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Treatments for Constipation in Babies

When your baby is constipated, there are only so many things that you can try to get everything moving again. You have several different options that you can try to find out what will work for your sweetie.

Baby massage. Measure three finger-widths under her belly button and move slightly left. Gently apply firm pressure in this area until you can feel a firm spot. Keep massaging this area with continuous pressure for about three minutes. Hopefully this will get the bowels moving again shortly.

Prune juice. If your baby is over 4 weeks old, you can add some prune juice to her breast milk or formula. Any other time, it is not recommended to give your baby juice before 6 months, but a little is a good idea to help get the bowels moving. You can give up to an ounce per month: 3 ounces for a 3 month old, for example. Don’t give her more than 6 ounces no matter how old she is. You can also use pear or apple juice if your baby won’t take the prune juice.

Exercise. Get your baby moving to help her bowels move as well. If she can crawl, get in the floor and crawl around with her to encourage movement. If she can’t crawl yet, you can lay her on her back and move her legs as if she were pedaling a bicycle. The motion is a great way to help stimulate the bowels to move.

Vary food choices. If your baby is eating solid food, offer foods that are good for bowel movements. Prunes, pears, or apricots are all great choices because they are high in fiber. Give a gentle belly massage and then feed her some of these foods. Try and avoid carrots, rice, and bananas while she is constipated because they can make it worse.

Formula. If your formula fed baby is constipated, talk to your doctor about switching formula brands. Some babies tolerate some brands better than others. You can also add a ¼ teaspoon of dark corn syrup for every 4 ounces of formula to help stimulate her bowels. You can increase the amount if needed, but don’t give more than 1 teaspoon for every 4 ounces.

Talk to your doctor. Let your doctor know about your baby’s constipation and see what they suggest. You may be able to use an over-the-counter medicine for softening stools so your baby doesn’t have such a hard time with every bowel movement. Don’t try this unless your doctor approves, though. You may also have the option of a glycerin suppository if the constipation is severe. If your doctor has suggested this option, make sure you only use it occasionally because your baby can become reliant on it if you use it too much.

When to Call the Doctor

If your baby is losing weight, has blood in her stool, or refuses to eat- you need to call your doctor. You also need to call if you have tried to relieve the constipation with no success. If your baby is 4 months old or younger and has very hard stool or hasn’t passed any stool within 24 hours of his normal schedule, call your doctor.