What Is the Best Treatment for Baby Constipation?

Kim Denise Walton
Kim Denise Walton
Prunes are excellent natural laxatives.
Prunes are excellent natural laxatives.

The best treatments for baby constipation are usually exercise, increased fluid intake, and a slow introduction of naturally fibrous foods, typically in that order. Babies under one year of age have very sensitive digestive tracts, and occasional constipation is often just a part of the growing process. Treatments should usually start as gently as possible and build incrementally in order to get results. Babies who seem very uncomfortable as a result of constipation or who don’t have a bowel movement in more than three days should usually be referred to a medical professional.

Understanding Infant Constipation

A baby.
A baby.

Constipation in infants usually happens because of a change in diet. For babies who are exclusively milk-fed, the culprit may be something in the mother’s diet that has impacted her breast milk, or else a change in formula brand or ingredients. Babies who are starting solid foods usually experience constipation as a result of something new they’ve tried that their bodies are having a harder time processing. Most experts recommend that, to maintain the delicate balance of the baby’s digestive system, natural remedies should be used as soon as a change in the baby’s stool is noticed.

Peaches contain fiber, which may help with constipation.
Peaches contain fiber, which may help with constipation.

Sometimes baby constipation can be detected by feeling the abdomen. The baby’s lower right stomach region can be rubbed, and if it’s hard, then the intestines may be impacted and could be the reason the baby is feeling constipated. If gently rubbing the baby’s stomach does not cause the fecal matter to move, the baby’s anus can be rubbed in a light circular motion to stimulate a rectal response. Once the sluggish intestinal track has begun moving, the bowels should move also, though this can take some time.


Cooked pears are a good source of fiber.
Cooked pears are a good source of fiber.

Infant exercise is one of the easiest and least invasive methods of getting things moving in the baby's system. One of the best exercises is done by laying the baby on his or her back, then making the baby’s feet move in a bicycle motion — which is to say, the baby’s feet should move as if he or she were pedaling a bicycle. Movements can go both forward and backward. This exercise can be done several times a day to prevent baby constipation. Most infants will find it enjoyable and it will help keep things moving through the intestines, which is particularly important for young infants who don’t otherwise move around very much.

Increase Fluid Intake

For most babies, formula and breast milk contain all the essential nutrients, including water. Constipation often happens as a response to dehydration, though, so getting baby to drink more milk often helps. If the baby's doctor permits the infant to consume water, it should be given to the infant in small sips throughout the day. Water nipples can be purchased for the baby's bottle in these cases; these special nipples are thicker than normal milk nipples and will prevent the baby from taking in too much water. This can cause him or her to become prematurely full, thus missing out on the important nutrients in milk and any other foods.

A small amount of glucose syrup also can be added to formula or breast milk to alleviate constipation. Most experts recommend starting with just a few drops for each ounce of milk. The amount of syrup can be increased if necessary, and it should be discontinued if the baby's stool becomes too loose.

Introduce Fiber

Older babies who have already started solid foods might also benefit from increased fiber. Cooked pears or peaches are a great source of fiber that should be well tolerated by the baby’s delicate system. Unsweetened applesauce is another popular choice. In all instances, though, it’s important to start very slowly, offering no more than one new food per day and not overloading a baby with fiber. This could overwhelm the baby's digestive system and cause diarrhea, which comes with problems all its own.

When to Get Help

Young babies and infants don’t always have regular bowel movements, and in some cases it’s normal to have just one poop every two or three days. A lack of dirty diapers doesn’t necessarily mean that a baby is constipated, though it can be a cause for concern in an infant who was otherwise very regular up until that point. Medical experts usually recommend that babies come in for a check up if they haven’t had a bowel movement in more than three days, particularly if they seem uncomfortable, bloated, or in distress.

Discussion Comments


@Jenny: Even though Mamil is pricey, I'd rather spend more money so that my daughter can stay healthy.


My four year old son always had constipation before using Mamil as a primary milk formula. My colleague told me that Mamil is one of the constipation formulas and suggested I try it. I tried it and saw a difference within a few days. It really works and I can see my son poo every day.


Mamil is quite pricey. Not every family can afford it.


I was having the same issue, my neighbor recommended I switch to Mamil but once I switched to Mamil for a week, it really works! Because it contains no sugar and high DHA! But, the probiotic in Mamil helped to solve constipation problem!


My daughter had to go into the hospital because of all these unproven traditional herbs. I advise everyone that it's better to seek medical advice first before giving them anything. Their stomachs are very sensitive.


Don't worry so much! It's good to give them those home remedies, and safe for the child. But, it will be better for you to bring them to the doctor to seek advice.


My little daughter is recently suffering constipation because she hasn't been able to poo for more than three days. I'm really worried about it as she keeps complaining that her stomach is not feeling well and quite painful.

I already had her drink more water but it still seems like the same. I need some recommendations about any formulas that are able to cure and prevent the issue. Thank you,


Noted. Thanks for sharing.


I find that adding a little warm, overripe banana is the best remedy for baby constipation relief. Heat the banana in the microwave and mash with a little warm milk or formula for the best results. Within an hour, your baby should be relieved.


@ aplenty- It gave me fits trying to figure out what to do when my baby is constipated, but I finally found something that works and is gentle. The best constipation remedy is a warm bath with a couple of drops of chamomile essential oil. My mother gave me this remedy and it helps to relax the baby in no time. After the bath, my baby goes right to sleep, and within an hour, she has a dirty diaper. One word of advice, sometimes she doesn't wait to use the bathroom until she is out of the tub. It's gross, but better than a fussy baby.


My pediatrician told me that I should rub my baby’s stomach in a clockwise direction if trying to stimulate the digestive system. The most pressure should be concentrated on the down stroke of the circular motion, but the pressure should still be light at most. This is one of the more gentle baby constipation remedies and will help calm down a fussy constipated baby.

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    • Prunes are excellent natural laxatives.
      Prunes are excellent natural laxatives.
    • A baby.
      By: Lev Dolgatsjov
      A baby.
    • Peaches contain fiber, which may help with constipation.
      By: Anna Kucherova
      Peaches contain fiber, which may help with constipation.
    • Cooked pears are a good source of fiber.
      By: Lana Langlois
      Cooked pears are a good source of fiber.