthy bowel movements. Things
will change over time. Probably once your baby starts solids in
a few months you will start seeing more frequent poops... maybe
you won't though. You don't really need to worry about frequency
as long as the consistency of poops is not dry and hard and
causing distress when the baby had a movement. Pooping everyday
is one of those health myths/values that come from the 19th
century... it isn't really necessary for everyone.
mom of two
ah-ha! this is the new trick of my 3 month-old also! he's also exclusively
breastfed, and initially it started out as every other day he'd poop, then he
went an entire WEEK and boy oh boy when he finally went....geeeeez! his new
''regular'' schedule is at least every 3 days. i'm told
by the pediatrician that it's perfectly normal, not to worry until about 10
days without a poop and even then, it's probably fine. they say it lasts just a few
another mom of 'efficient-pooper'
I remember my first daughter pooped so much and everyday we called her "The
Mad Crapper". So I was really surprised and worried when my second daughter
rarely pooped, maybe only once every 3 days and sometime longer. Both
exclusively breastfed the same and all. Turns out this is just the way she
was, an efficient pooper. And she just turned 5 today so it all is well.
My son is 4 and half month old and he is having constipation for
couple times. I used glucerin suppository and it didn't work. He
is trying to put restrain on the bottom and that makes him so
difficult and no poop. If anyone who faced this kind of problem
to their child do please give some advice. I try to give him
water and apple juice but he is hardly drinking it. I used
seringe to let him drink it but it takes a long time to finish
an ounce. I am a new mom and feeling nervous.
My son is 8 months old and has struggled on and off with constipation.
Our doctor recommended extra water, and to give apple/bananas only a
little (both can be constipating). Also, she said to try a small bit of
baby food prunes, but watch to see if he has any cramping (although it
will do the trick). She also said to try to add a tiny bit of sugar to
his water, but I think that is because he is formula-fed and breast milk
is sweeter (the sweet stuff apparently pulls the moisture out of the
intestines). Finally, I've noticed that more activity and a bit of
mangoes can do the trick also. Good luck!!
Hi new mommy-
First of all, I think you need to clarify how you have determined that
your child is ''constipated.'' It is completely normal for a child who
is solely breastfed to not have a bowel movement for DAYS. I've heard of
some who have not had a BM in a week and it's fine. I worried about it
too when my son was that little and the doctor said that kids can go 7
days without a BM if they are solely breastfed because breast milk is a
perfect food that can be totally digested (so no waste products.) I
would refrain from using things like suppositories because they can just
make the problem (if there really is a problem) worse.
My son did eventually have a constipation problem, once I stopped solely
breast feeding. And it became a terrible cycle that my doctor said
could, in part, be psychological. That is, he probably had poops that
hurt so then he started holding them in because he became afraid of them
and then the waste was becoming more compacted. So I started giving him
more fluid and also gave him a good amount of pears.
Pears worked wonders for both my son and his friends who had the same
problem. I also took a class out of Kaiser on Infant Massage and it
really helped his constipation. You do not have to be a Kaiser member to
sign up for the class.
Just go to their Health Education department and they will let you know
how to do this.
But again, I did this well after he was done solely breastfeeding and
when he was starting solids. Though I would highly encourage an infant
massage class right now anyway. It's a great thing to do with your child
for numerous reasons beyond digestive health. Anyway, I have a feeling
you might not have a problem with constipation at all, particularly if
all you are giving him is breastmilk. Take care!
It's not clear from your question whether your son seems upset, what the
poop's consistency is, and how often he goes, so I'm not prepared to
compare to other breastfed babies. Also - is he exclusively breastfed
other than the water/juice you've just started? But my one bit of
advice is do not give him apple juice. For many kids (including both of
mine), apple juice actually makes constipation worse. Same for
Something about cooked apples. I think other fruit juices - pear,
prune, grape - do not have this effect R.K.
Are you sure he's constipated? When my boy was five months old he
wouldn't poop for a week (happened multiple times). One time he went
eight days. Kaiser said not to worry as long as he seemed happy and kept
eating, and his poops were nice and loose when he did go. All those were
in place, so I didn't worry. Now at seven months he poops every day or
every other day. I wouldn't start giving him laxatives and those
suppositories unless you know there's a problem
I had the same problem with my son. I used an old remedy that worked
for him. I took a spice bag and filled it with dried anise seeds and I
soaked it in his milk and warmed it so the essence would seep into the
milk and gave that to him to drink.
I had tried prune juice and apple juice but he did not respond
to that. Good luck
I was having same problem with my baby at more or less the same age.
The doctor told me it was normal, but I could see my baby very
uncomfortable after 5 days with no bowel movement.
I will boil some prunes (like 5) in one liter of water, cool it down and
gave him that to drink, some times I'll have to add a bit of brown sugar
so he will drink it. Or chop the boiled prune wich will be very soft and
give him some.
I didn't start solids until almost 7 months, and my baby was exclusively
The doctor told me I could just give him prune jiuce from the store but
I rather boil my own prunes and It worked wonders.
I had this problem for quite a while, with no aparent reason since the
only source of food he had was breast milk. But it just went away on
I hope this helps but talk to your pediatrician first Been there.
I assume your child has not started solids? Cereal and bananas can cause
constipation for babies just starting solids.
Otherwise, have you talked to your pediatrician about this? If not, then
I would highly recommend giving him/her a call.
After our child repeatedly refused watered down prune juice, the
pediatrician recommended mixing 1 tsp. of Karo DARK corn syrup with 2-4
oz. of water. Warm the solution up to body temperature, and try giving
that to your child. It worked for us, but we were giving our baby both
breastmilk and formula (the formula was the cause of the constipation).
Also, as long as he was on formula, we had to give him about 2-4 oz of
the syrup/water every day to ensure he didn't get constipated again anon
When my daughter was 3 months old I thought she was constipated because
she would go 2-3 days without having a bowel movement.
She was also strictly breast fed. Her doctor (from Kaiser
Permanente) said, however, that it is normal for breastfed babies to go
a few days without having a bowel movement. She said that I should not
worry unless she goes 7 days or more.
How many days has your child gone without a bowel movement?
I have a 4.5 month old daughter who seems to be having a lot of
trouble digesting formula. My milk supply has been depeleted
since I've gone back to work; she drinks more during the day
than I'm able to pump, so now we're down to supplementing with a
bottle of formula a day. Last week we tried Enfamil, but after
a bottle on Tuesday and another on Wednesday, she didn't have a
bowel movement Wednesday or Thursday, and by Friday was pretty
much inconsolable and unable to have a bowel movement. We
resorted to glycerin suppositories, which did the trick. This
week we tried Carnation Good Start, which seemed easier
initially, but she's still not had a bowel movement, and this
morning is pretty miserable. Any advice on what would make this
easier for her? Is the transition to formula usually such a
painful experience? Help!
