How Can I Help My Infant With Constipation?

Struggling to help your distressed infant with constipation? I was also looking for quick remedies and anything else that I should know and can take action on to help my constipated child. Just like us adults, it’s essential for infants to stay regular too. 

Bowel movements for infants will change a number of times over the course of a baby’s life. Most of the time it’s normal for infants to go a day or two, or even up to a week without any bowel movements. If your infant is constipated you can help them with some light massaging to help stretch out their body, or use a glycerin suppository if it’s been many days and your baby’s pediatrician recommends it.

I remember the times when my baby was facing pain while trying to pass stool. I started noticing my little one’s number of bowel movements going down after breastfeeding. I started to worry and took my baby to the pediatricians to get him checked out.

There, I got to know more about pooping issues infants can face. I got some advice on remedies such as shifting formulas, giving massages, and much more. Here are the home remedies that I found that can help your constipated baby, as it helped mine.

How do you know your infant is constipated? 

Normal stools are soft and easily passed. Here is how to know if it’s constipation:

  • When the stools are infrequent
  • When your infant cries or makes a fuss while passing stools
  • When you infant’s stools resemble small pebbles
  • When they have painful cramps
  • When their tummy is swollen from gas

Why is constipation frequent in infants under a year of age?

Babies are getting used to life outside the womb, learning what kinds of milk is better for their bodies, and working on accepting new types of foods. A lot of breastfeeding moms must also make changes to their diet because it directly impacts their baby. 

Just tell yourself this too shall pass and it’s a learning phase for their bodies (and yours!) in their brand-new life.

What remedies help with my infant’s constipation? 

There’s a research paper from the U.S. Library of Medicine done that had some helpful information on infant constipation. If your little one is not passing bowel movement at least 3 times a week, they would be considered constipated.

Constipation itself is one of the most common causes of parents taking their little ones to the pediatrician, so you’re not alone. If it’s late at night or a weekend where you’re not able to immediately visit your pediatrician, it might help to consider one or several of the following suggestions to help bring relief to your infant.

Change up the food source when exclusive breastfeeding, pumping and feeding, or giving formula

If your baby is breastfeeding, you can try switching up the milk. My baby was quite sensitive to some of the food I was eating like spicy food, anything with caffeine, and even garlic. I noticed when I would have a bit too much of these foods, he would later have noticeable stomach ache and constipation.

Breastfeeding moms who have a fluctuating diet, eating one of the foods that I mentioned, might cause your little one to be affected. If it’s not possible to adjust your diet, your other option is to try pumping and bottle feeding your infant to see if that helps. Sometimes mommy needs some extra coffee, and by pumping and having some bottled breastmilk in the fridge, both you and your baby can be happy.

Bottlefeeding can help your child in numerous ways, the biggest benefit being that anyone in the house can now feed the baby. Pumping is definitely frustrating for some moms who dread going on the room every 2-3 hours to keep on the pump schedule, but having that stock of milk in the freezer is definitely worth it. Another big benefit for me was that I could keep track of my baby’s milk intake.

Breastfeeding has so many benefits, but one thing you can’t do is really know how much milk your little one is taking in on a daily basis. If you notice your baby might be fluctuating a lot on their daily milk intake, it could be worth bottle feeding for a week or so to monitor how much they’re drinking. As soon as your kid starts feeling better, you can again switch back to breastfeeding if you prefer.

Avoid some of these food ingredients

Certain foods are known to cause constipation in infants, so it’s good to review this list to see if your little one might be eating too much of it, and getting constipated as a result of it. 

  • High-fiber fish
  • Peanuts
  • Peppermint
  • Sage
  • Prunes
  • Pears
  • Broccoli
  • Skinless Apples

Bran cereals, crackers, whole-grain bread also help to make the bowel movement smooth. You should change your diet and start consuming these food items so that it can add a lot of bulk to stool, which ultimately, helps kids to clear constipation. 

Make use of pureed foods 

My baby is currently just over seven months, and he still hasn’t started eating solid foods yet. So, I started giving him pureed foods while simultaneously breastfeeding him. I gave him carrot puree, peas puree, avocado, apple, as well as pear puree. 

