45 answers

Almost 9 Month Old with Severe Constipation

Hi,
My soon to be 9 month old is severely constipated. This has been going on for about the past month. After no BMs for 5 days, I awoke to him screaming (in pain) this morning. He was pooping. He produced a moderate-large amount of very hard, ball like feces. (Sorry for all of the information). There also was blood....that I assume was caused by fissures.

He is breast-fed. I have made a point to give him higher fiber foods. He gets at least two jars of pears or prunes each day. Also I have omitted all bananas.

I have attempted to get pear juice and water into him. Unfortunately, he does not like the bottle (unless he is starving) and has not mastered the sippy cup yet.

Anybody have any suggestions?

P.S. He has an appointment at the pediatrician's on Wed....and constipation is at the top of our list.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all of the replies! Thankfully the constipation cleared up after the painful poop on Monday morning.

The pediatrician said we were doing everything right....eliminating binding foods like bananas and adding higher fiber foods like pears and prunes. (I had called and spoken with her nurse a couple of weeks ago for these recommendations....so this was not new information). Given that we have been doing the food thing for a few weeks, she feels that lack of water is the real culprit. At her suggestion we have also added foods with a high water content to them....like watermelon.

I went directly from the doctor's office to Target to get some different types of sippys. (We have the Avent and the Born Free already). I purchased the Nuby straw sippy and a Munchkin sipper. Time will tell if my son will get the hang of these any time soon. Until he is more adept at using them, the plan is to give him sips straight from a regular glass or with a medicine dropper/syringe continually throughout the day.

My doctor also said that a half a dose of Miralax or a glycerin suppository are options if we find ourselves in this situtation again. In addition I am going to check in with a homeopathic doctor to see if there are any additional remedies to consider.

Featured Answers

This doesn't address the constipation issue directly...But, since pear juice has worked well for us, one way you might consider getting it in him: straw cups. My 9-month old hasn't fully mastered the sippy cup either since she doesn't know to tip it (though she can manage ok if I hold it). However, my older daughter left her straw cup (they have those some-what disposable packages of plastic cups, lids, and straws at Target -- I can't remember the brand) laying around and my 9-mo old picked it up and quickly caught on to how to suck through the straw.

Wow! A lot of advice...2 things I did not see however that helped with my kids...no CARROTS. They made my kids soooo constipated! Also, when I noticed them trying to poo and cry and couldn't I put a little vaseline on a q-tip and massaged the anus in a circular motion with the baby laying on the changing pad with diaper underneath. This seemed to help them poo. Sorry for the graphics but a cousin told me this and it did help until the body got into a better routine without assistance.

When you can get him to take the sippy cup (I would go straight to that rather than a bottle), try Welch's white grape cherry juice. My son also had severe constipation despite my efforts with fruits and juices until we tried the white grape cherry juice. I just give him a little juice (2oz) and fill the rest of the cup with water. As long as he gets 2-4oz of this juice a day he poops just fine. If he goes a day or two without, we have troubles again. Good luck.

More Answers

so my son has been constipated sinc birth and is now 27 months old. at that age i gave him prune juice and mixed it with a little grape juice or whatever other juice your son likes. i gave that to him 3 times a week. no more than that.

and it worked out perfectly. another thing that my sons dr rec. was buying pitted plums and figs and peeling the skins off and mashing up with a little bit of prune juice and making it into a baby food. and if your son likes that it might help. my son didnt.

once he gets older and has more teeth popcorn works wonders!!!

i mean WONDERS!!!!!!!!!!!

my son will be constipated and i'll make him some popcorn and within 30 mins hes pooping loosly.

hope it works out for you

A.