Two thoughts. 1) this is not unusual. Try different formulas.
Different things work for different babies. 2) Formula aside, a
lot of babies go through periods of constipation. Mine did as she
was moving from messy infant bowel movements to more solid,
tootsie roll ones. I seem to recall my doctor saying a full week
without a poop is not out of the ordinary.
Some babies just have trouble digesting formula, especially at
such an early age. I had similar problems so decided to try to
solve the difficulty from the other side, by trying to increase
the amount of milk I pumped. I found that pumping more frequently
for shorter periods increased the total volume of milk. If your
employer will allow it, try to negotiate several shorter breaks
rather than fewer longer breaks. I also found I produced more
milk when I focused on images of my hungry daughter. I put a
picture of her on my breast pump and spent a few minutes closing
my eyes and imagining her calling for me and feeling her against
me. It's surprising how that increased the volume!
-- a breastfeeding working mother
Are you using a formula that's iron fortified? That can cause
constipation. Ask your pediatrician if you can give her the
formula without iron, and see if that makes a difference.
Have you tried to increase your milk supply? It sounds like she
thrives on your milk - why not work on increasing production
rather than supplementing? Perhaps your pump is not the most
effective for you? Do you have an electric pump? Have you tried
other pumps? Do you picture your baby when pumping (stressing
will reduce your output)? Do you have a comfortable and safe
place to pump?
My pediatrician recommended giving a couple of ounces of water
each day to my babies (formula fed), not as a substitute for the
oz's of formula they were getting, but to help move things
along. We never had to resort to juice or suppositories (that
might have been necessary if things got extreme)--the water
seemed to do the trick.
I have heard that some brands of formula are easier for some
kids than others--like, my daughter did really well on Enfamil
with iron, but I know other kids who did much better on Similac,
or some other formula with a slightly different ''mix.''
Is she feeling more thirsty than before?
She should take in more fluids.
Otherwise, try mixing some prune juice with the formula.
Adjust the proportions according to the poop consistency.
All three of our kids got constipated with formula. Our doctor
suggested 1) adding a bit more water to the formula, to
dilute it a bit and 2) adding a touch of molasses to the bottle
at each feeding. You can also use mineral oil. We tried
both, and both worked well. There is another kind of
cooking item that we used, but I forget the name now. Ask
your baby's doctor (I think it is a fairly normal reaction, and
they seem to have a lot of tips).
I'm hoping that someone might be able to help me. To start off, my son
is 5 months old and he's on 3 7oz bottles of soy formula and 2 7oz.
bottles of breast milk. I'm not eating any dairy. He has a horrible
constipation problem. In fact I haven't changed a poopy diaper in over 3
months. The only way he'll go is after about 7-10 days I'll push his legs
up to his chest. He'll strain, cry and his face will get really red. It's not
hard when it comes out but not soft either. The dr. doesn't think I should
be worried, but I think it's strange. After insisting with my dr. to run a test
he's finally doing a barium enema on Thursday to see if he might have a
blockage or Hirshsprung's Disease. Has anyone had this kind of
problem? Also can anyone recommend a good pediatrician in the
Lamorinda area? We're out of the John Muir group right now. I'm
thinking about changing dr.s because I don't like how he made me feel
like I was overracting. My instincts just say something is wrong. Any
help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated!
I think your child's constipation is concerning. I don't want
to alarm you, but my nephew had a similar problem as an infant
and has been on a daily laxative for years (he is now 5)
because of what the chronic constipation did to his colon. My
point is that I do think the situation needs to be remedied.
Our daughter was seriously constipated for a few weeks when we
introduced solid food (at 5 months). Our pediatrician
recommended feeding apricot and peach nectar and prune juice,
as well as pureed versions of these fruits. It sounds like
your child is not on solid foods yet, but perhaps discuss the
idea of introducing these things with your doc.
I say trust your instincts- I am not a medical professional,
but 3 months seems way too long for such a young baby. From
what I hear, as long as the baby is not uncomfortable, then
infrequent (say, once a week) poops are not that big of a
concern. Our 13 week old son seems uncomfortable if he goes
more than a day. We do several things to ''help'' him along.
Warm baths, a warm compess held against his bottom, baby
massage. We also took him to see Christine at the Hahnamen
Clinic for homeopothy- it worked wonders! Lastly, on the
advice of our Doula and pediatrician, we GENTLY insert a
lubricated anal themometer in his rectum and it really does the
trick (get advice from your doctor on how to do this so you
don't hurt the baby).
This may be old fashioned, but when I was 3 months old (I'm 51
now), I was severely constipated from my formula.
The MD's told my mom all kinds of things...give me more love, be
patient....one ped even stretched my rectum (to this day I still
have scar tissue)...then she met a chirpractor (who were
considered quacks back then, but he helped her with her
arthritis, so she was a firm believer) who told her to take the
malt out of my formula and replace it with honey. She said it
worked like magic.
They say not give infants younger than 3 mos. raw honey, but I
bet the honey she gave me wasn't raw, and yours is over 3 months.
It's worth a try!!! I don't think it's normal for anybody not to
be pooping regularly. Good luck,
Here is what we did:
We went to a pediatric gastroenterologist. They will be able to tell
you if your
child has a 'shelf' in the sphincter, which could be causing the
(Essentially, a shelf is a kind of 'L' shape that causes blockage to
thing to be concerned with is that your child could be getting an anal
which will need to be treated both with a topical and a stool softener.
the doctor will know how to help, but you need to go to a specialist,
your pediatrician says not to worry or just to change the diet, it is
go to a specialist. We went to the practice in SF which also
biofeedback for kids, in case they need help later to use the potty.
Get a second opinion. Very soon. It could be normal, but
should be checked. Dr. Kittams with Kiwi Pediatrics is a walking
encyclopedia on pe! diatric health. We also like Dr. Salzberg. Two
offices - San Pablo and Alcatraz in Berkeley.
This may seem like too simple a solution...but when our 6 month
old suffered from constipation, I ate a lot of prunes. As they
passed throught the breastmilk, it helped her tremendously. She
always had a BM within the next 24 hours. I also payed attention
to other constipating foods in my diet (rice, bananas, etc.) You
might also try rubbing the baby's stomach in a circular motion
around the navel periodically throughout the day. Good luck.
When my 13 year old daughter was a baby she had bad
constipation. Not as bad as you describe, but the stools
were so hard and dry she strained and had great difficulty
passing them. Once or twice while changing her I could see
the hard, dry stool partly coming out and even used a rectal
thermometer to gently help it along.