I also added vegetables and fruits in his daily diet so that it can add bulk to my child’s stool, all pureed so he can digest it comfortably. Guess what! It actually works for my kid and stimulated a bowel movement.

Encourage your little one to move and stretch

Helping an infant with constipation by doing some stretching and playing exercises

Stretching, playing, and moving, your baby’s form of exercise, will help keep the digestion process moving along properly. It can also speed up the digestion movement of the baby’s body. If your infant hasn’t started walking yet, you can try encouraging him to walk with your support or move with leg bicycles. 

Offer ample fluids if your infant is over 6-7 months

Infants under 5-6 months usually need only breastmilk or formula milk diet. They get their food and hydration from that source. At this age, it’s not recommended to give them water on the side.

Just to clarify, a newborn is from 0 to 2 months old, and an infant can be categorized from 2 months to 1 year. So once your little one is over 6 months old, you can talk to your pediatrician about supplementing water with their daily food to help keep them hydrated and have comfortable bowel movements.

If your little one is over 6 months and is pretty constipated right now, you can get some baby-specific prune juice to speed up your kid’s colon contractions.

Gripe water is sometimes recommended but it’s recently controversial. Better check with your pediatrician on that one.

Get massaging!

Every kid loves to have a massage session. My kid always gets excited when I give him a nice massage. A gentle stomach and lower-abdomen massage will not only help them feel happy or relaxed, but it will also stimulate their body to pass a bowel movement smoothly. 

If your kid is facing pain while passing a stool, you should do several massages throughout the day, until he has a smooth bowel movement.

What if the above-mentioned remedies won’t work for me?

Medical remedies like laxatives or glycerin suppository can help your constipated infant when natural remedies won't work.

If the above-mentioned remedies are not working for you, then you can also try some of these additional methods to help your constipated child. Switching up your baby’s diet as well as your own certainly helps. But in some cases, we have to take it one step further. 

Use Glycerin Suppository

Is your child facing signs of an anal tear? To be more precise, while passing a hard stool, the child faces bright red blood in the stool. In this case, you should use a glycerin suppository.

This will help your kid for easing the bowel movement out of the body without any problem. Always talk to your doctor before giving any kind of medicine to your child. It is always advisable to follow the doctor’s prescription before giving any medicine. 

What about laxatives?

If your baby is over 6 months, you can give him over-the-counter baby laxatives to keep up the bowel movement freely. You can try this technique if no other remedy is working right for your kid. 

Laxatives is prepared from the psyllium powder or malt-barley extract which softens the stool to help it pass. If your doctor advises you to use laxatives you can give to your baby under 1 year old. 

Talk with your pediatrician

Finally, the last remedy for helping your kid with constipation is having a word with the pediatrician. If you are confused at any point, just don’t wait for anything. Call your child’s pediatrician and ask them about the treatment for curing constipation.

I can’t remember how many times I called mine over the months since my baby was born, I want to make sure I’m doing the best for my little one. If it’s late in the day or on the weekends, there’s always a night nurse available to talk to which is great.

A doctor’s advice always helps to keep your baby fit and healthy. In fact, the doctor would be able to diagnose every other sign and symptom that could be an indication of a larger problem that may need medical treatment. 

There are many signs that might show that your little one is having constipation issues, just keep monitoring your baby’s activities and emotions.

Help your infant with constipation relief

All in all, you and your baby are not alone! Constipation in infants is frequent and happens to most of us.

If your baby is facing any bowel movement problems, noticing their change in diet and emotions can help you resolve things before it can become a larger problem that needs medical attention.

If you want to read ahead, we wrote an article on how to relieve constipation in toddlers from ages 1-4. Their diets are different, and reading that article can help you plan ahead as your little one goes from cute little infant to a growing and independent toddler.

We're a group of writers, mostly parents, some medically certified, who publish helpful articles for all stages of your child from newborn, infant, toddler, to a big kiddo.

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