Most of the time, it is normal for a baby to go days or even more than a week without a bowel movement. However, sometimes an infant may be unable to get digestive relief and need a little help.
A quick look into the facts and symptoms associated with constipation can help you keep things in perspective.
Constipation Relief in Infants
Believe it or not, sometimes it is okay for a baby to go without a bowel movement. How long is too long for an infant to go without pooping?
Well, there is no simple answer because there are several factors that need to be taken into account. Some things to consider are age, diet, and medical history. Most of the time babies that won’t poop are fine with little or no treatment.
It is also worth noting that constipation isn’t just about how often your baby poops. It’s also about how much of a struggle it is for them to pass the stool.
A good rule of thumb is if they have soft to medium stools that are easy-to-pass, even if they occur as little as every 4-5 days, they are probably not constipated.
Newborn Not Pooping But Passing Gas
As a newborn's digestive system develops it is not uncommon for them to get a little stopped up. In fact, up to 30 percent of newborns get constipated pretty regularly.
Constipation can make your baby gassy while trying to pass poop. When they are finally able to go you can expect the stool to be hard.
On the other hand, your baby might get gassy in between bowel movements even without constipation. Even under the best digestive circumstances parents and caregivers are often surprised by the amount of gas their little one is capable of producing.
Although this gas can lead to tummy pain, it can be a normal part of an immature digestive system and is not always an indication of constipation.
Newborn Cries When Pooping
What are the signs or symptoms that point to more of a problem than slow bowels?
As previously stated, the signs of constipation in babies may vary depending on age and your little one’s current diet.
A normal bowel movement before a baby begins eating solid food should be very soft, almost like the consistency of peanut butter or even looser. That means that hard baby stools prior to introducing solid food is the most obvious indication of constipation in babies.
Causes of Chronic Constipation in Infants
Formula-fed babies are more likely to be constipated than those exclusively breast fed. Mothers' milk is generally easier for infants to digest due to small proteins.
Formula for the most part is thicker and has larger proteins that take longer to absorb and for some littles are harder to digest. This can alone cause constipation in infants.
It is also worth noting that switching baby formulas too much or too fast can cause or make worse the effects of constipation.
Keep in mind that this does not mean that it is impossible for a breastfed baby to become constipated or that all babies on formula will become constipated.
If a milk protein allergy is the cause of constipation in your baby it will not matter if the little one is breast or formula fed.
While a breastfeeding mother can reduce her dairy intake, a formula fed baby will need to change their formula to one that will be easier for the baby to digest and absorb.
Natural Remedies for Constipation
These mild, natural remedies for constipation in babies are good whether there is constipation or not. Adding them to your daily routine can be preventive and proactive in bringing your little one digestive relief.
If you think about it, exercise makes total sense. Infants can be born with weak pelvic muscles that may struggle to effectively eliminate waste.
Babies who are not walking or even crawling yet may need a little physical movement to help these muscles improve.
The parent or caregiver can gently move the baby’s legs while they are lying on their back to mimic the motion of riding a bicycle. Doing this may help the bowels function and relieve constipation.
An easy at home exercise that any parent or caregiver can do is the “bicycle.” It is as easy as gently moving the baby’s legs while they are lying on their back to mimic the motion of riding a bicycle.
Giving your little one a warm bath will help to relax their abdominal muscles and give relief to abdominal muscles that are tired and sore from straining.
There are several ways to massage a baby’s stomach to relieve constipation that will also relax and soothe. Try these after a nice warm bath for extra effect.
✅ Using the fingertip to make circular motions on the stomach in a clockwise pattern
✅ Walk the fingers around the naval in a clockwise pattern
✅ Hold the baby’s knees and feet together and gently pushing the feet toward the belly
✅ Stroke from the rib cage down past the belly button with the edge of a finger
Home Remedies For Constipation
Remember babies often go a long time between bowel movements, and while it is normal for babies to go several days without relief, there are times when your little one may need help.
If a baby is constipated your pediatrician may recommend using one or more of the following home remedies to help stimulate the baby's digestive system.
Karo Syrup for Babies
If your baby has not been able to release their bowels, your healthcare professionals may recommend feeding your infant Karo syrup. Karo syrup for infants can be used to prevent or treat constipation.
It is important to note when giving your little one corn syrup that it has not been sterilized. You may inadvertently introduce harmful levels of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum) if you add it to your baby's bottle.