I thought it was awful to see her in such discomfort, and I
didn't seem like she was getting off to a good start in
developing healthy bowel habits! She was getting only soy
formula as I had some difficult nursing problems and
stopped nursing after two months. My pediatrician
suggested adding a product called Maltsuplex to the
formula to soften the stools and ease the constipation, and
it worked. It is brown powder, available over the counter in
pharmacies, or at least it was 13 years ago! The baby liked
the taste of it just fine (I think I gradually increased the
amount I added to her formula until I reached an effective
dose, and that way she became gradually accustomed to
the different taste.) There were no side effects,just relief!
The constipation problem went away when I took her off the
soy formula and started giving her cow's milk at about 13
mos. I've wondered since if she might have done better with
a cow's milk formula. I put her on the soy formula initially
because I was concerned about allergies, but I myself
tolerate cow's milk a lot better than soy, and I imagine it is
the same with some babies.
I am in Berkeley, so I can't recommend a pediatrician in your
area. Mine is Robin Winokur, and she's excellent.
Good luck with this--hope you get some answers soon!
Did you already try switching to a low iron formula? Iron can be
constipating (as is formula in general). You don't say whether
you also breastfeed -- is it possible to do so? The more
breastmilk, the looser the stools. Is he allergic to dairy? If
not, you might want to try Carnation Good Start -- supposed to
be easier to digest.
My 6 month old daughter was severly colicy as a newborn after 6 weeks or so she
just became constipated and has been ever since. She is strictly breastfeed no
formula, so I eliminated all dairy from my diet and that seemed to help with the
sever cramping in the middle of the night by about 20%. At 4 months I introduced
solids and was hoping that would eliminate the constipation. It hasn't... I feed her
prunes, apricots all the high fiber fruits. I stopped giving her rice cereal and give
her a barley cereal low in iron. I will give her a suppository once every 4 days
is the only way I can get a poop out of her and she's eating 2 meals a day and
breastfeeding in between.
Worst of all, she will not take a bottle, she chews on the nipple and pulls her head
away. I've even given her some water with prune juice hoping that she's drink it
because it was sweet. I've also tried the sippy cup. So my problem is two fold, how
do I get my daughter to take a bottle to get some water in her which I think will
help with the constipation but is there something else I can do to help with the
We are having similar problems with our seven-month-old. I started
''emergency measures'' when she had been blocked up for a few days at a
her only prunes and breastmilk until we were convinced she had passed
through. It took two-three days. We just discovered that she loves
being fed water
from a straw at restaurants so I am going to give her water that way to
see if she'll take
it. Good luck!
--fan of prunes
skip the bottle and try sippy cup or straw cup. My BF son had
constipation from the moment we introduced solids, and was on a
laxative until we moved to a straw cup. finally he was getting
enough liquid to move his poop softly. The sippy cup of water
was not quick enough liquid for him.
squisy pooped mom!
Our 9 month old daughter was also very constipated starting
around 6 months. No amount of prune or fiber food helped. It
was painful watching her cry loudly whenever she needs to have a
bowel movement. It was scary to see a little baby passing adult
looking bowel. What finally helped was milk of magnesia that I
mixed into her milk bottle. Also make sure she drinks water
throughout the day. In your case, if your daughter doesn't take
the bottle, may be mix water into her babyfood? If her doctor
approves, mix in milk of mag into her food. I think the trick is
to get her to take water throughout the day.
You say ''constipation'', which technically means your baby can't poop
stool is hard and she can't get it out. This is rare in a
breastfed-only infant, so I am
wondering if this is just a case of infrequent stooling, which is
perfectly fine as long
as the baby seems happy. My infant (breastfed only) only stools once
every week or
two! I was initially alarmed by this and also tried suppositories a
couple of times,
but her stools were always soft and small in amount. Finally her
pediatrician and I
concluded that she is very efficiently using all the milk and not
stool. It is just her way. Also I poked around online and found that,
there are other kids like this and they are healthy and happy. I now
accept that I get to change a lot fewer yucky diapers than I bargained
hope this helps
I'm sorry to hear that your baby is in so much distress. I do
have one question, though. Have you seen a doctor to confirm
that your baby is really constipated? It is so rare that
breastfed babies are constipated. AND, I was surprised to learn
with my baby that many breastfed babies only poop once a week or
even once every 10 days. One way to tell is if the stool is soft,
even if it is very infrequent, it's not constipation, it's just
that breastmilk is so efficiently processed that there's not much
waste. You may already know this, and if so, I'm sorry for not
answering your question.
Another breastfed baby
Are you sure your baby is constipated? My son pooped once a week
from 3 months until he started solids at 6 months.
Constipation poops are hard little pellets. If your baby is
having mustard colored, loose poops it is probable not constipation.
My doctor explained that it is normal for breastfed babies to not
poop every day. Breastmilk is such a perfect food is is very
easy for the baby to absorb. The pushing is about learning
muscle coordination than constipation.
- Mom with the scoop on poop.
My 6.5 month old is still predominantly breastfed, but is now
getting (and loving) solids. The problem is that they are
causing him to be extremely constipated. Even when he was a
newborn and getting only breastmilk, he had issues -- he only
poo'ed once a week or less, it was always thick and dark, etc.
Pediatrician said not to worry because he was getting all
breastmilk. But not that we're working in solids, he's stopped
going altogether. Or he grunts and groans for 20 minutes, only to
come out with a very small, adult looking (and smelling) pellet.
I've cut out rice and oatmeal cereal, and I've tried days where
he gets only pears and applesauce. I don't give bananas. But
nothing seems to help. He's really into solids and just wants
more all the time, so I don't want to stop. Any suggestions? Has
anyone tried bottles of water? (He's a very healthy weight and he
still nurses twice during the night, so I'm not worried about
inadequate food intake).
We have had the same sitution with our little one who is also
breastfed and just started solids. per our dr's advice we mix
his cereal with either prune juice or prunes instead of breast
milk. It worked right away and then i went back to mixing it
with just breast milk and now he's back to a lot of pushing and
harder/dry poops. So i'm back to mixing the prune juice in. Our
dr says we will just have to play with the ratios until we find
out how often and how much we need to mix in the juice (i.e
each time, half b milk half p. juice, only once a day, etc.).
we start adding veg today so hopefully that will help and allow
us to cut down on the prune juice. One of my friends says that
as soon as you start cereal you should start fruits and veg so
they don't get constipated. but i didn't follow this route as
our pediatrician had us wait a few weeks until adding fruit and
veg (we are just starting this week after being on cereal for 2
weeks). Definitely don't give the rice cereal as that stops
them up! Good luck!
Giving little bottles of water after my kids ate (while they were
bottlefeeding, and in the transition to solids - plus- milk)
always helped prevent/alleviate constipation.
The days when I'd forget to offer water were days we all
regretted! We would give it after they had their bottle, or
after eating food, to make sure they were getting their
nutrition, and not just loading up on fluids.
