Detecting constipation can be confusing because baby poop changes a lot over time. If your baby has hard or pebble-like stools or cries when having a bowel movement, they may be constipated. Not pooping every day is not necessarily a sign of constipation, and neither is straining to poop—some babies poop multiple times a day as a newborn and then go days between bowel movements later on, and most babies strain to some extent when pooping. If your baby is <1 month old and you suspect may be constipated, call your pediatrician for advice.
Hydration: Staying hydrated can loosen stool in the intestines.
Any age: Offer breastmilk or formula frequently.
1+ month: Normally infants shouldn't have juice, but pediatricians do often recommend small amounts of prune, pear, or peach juice (1-2 oz juice diluted with 1-2 oz water) for constipated babies because the sugars draw fluid into the intestines, loosening stool. Ask your pediatrician what they recommend.
Fibrous food: Fiber can't be digested, so it helps to move bowels along. If baby is eating solids: Offer prune puree or other soft high-fiber veggie or fruit daily as alternative to juice. Avoid bananas and rice which can constipate.
Tummy massage: Use 2-3 fingers to gently but firmly make circular motions up and around their belly clockwise (to work in the same direction as the colon) to relax bowel muscles.
Warm bath: Give your baby a warm bath or put a warm towel or washcloth across their belly.
Bicycle kicks: Lay baby on their back and bring legs towards their chest one at a time in an alternating bicycle motion, or bring both bent legs to chest and “roll” them in a circular motion.
Tummy time: Gentle pressure on the belly and movement in general can help ease gas pains and move things along.
Some are quick to blame a breastfeeding mom’s diet for any digestive challenges her baby has, but there is limited conclusive evidence linking the two. Still, it makes sense to pay attention to whether your baby seems fussier after you eat certain foods, such as dairy. If you notice any patterns, try removing these specific foods (one at a time) to see if it makes a difference.
Gas drops (simethicone) can help break down gas bubbles while probiotic drops are meant to improve digestive health over the longer term, which some say helps ease digestive issues. There’s not much evidence showing whether either of these actually work, but they are safe and lots of parents like them so it could be worth a shot.
Gas and constipation relief tubes like the Fridababy Windi, which has a tip that you insert into your baby’s rectum as you would a rectal thermometer, can help your baby pass gas or have a bowel movement by stimulating the rectal sphincter. Use as directed but don’t use too often so your baby does not become reliant on it.
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Baby is <1 month and hasn't pooped in 3+ days or is having hard or pebble-like stools
Constipation lasting >1 week after trying changes to diet
Your baby seems to be in pain when passing gas or a bowel movement
Forceful or projectile vomiting
Red, white, or black stool