1 mom found this helpful

I had a very similar experience with my breastfed son at the same age. Neither high fiber foods or prune juice (which he wouldn't drink, either, so I mixed it in with his food) seemed to help much. For him (contrary to one of the other suggestions), the thing that apparently made the difference was introducing yogurt. Every morning for breakfast I make him a bowl of oatmeal with mashed papaya, maybe some other fruit, a few date pieces, and a large spoonful of Nancy's plain yogurt. I like the all natural, unsweetened yogurt. Using the fruit and dates sweetens it enough that he thinks its really good! Ever since I introduced the yogurt, he has been almost too regular . . . 3-5 soft poops a day!!! (He's now 14 months old.) I hope you find a solution for your situation!

1 mom found this helpful

I can totally relate to what you are going through. My son is almost 11 months old, and he has had problems with constipation ever since he was about 3 months old. We have been to the doctor quite a few times for this issue and to a GI specialist. There are many things you can do for constipation (which I am sure your doctor has told you). Two of the biggest things we have found are to make sure he stays really hydrated and to pay attention to what he eats. All the "P" fruits are really helpful to constipation - prunes, pears, peaches, plums, etc. I would try to stay away from bananas, applesauce and rice cereal as they are all quite binding. Our doctor had us use infant glycerin suppositories (which can be purchased at any drugstore) to alleviate the constipation when our son was especially bound up. They say that warm baths along with gentle pressure on the tummy are also supposed to help. In the end, we have had to put him on prescription Miralax to help regulate him until his digestive system is able to mature. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

My son dealt with this same thing. A couple of suggestions: Pay attention to your diet since your breastfeeding. Drink lots of water & you may want to cut back on iron rich foods &/or dairy. Also, Nuby makes a great sippy cup with a soft spout. My son couldn't get the hang of a sippy cup either but the Nuby was easy for him. I've seen them at Target and Fred Meyer. This could be a way to get water and diluted juice into him.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

This doesn't address the constipation issue directly...But, since pear juice has worked well for us, one way you might consider getting it in him: straw cups. My 9-month old hasn't fully mastered the sippy cup either since she doesn't know to tip it (though she can manage ok if I hold it). However, my older daughter left her straw cup (they have those some-what disposable packages of plastic cups, lids, and straws at Target -- I can't remember the brand) laying around and my 9-mo old picked it up and quickly caught on to how to suck through the straw.

Try canned peaches. If he is still breastfeeding alot, you can also eat the peaches yourself and the benefits will get to him. That is what I did when my first one had problems like this.

Try a qualified chiropractor or massage therapist that specializes in babies.

My son was constipated around six months old and I was still breastfeeding and the ped recommended that I drink a lot of apple or prune juice too. It worked after a day or so.

You didn't mention if you are still breast feeding. If you are then I would look into how much soy is in your diet. Soy is extremely constipating for children and I have had more friends who are amazed at how much soy is hidden in our foods... aka. tuna fish.

Good Luck
T.

Wow! A lot of advice...2 things I did not see however that helped with my kids...no CARROTS. They made my kids soooo constipated! Also, when I noticed them trying to poo and cry and couldn't I put a little vaseline on a q-tip and massaged the anus in a circular motion with the baby laying on the changing pad with diaper underneath. This seemed to help them poo. Sorry for the graphics but a cousin told me this and it did help until the body got into a better routine without assistance.

My 8 month old went through the same thing. The daily prunes helped, but I found that hydration was the most important thing. He won't take a bottle either and thinks a sippy cup is a water toy, but LOVES sipping from a glass. Obviously, I have to administer the sips but it gets water in him and keeps things moving :)

Hi Greg and K.,
Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Many responses provide great options for you to try.

One thing I didn't see represented is the use of Ultimate Aloe Juice. It is very gentle and soothing on the digestive tract as well as getting waste to move through effectively, with its laxative properties. My daughter has been on it during her transition to solid foods for the past several months, (traditional juices and prunes didn't work) she is currently 16 months. (A recommendation by a Naturopathic doctor.) The best way to get it down your baby is through an eye dropper, it's quick with little wasted. Now that my daughter is older, I give it to her mixed with her vitamins in a sippy cup in the morning. Her favorite flavor is Strawberry Kiwi Aloe Juice. It is part of her daily routine to help her from getting backed up. Plus, it's also packed with many other great vitamins and nutrients. My seven year old also takes it daily and my husband and I take it when needed.