My baby (now 8 months) had the same problem when he started
solids (around 5 months), and he has just starting
pooping ''healthily'' again (he is also breastfed). I tried to
include a lot of prunes in his diet, as well as water. My
brother-in-law - a pediatrician in the UK - recommended
Lactulose, a solution of lactose and galactose. I did not
discuss this with my own pediatrician, and since it's readily
available (certainly in the UK) I gave it to my son. It really
helped him regulate, and poop more easily - although still not
as soft as I would've liked. A HUGE help (I think) was the
regular massages my babysitter gave him, which focused on his
tummy. She's a massage therapist and knew exactly what to do -
and she would do this consistently twice a week. His poops are
finally what you would expect from a breast-fed baby on solids!
Good luck - I hope you can get him right soon!
We had the same problem both before and after our baby started
solids. We now give him prunes every other day and that seems to
keep him regular - sometimes he poops several times a day now -
they are still fairly solid and he still strains a bit but not
for too long. I make the prunes by cooking some dried prunes in
water till soft then put it through a food mill. I water the
thicky goo down a bit before freezing in an ice cube tray. He has
one ice cube every other day. Good Luck
happy mom & happy baby
Try giving him prunes-either the baby food ones or put some in
the blender with some water. Also, like bananas, applesauce is
very constipating as is rice (among other things), so i would
really cut back on those. Oatmeal seems to be better for my baby
than rice cereal (in terms of constipation). But I bet giving him
a serving or 2 of prunes daily would help.
We had the same problem (except our daughter had no problem
before solids). At our doctor's advice, we went through a
series of steps like you: eliminating cereal, adding fruit,
adding juice, eventually back to 100% breastmilk. These had no
effect, and even glycerin suppositories and senna worked after
many days of repeat and when given in combination. Finally it
had been 4+ weeks w/o substanctive stool. Ultimately, our
doctor did a full rectal exam, and upon finding nothing
notable, consulted the pediatric GI. Basically, it sounds like
our girl just has a very efficient colon -- and she is now on
Milk of Magnesia 2x/day. It is working and seems to be much
gentler than the senna. I had been hoping we wouldn't need a
pharma assist here, but I must say we're all happy now that
she's happy and relaxed -- and I love the MOM.
You may want to ask your doctor about this if nothing else
Grateful for MOM
My little one had the same problem and I started giving him
pureed prunes-buy organic prunes and blend in the food
processor with a little hot water. The prune puree will keep
up to a week in the fridge. Mix the puree with cereal or
yogurt. He has this breakfast almost every morning, along with
as much water as possible, and big poos result. Good luck!
One word: PRUNES!
Our daughter had the same problem, and it all culminated in the
middle of the night with her screaming because she couldn't
poo. I ran to safeway and bought a couple jars of pureed
prunes. It works great.
Since you want to moderate prunes we also bought some prune
juice and added it to some water and gave her that in a bottle
from time to time as well. It was a means of giving her a
Also, you can't buy organic pureed prunes -- except with
oatmeal -- (at least at the time we couldn't find it) so we
bought dried organic prunes, cooked them down and froze them in
an ice tray. And whenever she showed signs of discomfort we
would thaw one and give her a ''Prune Pellet''.
I began introducing solids to our son at 5-6 months old. We
started with rice and had a horrible time with constipation.
We immediately transitioned to peaches, prunes and pears but he
continues to have horrible constipation problems. Oatmeal did
not help either. He was very regular (daily) until we
introduced solids. I have brought this up to my pediatrician
several times but I am not sensing any concern or solutions
that I have not tried. Our son looks so miserable when he is
trying to push, red face and very irritable. I feel so sorry
for him. We have let him go up to 8 days before resorting to a
suppository. Would love to hear your ideas or experiences.
Sounds like your baby is having trouble digesting food. We
had/have the same issue with our son. Enzymes helped,
but he has so many food allergies that we never knew about
because they didn't show up on traditional tests.
What do you think it is? Moms usually have a gut instinct.
My daughter also went through a similar experience at the same
age--a few times she went 10 days w/o pooping and one time she
went 12 days. She was also red-faced and straining to poop.
Very hard for me to watch. All I can tell you is that she now
(at 10 mos) poops almost daily. Somehow the situation
changed. Age? My pediatrician didn't seem worried when I
reported the problem, and I was frustrated by that. But, as it
turned out, she was right--there was nothing to worry about.
It took about 3 months to work itself out. Best wishes.
A great remedy I have found for constipation is ground flax seed
meal, which can be purchased at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and
many other places. Start with 1 tablespoon in something like
applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal or any other favorite food. It
works similar to bran, however doesn't need the fluid back-up in
order to produce results. If 1 tablespoon doesn't work, try a
little more. My son is 7 and still suffers from chronic
constipation, however, 2 tablespoons of flax seed meal in his
morning oatmeal helps keep him regular. We tried many other
remedies prescribed by our GI doctor, and the only other thing
that worked was milk of magnesia, which didn't seem like a good
thing to use long term. Now that we use flax seed meal not only
is my son more comfortable, but there is no longer a need to see
a GI doctor! Good luck.
We had the same issue with our daughter. She got constipated as
soon as she started solids. She's almost 3 and we still don't give her
bananas! Our pediatrician took it very seriously and once we
determined that cutting out the typical binding foods (bananas, rice,
even applesauce, etc.) didn't work, she had us start a perscription
laxative (Miralax) that we gave her on a daily basis. Her take on it was
that chronic constipation in a baby will result in problems down the road
not only physically with tears, muscles, etc. but also with potty training
since they won't want to go and may start withholding, etc. Anyway, the
Miralax passes straight through and does not get absorbed into the
body so it's as safe as that sort of thing can be. For the past few months,
she hasn't needed it everyday, just occasionally, so, as indicated by our
pediatrician, the condition is improving on its own by keeping everything
My older son went through the same thing at the same age. Having
always pooped at least 2 or 3 times a day, as soon as he went
onto fruit and vegetables he became very constipated. We avoided
this in our second son, and I think the key was a lot of liquid.
Once we figured it out with my first son, I pureed the food with
lots and lots of liquid and things improved. Second time round I
made really sloppy purees from the beginning, and my son was
never constipated. I think the key is to put the liquids in with
the fruit/veg, because my older son always drank a lot of milk
and water/juice from a cup, but the constipation only went away
once we started making the purees so runny. My second son has
always drunk less, but never had any constipation anyway.
Hope this helps.
Try avoiding rice, bananas, apple sauce and even cheese which can
all constipate. (Or only give a little bit) Also, try giving at
least 2 serving of prunes a day (and not the kind with apples
mixed in). You can even make your own by putting pitted prunes in
the blender with water. My daughter had a hard time with
constipation also and these things all helped me.
