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How to relieve constipation in babies?

constipation in babies and children

Key points:

  1. Babies’ poop frequency varies with age, and some irregularity is normal.
  2. Look for fussiness, infrequent pooping, and hard stools as potential indicators.
  3. Consider offering pear or apple juice (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) and introducing fiber-rich foods.
  4. Children’s poop patterns change as they grow, and you should consult a pediatrician if you notice signs of constipation, including hard stools and irritability.

Do you think your baby is constipated?

Normally, babies that drink milk formula poop once every day, but they can spend 1 or 2 days without doing it. On the other hand, if you’re breastfeeding, the times your baby poops will depend on their age. If the baby doesn’t poop at least once a day during their first month of life,  it’s likely that they might need to drink more milk. However, in the following months, a few days, or even a week can go by without pooping. If you have any concerns, talk to your pediatrician.

Something important to keep in mind is that babies have to make a big effort when they poop, so it’s quite likely that they will turn red or cry while pooping. This is normal, especially because babies spend most of the day on their backs. 

However, there are certain signs that can help you identify if your baby is constipated. For example, if they’re too fussy, spits up more than normal, poops less than usual, tries to poop for longer than 10 minutes without achieving it, or if the stools are too hard or have traces of blood. 

What can you do if your baby is constipated?

If your baby is constipated, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that, after the first month of life, you can give them a bit of pear or apple juice. This is because the sugar in these beverages extracts liquid into the intestines, and it helps loosen the stools. The recommended amount of juice is 1 ounce per day for each month of life. If your baby already eats solid foods, you can try vegetables and fruits, especially prunes and plums. 

In any case, we recommend that you talk to your pediatrician or health professional, and follow their recommendations.  

Constipation in children 

Pooping patterns are different in every child. In most cases, once they turn one year old, kids tend to poop once or twice a day. However, if your child poops every two or three days, this can be normal, as long as it doesn’t cause discomfort or pain. Just remember that it’s important to consult this information with your pediatrician.


Some signs that your child might be constipated are hard and dry stools, stools that are hard to poop out or that hurt when coming out, irritability, loss of appetite, colics, nausea, and incontinence. 

What’s the treatment for constipated children? 

If your child is constipated, you can give them food with higher fiber content, like apples, peaches, and pears. Remember that eating the skin of the fruit is also important since that is the part with the most fiber. Broccoli, carrots, and cooked cauliflower are also good sources of fiber. It is also recommended that you increase the amount of water your child drinks. 

In some specific cases, your child’s pediatrician could prescribe a medication to soften the stools. 

Lastly, remember that encouraging your child to move around can also help a lot. Physical activity, combined with a balanced diet, are the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. 

Do you have any questions about what you read? You can write to us in the comment section!

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2 Responses

  1. Does cooking the carrot and broccoli and pureeing it before feeding it to the baby reduce its fibre content? What is the best method of preparing carrots and broccoli for a one year old?

    1. Hi Kavya, raw and cooked plant foods are both good sources of fiber. While cooking can modify the structure of the fibrous cell walls in plant foods, loss of fiber when cooking is not a significant concern, and it also depends on each vegetable and the temperature to which it’s cooked. Purée doesn’t usually modify the amount of fiber. If you have any more questions regarding your baby’s nutrition or constipation, you can talk to your healthcare professional about it 🙂

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