I'd be very happy to answer any questions and I can send you a link to find out more information. I wish you the best!

Kimberly

My daughter has had a similar issue (off and on for 2 years now). The key for us is 1/2 cup of pear juice and 1/2 cup of water daily. You could also puree some prunes and mix with some pears or apples. I bet that would work too.

Also, you probably want to keep him out of the sun for now since he's already dehydrated.

You can also give him a bath to help relax his bum. We tried multiple baths for Madison and it seemed to work. Also we would give her water to drink as much as possible--a sip here and there goes a long way. We would have her drink a little water as she wakes up in the morning and after nap--seemed to be the best time.

You mentioned using a bottle. I recommend the sippy cup--we really like the Born Free trainer cups (BPA free). My 11 month old son started drinking water from it 2 months ago. We offer water to him at each meal (he seems to like the water at room temperature). He'll get the cup soon enough--you can help him for now.

Finally, we had to help my daughter while she was pooping. It helps to hold their knees up to their chest while they are pushing. Then you can give them extra love which helps them to relax.

Good luck and try a few things prior to your appt. tomorrow so you can tell the doctor what's starting to work.

Hi K.,
My 5 year old son got diagnose with Leukemia this past Dec and was put on all kinds of Meds along with other meds to help with constipation & dizziness. However, we never had to give him any of the side effect meds. Because a friend told us about this Ultimate Aloe® Juice (They come in few different flavor but Alex loves the strawberry kiwi flavor.)from www.ugot2shop.com (click on health & nutrition then choose digestive health.) It has all these info for you to check it out.
Hope your son will get better soon.
Seattle Mom

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This may be a silly question, but how much water are YOU drinking? Sometimes even breastfed kids can get constipated if the mom isn't drinking enough water. Good think you are breastfeeding. Formula would make the constipation worse! Keep on with the breastmilk, maybe contact the local La Leche League to find out if there are any things you can do in your diet to help with his constipation. Good luck!

K.,
You have got to see what I have found! Superior, patent, food suplement of Reliv that has helped me and others with our digestion. It is safe for people of all ages and have known several to give it to newborn babies that are failing to thrive. As a distributor I can help you get more information.
D.
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I used the Super Baby FOody book with my now 20 month old. In hat book the author talks about Super Porriage. She claims her twins were never constipated because of the porriage. It starts out as powdered brown rice cereal that you cook, freeze into ice cube trays and feed every morning. As your baby can eat more of a variety, the porriage becomes oats, millett, etc. My baby was never constipated until I strayed from the porriage. When I went back to the porriage she had no problems. THis book is great and can help you with healthy choices to feed your child. I loved the book and buy it for other mothers when I need a baby shower gift:)

I would tell your doc you need to be seen right away because of the blood. They will get you in same day with that information.
You also should try the infant massage course. It teaches you how to massage your child (the instructor doesn't massage them, we show you the strokes on a doll) and can be REALLY helpful in stimulating the intestinal tract. You will learn how to massage your baby's belly to help movement. www.lovingtouch.com provides instructors close to you. I am an instructor that works out of the Tacoma Area, and most hospitals provide classes for parents as well. google infant massage to see the full benefits. it's amazing.

Maybe some cod liver oil would help out. There's one by Carlsson with a "great lemon taste" that I gave my daughter from 5-6 mos. of age---like 1/4t. a day at that age, but he might need 2x that to get his stools nice and soft. In addition to adding valuable fats it contains a lot of fat-soluble vitamins that tend to be lacking in our diets.
I hope he feels better soon!