I've read the archived advice on constipation but am looking for
more specific diet advice for my 7 month-old son. Every since
we've started solids, he's had fairly hard stools, especially
the first poop of the day. He turns a little red, and makes a
pushing sound while leaning forward when he is passing the
harder stools. I feel really bad for him and have been trying in
vain to adjust his diet accordingly. I've tried stopping rice
and giving oatmeal instead, stopping bananas, giving prune juice
and increasing his fruit intake but that first poop of the day
seems to always be a little hard. Any advice on a menu I should
try or how much prune juice I can give a seven month old will be
I would say that if your baby is pooping at least once a day, he
is not what a pediatrician would consider constipated. Also, I
know from my own son and from comparing notes with other parents
of babies that it is normal to turn red in the face and make
some grunting sounds when having a bowel movement. My son would
do this even with a ''soft poop.'' I was concerned with my son
because he could go 5 to 7 days without pooping at the age of 7
months, but my pediatrician told me not to be worried about this
either and that even this was not considered ''constipation.''
You should talk with your doctor (especially if you're
downplaying the red-faced pooping effort in the posting), but I
imagine s/he will tell you not to be worried and that it is not
necessary to try not to engineer his diet so carefully.
My almost-8-month-old often has exactly the same sort of stool
situation you describe, the difference being that I wouldn't
call it constipation. I think it's pretty normal that the first
stool passed in a while might be a bit harder than those further
up the bowel. I think it's common for ALL of us, not just those
who are 7 months old, to grunt a bit and get a bit red passing
the occasional stool. To me constipation means that the poop is
VERY hard to pass, to the point where it's painful or the child
avoids pooping. I think you should just make sure your son is
well-hydrated, and relax. Good luck.
I have a 6 month old who has always had problems with
constipation, we couldn't do rice cereal at all it was so bad. I've
found that water does the trick, I give it to him in a bottle, just a
couple of ounces a day, and it really works well.
My baby had hard poops, too. I found that cutting back or out of
bananas, rice, applesauce and toast (the four ingredients of the
BRAT diet that is recommended for diarrhea) really helped. All
those things really firm up the poop. I also
used the baby oatmeal that you mentioned, and the baby barley
cereal. I added a little oil (we chose flaxseed oil), maybe a 1/4
teaspoon to his cereal. We gave him the 4 P fruits, pear, plum,
prune, and apricot, when he had hard stools. Amazingly, even with
all that, he has never, ever had the runs. Oh, I also sometimes
sprinkle just a little wheat bran on his food now that he is
older. Good luck!
Relieved baby and mommy
Try bluberries, cut up to avoid choking. My first was a
red-faced constipated boy. Bluberries worked wonders at
this age, in addition to the things you've already done:
oatmeal instead of rice cereal, etc. Later on (can't
remember what age) we used Metamucil cookies. Now he
is a regular 6 year old with no toileting troubles that I know
Do you give your 7 mo. old water? One of the moms in my mother's
group discovered that water made the difference after she added
solids in. Breastfeeding advocates can be very anti water (that
it interferes w/ nutrition) but so long as it supplements rather
than replaces, I think it's fine. When my daughter experiences
it, some very ripe chopped or grated raw or steamed pear helps.
I know someone else who added stewed prunes to the baby oat
When my baby started solids, we could tell for the first time when
he was pooping because he would go red like you describe, and his
poops stopped being mushy. But I wouldn't assume it's constipation
unless you have some other indication. For example, if he is crying
when he poops, or goes for an exceptionally long time without
pooping. Turning red, grunting, leaning forward etc. seems like
something a lot of babies and toddlers do when they are pooping.
It's just different from what they do before they start solids.
My 7 month old was constipated for a few days at a time and I
felt so bad for him grunting and turning red throughout the day.
I didn't really adjust his diet but I did give him warm baths and
massages his back, bicycle the legs and rub his tummy. If you are
still nursing you might want to also take a look at your diet; I
made sure to step up my fruit intake and the next morning he had
a big nice soft BM.
We had the same problem when my son started on solids (at 6
months - he is now 8 1/2 months). After a particularly
upsetting morning in which he screamed while he had a very hard
BM, I took action. Every single morning he gets about 1/4 jar
of pureed prunes (6-8 spoonfuls) with his cereal and bottle. We
had to figure out how much prunes were enough for him (and not
too much - watch out!) and this seems to do it. He now has
softened stools and is much happier. On a side note - He is a
formula baby :( and we use Carnation Good Start. We give him
Follow Up (for babies eating solids, 4mos+) only in the morning
because it was thicker and really constipated him. Hope this
One more comment...my 8 month old was constipated, and a friend turned me
onto the Baby Mueseli (sp?) found in many stores. It is different than the
Gerber oatmeal and other cereals in that it has more fiber. A bowl of that
in the morning, mixed with prune juice rather than formula, did the trick
for my little girl. And, the pediatrician said that you shouldn't worry
about overdoing prune juice...its not like a laxitive, so it won't make the
bowels lazy or cause the other problems that laxitives and stool softeners
can. Good luck!
I was concerned about my son's constipation at around 7 months
of age because he would go for 5 to 7 days with only one ''poop''
and be very red-faced and work very hard. The pediatrician told
me, however, that this was not considered constipation in his
case and that I should only be concerned if passing the bowel
movement was obviously painful and he was crying with pain (as
one responder to your message said her son did). Also, my
niece's pediatrician told my sister specifically not to give
her infant daughter prune juice. So, whether to give prune
juice or not and whether a baby is constipated or not to the
point of concern likely needs specific pediatric advice for each
situation. I know I get great pediatric advice over the phone
from my doctor's office, so getting advice does not necessarily
mean a trip to the doctor. Beyond using the Baby Muesli someone
recommended (a great idea that I didn't know about) or following
the basic dietary ''rules'' I've come to know from other parents'
experience of ''banana & rice & applesauce to slow things down
and sweet potatoes and plums to speed them up'', you might want
to check with your doctor both about the pain your infant may be
experiencing and the appropriate diet that would help if the
situation is this severe, with the advice based on your baby as
How long has your baby been having this problem? You mentioned
it started with the introduction of solids and I want to say
that I had the same experience. I am big on nutrition and good
digestion/elimination so I was worried and did similar diet
changes to the ones you mentioned with not much change.
Gradually I just stopped being so fanatic and My daugther's
stool gradually changed on it's own. In retrospect I think that
being my first child I was overly worried. I think that perhaps
the digestive system just needs time to adjust to the switch
from breastmilk to solids. I think since you indicated that
your child is in fact pooping at least once a day is reason to
be less concerned. at least they're pooping! It's good to be
watchful so keep being observant and informed. Hope it all
comes out OK. :)
My son has had serious constipation issues since we switched him
to cow's milk from formula at 12 months a few weeks ago. My ped
said to return to formula or try soy milk. We have tried to
improve it with prunes, prune juice, lots of fruit, fiber, etc,
but these don't seem to work. It comes down to the suppository
which is no fun for him. Plus days of pushing all the time to
the point where he has broken blood vessels in his eyes!