Always use a medicine dropper or clean spoon to give Karo syrup for infant constipation and check with your baby's doctor before introducing this remedy.
Castor Oil for Constipation in Babies
The majority of doctors will advise against the chronic use of stimulant laxatives, such as castor oil. These have horrible side effects and can do more harm than good. Only use your doctor’s expressed permission.
Mineral Oil for Constipation in Infants
Do not use mineral oil to treat infant constipation. Like castor oil this has extreme and often harmful side effects.
Does Pedialyte Help With Constipation?
Older babies and toddlers may benefit from electrolytes in some situations, but in this situation it is better to relieve hard infrequent stools with natural remedies or other kinds of juices.
Does Apple Juice Help with Constipation?
Baby Apple Juice
We often are asked, “Is apple juice good for constipation?” The answer is twofold, newborn or young infants are not typically allowed to supplement with other liquids as it may throw off the nutritional balance needed for growth and development.
However, older babies over 4 months old, and only with your pediatricians approval, may benefit with adding a small amount of water or apple juice for baby constipation.
Prune Juice for Babies
Prune juice for infant’s works to relieve constipation by having laxative and diuretic properties. Dried plums, which is what prune juice is made from, have high sorbitol content. This substance has laxative and diuretic properties; combine this with the phenolic compounds in dried plums, and prune juice makes an effective laxative.
If your child is over 1 year old, it’s generally safe to give them prune juice in small amounts to relieve constipation. Under the age of 1 year old, please consult your pediatrician.
Pear Juice for Constipation
Another great option is pear juice, which contains four times more sorbitol than apple juice and has a mildly sweet taste baby’s love.
Best Formulas For Constipation
Infant digestive systems are so immature that constipation can be a real problem when exposed to most over-the-counter, non-organic formulas out there.
Best Remedy for Constipation
When it comes to constipation in formula fed babies, your infant's nutrition is often the key to solving the problem.
Baby Formula for Constipation
American baby formulas that can be easily found in big brand stores are filled with under regulated and toxic ingredients. These synthetic, non lactose sugar and heavy metal laden American baby formulas can often cause constipation because they are incredibly hard to digest and have very little absorbable nutrition.
Parents looking for a better nutrition that is easier to absorb and digest are turning to European baby formulas. These are clean, pure and organic baby formulas that mimic breast milk as closely as possible.
Going the extra mile for babies that continue to struggle with constipation, European baby formulas design special nutrition with smaller proteins that work quickly through the digestive system while maintaining absorption of nutrition that is needed for healthy growth and development.
European Baby Formula : Constipation
These unique European formulas have extensively hydrolyzed lactose proteins to help babies with digestion by splitting the milk into simpler molecules, making it easier for a baby’s body to process milk-based formula.
Each Hipp Comfort vs HiPP HA contains a prebiotic and probiotic to further aid in absorption and digestion.
Another special nutrition option is Holle A2 Protein formulas. Babies who experience discomfort, inflammation, constipation, and other digestive issues benefit from a simple switch to an A2 protein milk. These gentler proteins allow even the most sensitive little ones to easily digest and absorb cow’s milk based formulas.
1 Year Old Constipation
At every age and every stage European baby formulas have your little one covered. HiPP Dutch Stage 3 and HiPP UK Stage 3 are specifically designed to keep your one year and older infant’s digestive system healthy and happy. With the use of both probiotics and prebiotics HiPP Combiotic formulas are perfect to use with foods that can cause constipation in babies.
When to See a Doctor for Constipation
Please call a pediatrician if a baby has not passed a stool after a day or two of trying home or natural remedies and immediately if there are other signs present, such as:
❌ Blood in the stool
❌ Baby seems to be overly irritable
❌ Baby appears to have abdominal pain
By seeing a doctor you can work together to find the best solution. In rare cases your medical professional may prescribe medications, such as laxatives, enemas, or suppositories.
Parents and caregivers are strongly advised against giving these above-named medications to a baby unless specifically prescribed by a doctor
Relieve Constipation in Infants
When searching for the perfect European baby formula to ease constipation or digestive problems you are guaranteed to find 100% non-synthetic, clean nutrition to build a foundation for a lifetime of health at My Organic Company.
Our staff is dedicated to bringing your family not only nutrition to help with tummy issues, but also a community of support you can count on. We look forward to seeing you in the HiPP Holle Kendamil & European Baby Formula Parent Community.