Anyway, we have sadly returned to formula. I am concerned about
the phytoestrogens in soy, and the studies which show it can
harm males. Does anyone have further info about this
phytoestrogen issue? Has anyone avoided the constipation
problem by switching to soy or another type of milk? And what
is the best way to avoid constipation in the first place?
All advice is welcomed. Thanks!
mom to backed-up boy
Oh yes, we have been there. Here are a couple of things that we tried, and seemed to
work: 1) We switched more slowly to milk instead of cold turkey: 70% formula, 30%
milk, slowly working up to 100% milk. 2) We added prune juice to the milk 3) We added
flax seed oil to the milk (it's oil so it floats to the top, but if you shake it up,
enough gets in. I can't remember how much you put in--my memory is a couple of
teaspoon, but I'm sure you can google it) 4) When she was old enough to eat raisins
and grapes, that worked wonders!! Kidney beans worked well too. Plus, no eating
constipating things--bananas, rice, apples. Now she's old enough that it's harder to
control what she eats (because she sees her brother eating, and wants what he has) so
we have Miralax from our pediatrician, and we have figured out that if she hasn't
pooped by dinner, we give her a quarter dose, and she's good!
watch what you eat!
Have you tried Goats Milk?
My boys started on Goat's Milk from the time they were weaned from breast milk. Goat's
milk is much like human milk in it's chemical/nutritional make up. It's not mucus
forming and though has less calcium it much healthier and easier for humans to digest
than cows milk.
Meyenberg brand is the most common around here (purple and white
1 qt. container. Trader Joes also has their own brand of goats milk. You can get raw
(Red Hill Farms???) but you have to use it in a few days or else it tastes very
give that a try, you may be surprised.
By the way....when I was an infant I was severely constipated (I'm 53 now). My mother
said the MD's could do nothing to help.
My mother met a chiropractor (unheard of in those days..) who said to add honey to my
formula (I was not breast fed). He said the malt in my formula was making me
My mom said it worked like magic.
Supposedly you are not supposed to give RAW honey to infants.
Danger of salmonella? But processed honey is probably OK.
We've been dealing with constipation issues with my son since he was about 4 months,
and he is now 10 months. I breastfed for about 3 months, and then moved to regular
formala, but that caused diarrhea. The interesting thing is that our pediatrician
said to switch to soy formula because it was more constipating -- but based on your
posting, it sounds like you were told the opposite, so I'm not sure which is true.
The soy formula definitely stopped the diarrhea, but he wasn't going for two or three
days, and was in obvious pain. The one thing that worked for us is to add a 1/2
teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia to his morning bottle (advice given by the pediatrician).
I'm hoping as he starts eating more and more ''real'' food we can eliminate the Milk
of Magnesia, but right now, it is definitely helping.
Mom of Constipated Baby, too
On the advice of a nutritionist I switched my severely constipated 12 month old from
cows milk to goats milk. It made an immediate difference, and allowed her to stay off
the prescribed laxative my pediatrician wanted her to take. She had no problem
adjusting to the taste. Apparently, goats milk is much closer to mothers milk than
cows milk. You can buy it at Safeway, Trader Joes, Wholefoods, etc. At two I
reintroduced cows milk since it was what the rest of my family was drinking.
She tolerates it fine, although drinks very little milk in general. Good luck.
My son has had bouts of constipation (which I also tried to address through his diet,
unsuccessfully), and his pediatrician prescribed a laxative that is not addictive. It
is called Polyethylene Glycol 3350 Powder (the brand names are Glycolax and Miralax).
You just dissolve the powder in liquid, and have your kid drink it. (When we first
used it, we dissolved it in a little bit of water, and then added chocolate milk, to
ensure that he would drink all of it, but we now just dissolve it in orange juice, and
sometimes just water--I think it has a fairly mild flavor.) You might ask your
pediatrician if this is an option for your kid.
My daughter was nursed until 3 mos. and was not receiving enough, so I
switched her to formulas. She was allergic to all of them.
So, I found a source for goat milk and fed her until 1 years old. Once
she transitioned she transformed into a plump baby who was happy and
We have since raised dairy goats, and yes goat milk is the closest to
human milk due to it's naturally homogenized state.
This making it easier to digest than cow milk and most people aren't
allergic to it.
Drinking goat milk, we were the healthiest ever, never sick and my
daughter grew unbelievable! Now in the East Bay, the freshest Goat Milk
I have found, is Trader Joes in the refrigerated section. You must use
in a few days- 1 week otherwise the ''goaty taste'' will begin.
After raising our own goats, I found all other brands of goat milk to
be too strong tasting, but the Trader Joes - Summer Hill Brand is fresh
with no antibiotics or hormones.
In my practice, I have found children who are vegetarians plump up, look
healthy and increase appetites due to including goat milk in their
diets. Goat milk is considered the most complete food providing
I teach Infant Massage Classes and found many children suffer from
constipation for various reasons. Diet, lifestyle, potty training, etc.
You may want to look into learning a simply remedy -infant massage-
that not only benefits constipation, but teaches your child healthy
touch and trust.
Make sure your child drinks enough filtered water daily, drinks/eats
room temperature or warm foods, and moves their body playing, running,
walking, crawling. At age one, your baby can eat so many healthy fruits,
vegetables, meat/protein but they must be accompanied by enough water,
otherwise constipation can be an issue. Adults are the same.
When introducing cow milk, Strauss Organic milk is the highest quality.
They process their milk on their farm, so as to not grow bacteria by
trucking across states for processing as so many other brands.
Therefore, people normally don't experience allergies as often with
One-year-old is constipated
Help! My one year old has stubborn constipation. This has been going on for a few months,
now. To deal with it, we give her mineral oil every day. This is pretty unpleasant because the
only reliable method we have for administering the oil is to hold her down on her back and
squirt it into her mouth. Sometimes she doesn't mind but mostly she hates it. We have also
had some success with cooking a tablespoon into a couple of egg yolks to make a greasy little
omelet. But there are only so many egg yolks a girl can eat. She will only occasionally eat
something off of a spoon, mostly she refuses if offered a spoon. She prefers to feed herself even if
it's really squishy like goat yogurt, but she doesn't eat very much for the most part (she still
gets a lot of mother's milk). So, liquidy things like pureed squash or pears don't fly. She doesn't
like melon or chunks of pear. She has never eaten enough prunes or apricots to make a
difference. We don't give her any constipators - no grains except super-fiber cereal, no
root-veggies, no cheese, and definetely nothing iron-fortified. I've tried offering her water, she
doesn't drink much of it preferring to pull the straw out of the sippy-cup and work on putting it
back in. She has never taken a bottle. She does not like fruit juice. She does like chicken broth
with a bit of asian seasoning. She doesn't get any foods from the allergenic list (except wheat -
the super fiber cereal). Her pediatrician and we had strongly hoped that when she started to
stand and got more active that this would "pass," as it were. No such luck. My mother tells me
that I had similar problems when I was a child and that she had to give me enemas. I would
like to avoid such a fate for my girl.
Is the constipation causing your one-year-old any discomfort? I ask
because I used to think that not having a bowel movement every day
automatically meant constipation.
My daughter consistently went two weeks without a bowel movement as an
infant, and our pediatrician said that it was because breast milk is
digested more efficiently--no waste--and not to worry unless she seemed to
be in pain. So we simply ignored it. She was having bowel movements more
frequently by one year, but it was still not every day. And by then she
was no longer drinking breast milk. Now, at two and a half, she has bowel
movements like clockwork, every day at the same time.
My 15-month-old son is already having a lot of problems with constipation.
The longest he went without pooping was two weeks; usually it was more like
one week. According to our pediatrician and a pediatric gastroenterologist,
his problem is behavioral. After the first episode when it was really
painful, he learned to hold it, thus making the problem worse.
The key, according to the doctors, is to make the stools really soft. They
prescribed something called lactulose, which is a sugar preparation. The
sugar isn't soluble, and it goes into the bowels and draws water into them,
making the stool soft. Then the child can't hold it. The trick for us is
getting him to take it - we're currently at 4-5 teaspoons a day. When we
can get him to take it, it works fairly well. The other suggestion was
modeling - letting him watch us to go the bathroom. The doctors said that
constipation at a young age can really delay toilet training, so anything
we can do to stop this problem now is advisable. Good luck!
one of our children had terrible constipation as well...i think he was a
little older (maybe about 1 1/2 yrs old). we had good luck with two
things 1) glycerin suppositories. these sound worse than they are, and
you haven't said if your pediatrician has recommended them yet (it's
worth asking about - they are really not as bad as it seems). the other
thing we did was senna leaf tea. You can get senna leaf at any herb
store, rainbow grocery, whole foods. Make a tea with the leaves (ask
someone at the herblist) and while the tea is hot, soak some raisins
with the tea. The raisins absorb the tea, and the tea picks up the
raisin so it's slightly sweet. you can use either or both. This is a
pretty well known remedy, and it takes a while to work (overnight) so
it's really gentle. Senna is a laxative ingredient in some over the
counter stuff for adults. I'm sure if you told the herblist what you
wanted it for, they could help you. Plus, your daughter might like to
pop the raisins in her mouth. Just not too many at one time! You might
have the opposite problem!!
Hi - My sympathy is with you! We had a similar situation with our daughter
when she was about 10 months old. What finally worked was adding a little
acidolpholus ( i may not have the spelling right) - we used Natren's Life Start
(it's formulated for infants as well as nursing moms). We followed the directions
and added it to her morning cereal and Voila! She started pooping regularly.
We didn't have to use it for very long. This was done in consultation with our
homeopath/osteopath, whose treatments were VERY helpful in getting our
little girl's digestive tract to start functioning more smoothly.
At one point, our doc had recommended that we give our baby a little aloe vera
juice - i think she said a tsp. a day, but i can't remember. It's sweet and tastes ok
to me, but our daughter would have none of it. I liked the Natren powder
because it was pretty tasteless and could be mixed with water or cereal. Also,
my homeopath felt strongly that babies should poop regularly. I know some
docs say it's normal for them to go for days without any action, but she
disagreed and so do I. You are right to deal with this. Good Luck!
We had the same problem with my 3 year old son. I was reluctant to use
mineral oil and he hated the baby suppositories we used. Things got even
worse when he had a small anal fissure (due to constipation) which made him
even less willing to go to the bathroom. What worked for us was MALTSUPEX
(an over the counter "malt soup extract"). It's VERY pricey (almost $50 for a
bottle) but you use very little of it (1/4 tsp) and one bottle lasts for months. We
mixed it in with his milk. (It makes milk taste like a malted.) It's a natural
stool softener, and we gave it to him every day until he outgrew the problem,
which you will be happy to know, kids do when they get a bit more
adventuresome about fruits and veggies. (We cleared this with our
pediatrician, BTW.) I know you can find this at Elmwood Pharmacy (College
and Russell). We were delighted to find that this product is the "strengthening
tonic" Kanga gives Roo in the story where Tigger comes to the forest, so we
called it our "Tigger Supplement" and our son took it without complaint. (Even
before we found it in Pooh.)
My 10 month old daughter has been constipated ever since I
weaned her from breastmilk to formula two months ago. I have
tried prunes, molasses in the milk, different types of formula,
including soy, but nothing seems to help the constipation. My
doctor has suggested she try a stool softener, but I really
don't want to do so if there are other more natural options
available. Does anyone have any suggestions? Could this be a
food allergy? She eats everything now, basically table food that
she can pick up and feed herself.
You might try Goat's milk instead of formula. When I weaned my
guys they started on goats milk because that's what I drink.
Goat's milk is closest in nutritional value to human milk than
any formula or cows milk. My kids are fine and healthy and we
still drink goats milk. I use Meyenberg brand because it tastes
adn smells less goaty than some of the others. Yes, the organic
raw milk brands are perhaps better, but you have to use them
within a few days or they get REALLY goaty.
What same ingredient is in the formulas you've tried? Your child
may be reacting to that. I've never used formula so I don't know
typically what's in them, but when I was an infant (51 years ago)
I was not breast fed and was given formula that had malt in it
as a sweetener, I guess. I was severely constipated. It was
sugg! ested to my mom by her chiropractor to take the malt out and
add honey instead. worked like magic according to my mom.
Goat milk drinking family
Constipation is a familiar scenario in our household: our
daughter, now almost three, was never a frequent pooper, and it
began to get really serious about three or four months after
she was weaned. We tried all of the standard natural and o.t.c.
remedies: cherries, apricots, pears, pumpkin, prunes, whole-
grains (which by the way can make the situation worse if the
child is already backed up, mineral oil, metamucil, castoria...
not to no avail, but to no regular avail. Eventually, we ended
up, after a really bad episode, at Children's Hospital, where
they have a pediatric g.i. clinic. They explained the problem
thus: every time the child gets constipated, it inflames the
gut and weakens the muscles that control elimination. ! After a
bad episode (which usually ended with an enema), our daughter's
little colon was so swollen, tender, and weak, that she really
couldn't make herself go, so she was getting into a terrible
feedback loop. They prescribed a drug called Miralax which is
passed through the stomach into the gut, where it helps the gut
absorb more water, thus making the stool softer and thus easier
to pass. Like ''natural'' fiber medication, Miralax is not
absorbed into the bloodstream, and so it's not going to
contaminate the child's system in any way. However, it's way
more effective than any of the otc fiber-additives we tried,
and it also dissolves entirely in juice, water, or milk, so
it's not icky to drink.
After watching our child struggle and
suffer for a year, we are huge fans of this medication, which
has given her relief and also allowed her gut to begin to heal.
Unfortunately, after even one serious episode of constipation,
it can take up to a year for the gut to recover its strength,
so she still takes Miralax daily, as a preventative and to keep
things flowing smoothly. We were worried about laxative
dependency, but our pediatrician and the specialist both
assured us that because Miralax doesn't act on the
neuromuscular system, it won't have this effect. Since starting
her on Miralax we've only had one episode of constipation,
associated with a long car trip (that's what seemed to set it
off in the first place, too, btw). My advice would be to be
very aggressive in treating the condition -- it's fine to try
to treat it by alterations to diet, but you really do your kid
a disservice if you don't also treat the symptoms, which can
start becoming their own cause, as it were. In our case, we
went ''natural'' and ''food-based'' for way too long. I feel
terrible about that, and it has certainly held up the #2 part
of potty training. Poop is now irrevocably associated with
trauma for our daughter, and that just grieves me no end!
note on Miralax: as both I and my husband were underemployed at
the time, our daughter was on MediCal, and there was some
resistance to paying for it (it's quite expensive) -- we had
our specialist write out a special authorization, and that
seemed to do the trick.
The Mother of All Anal Retentives
We add a spash of prune juice to any pureed food that we give our
10 month old, and it seems to keep him pooping daily. Good luck! J
My child had a similar problem which didn't resolve until she
was able to understand regular BMs didn't hurt at about age 4.5
and could be motivated to work to have them- she sat on the
potty for over an hour once for a Barbie- and if you've ever had
a ! child in pain form a huge BM that she must work out herself,
you'll agree this was worth the bribe to help her realize she
can do it. Like yours, it was just infrequent stooling from Day
1 with the real back-up starting when solids were added. It was
probably a mild problem with the nerves in her rectum or slow
gut motility. When it starts that early, it may not be anything
bad, but it's not due to intentional withholding, but of course
once they start to hurt enough times, that gets added into the
picture. I would have her checked by a GI doctor to rule out a
short-segment Hirschsrung's disease (look it up on the Internet)
and anterior displacement of the rectum if this keeps up. By age
2 the specialist had my daughter on Miralax, which worked
wonders, but we had to wean very slowly- we were on about 1/5 of
a dose for over a year! Be prepared for a long process with
eventual success. Be prepared to be treated as if you are a little
bit ''anal'' about her BMs- I'm a pediatrician and even I
felt a little patronixed at times.
Going OK now
My son also had a problem with constipation from birth. The
pediatrician told us not to worry. As time went on the doctor
had us try all the usual things -- prunes, fiber, drinking more
water, etc. Nothing helped. Seven years later my son was still
struggling with constipation. The pediatrician had him on
mineral oil. My poor son went through bottles and bottles of
mineral oil to no avail. The mineral oil seeped out, but no
poop. We switched to milk of magnesia. This helped somewhat,
but he'd still go several days without pooping.
Finally, in desperation, we put our son on an elimination diet.
We removed everything from his diet and slowly reintroduced food
items one at a time to gauge the effect. Lo and behold! our son
turned out to have a food sensitivity to dairy, corn, and soy.
Ever since he stopped eating dairy, corn, and soy he poops just
about every day -- WITHOUT the help of Metamucil, mineral oil,
Milk of Magnesia, prunes, etc. The most he'll skip is one day.
It's been nothing short of miraculous.
BTW, we've since read that a breast-fed baby who is, say,
sensitive to dairy, will be affected if the mother consumes
dairy as part of her diet. Don't know whether it's true or
not. Too late for us to test.
Hopefully your situation is not as dire as ours was. We wish
you the best.
My daughter went through a time when she would cry very hard
while pushing out a poop. It began when she started eating solid
food and the doc said that it may be the stretching sensation of
the anus while she pushes or cramps that she feels before she
pushes out a poop. It subsided soon after and has now started
again ( she is eleven months old) and is eating a varied diet of
solids. The poop itself is not hard but can be quite a large
quantity. Has anyone heard of an anal fissure in a baby and have
any information on how they treat it? Or any other suggestions
on what may be making her cry so hard.
A young baby can have a fissure - my baby had one around age 10
months. The advice I got from a doctor - make sure her poop is
as soft as possible (omit apple and banana, give apricot and
plum instead) and put a diaper rash cream on the fissure every
time you change a diaper. If you can ''catch'' your baby while she
poops and look, when the skin is stretched, you can see exactly
where the little tear in the skin is (if there is one).
Hope this helps.
Our 15 month-old has been chronically constipated for many months; the
doctors have determined it's related to diet. We've done all the
obvious things (no dairy, rice, bananas, etc; offer prune juice, karo syrup;
up the fiber in his diet; etc.) and are having some success with lactulose,
though it does cause gassy abdominal distention. Our main dilemna right
now (and one not discussed on the U.C. parents website or any other
places I can find) is how to get him to drink enough fluids, both the stuff
laced with lactulose and just plain old regular fluids. He doesn't like to
drink very much (2-3 oz at a time), and this is part of the problem.
(He's still nursing a lot, although my milk production is dropping.)
Any tips for wooing the reluctant drinker?
We too have had an almost constant constipation problem with our 15
month old. He began getting constipated at about 4 mos and it's been
almost non-stop. We've tried all of the diet things, but have seen
little improvement by regulating diet alone. Our son will not drink
fluids either (except milk in a bottle 3 times a day) Here are some
things that are helping: always have a bottle of plain water around and
offer sips throughout the day; buy canned fruit like
apricots, peaches etc in light or heavy syrup and puree them - this way
they get fruit, fluid and sugar in one sitting, and finally we start
every morning with Oatmeal. Good luck and hope this helps!
I found the following site somewhat helpful
About constipation in a toddler. If by constipation you mean hard bowel
movements, it's a really good idea to figure out a way through diet or
medication to get to softer BMs. When a toddler has hard BMs that hurt her,
she may start holding them back, skipping days, and getting herself into a
real problem. Have you tried prune or prune-pear juice combo? The fruit
juices have sugars in them that draw fluid into the intestine and make the
BM looser. Mineral oil is really safe--lots of children use it long-term
without problems.... (See Mineral Oil and its alternatives
for the rest of this message.)
health care provider and I sometimes see children who have been constipated
and holding back their bowel movements for quite a while, and it's a tough
problem to solve.
this page was last updated: May 2, 2009
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network