Not to be critical, but if you were contipated yourself, would you wait a month before doing something?
Southern oregon

Hi Gregg and K., I have also experienced this type of behavior from my oldest son when he was a baby. There are two things that I can suggest for your problem with the constipation in your little guy....first one is that I would suggest if you have a fairly large medicine dropper that is clean, you could give your little guy some juice and water using that and keep trying to get him to use the cup at least....Hopefully he will take to the medicine dropper well enough for the juice at least. Second one is that when it was really bad for our son, our pediatrician suggested getting these 'Infants & Children's Glycerin Suppositories Laxative'. He said that we could find them at Walgreen's which I did and that the recommended dose to give him was half of the suppository. The only unfortunate thing about this is that it goes in rectally. But it only takes anywheres from 5 to 20 mins. and you have a BM. I have also done this with my youngest son pretty recently. And it works every time! Good luck and I hope this helps.
~M.

My 4 YO son has been going through treatmetn for constipation since January. I think we're almost done. He had some blood too, but it was much later than the "incident". Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma is very good. I was refered there by my doctor. I live in Federal Way, so it's a little closer than Seattle, but going to the children's hospital was totally worth it. Don't worry if they send you there (or to another one (is there one in Seattle???)). They are specialists and very good at what they do. Make sure if they send you to a specialist, it is a children's specialist.

Sounds like you've done the right thing with the food! Way to go mom. If you don't mind a little sugar, there's a Fiber One cereal called Caramel Delight that has 9 grams of fiber per cup. It is kind of like cinnamon toast crunch. I decided the little bit of sugar would be a good sacrifice for so much fiber. Hope you can get through this soon.

hi K.,
I rep for a manufacturing company who makes really great wellness products and we have a really great line of fibers. we have a liquid one with pre and probiotics that might work very well. I think it would be very viable for a young baby. If you'd like to investigate I think it would be beneficial. It taste like Tang and is very health and low in sugar. Very affordable so if you would like to find out more I'll be happy to connect with you.
N. B.

I feel for you. My oldest daughter deals with constipation (she's 15-1/2 months old now), but has always had it. Our pediatrician said to bicycle her legs and that helps some (plus it gets her giggling because I sing Queen's Bicycle Race song when I do it). The other thing I use now with her is Apple-Prune juice made by Gerber. I mix it 1 part juice to 2-3 parts water. She loves it (and I think the juice is good too) and usually after one or two times of this she has a fairly soft movement. Otherwise, she has has the harder, pebble type BM's. I'm sure your pediatrician will have the best answer for you, but this is what works for us.

Good luck!

I am assuming you have talked to your doc about this. How about some citricel snuck (spl?) into his pears and prunes? A heating pad on his tummy and then a gentle massage? A warm bath and then some massage? Put lots of water in his prunes and pears. Peaches are also good for constipation. Add lots of liquids to every thing.

Hope some of this helps.

Oh poor little guy! One of my sons had that problem though not as severe and we gave him suppositories. We didn't want it to get out of hand and they worked! Even now that they are 3, we give them non-diluted apple juice to move things along and it works every time. Your advice nurse or pharmacist can recommend suppositories to help. And don't worry about sippy cups until a year or so and then use the Playtex Sipsters - they are the only ones we found that don't leak.

Hi,

My kids both dealt with chronic constipation when they started on solid foods. My 3yr old is still having trouble with it. This can slow up the potty training because they have a negative association with pooping. :-(

Good job on cutting out the bananas. With the high fiber foods, you need to make sure you're giving him plenty of water. Otherwise, they can contribute to the constipation. Make sure he's getting plenty of water throughout the day. We have found dairy to be a big culprit, so after a year old, be careful about how much dairy he gets. Also, Miralax has worked wonders with my 3 yr old.

I hope this helps!

K.

My son has moderate constipation right now- My Pedi. recommended 2 ounces of prune juice once. Believe it or not apple juice can constipate. He said to mix it with his formula and no rice cereal. You might have to resort to a glycerin supp. for a last resort since he doesn't like the bottle. But always check with your doctor first. Did you tell the nurse he had blood in his stool when making the apppointment? That is something they should know about.
sorry looks like you've already got this response;-)

My youngest, now 2 years, was also severly constipated and we used Glycolax. It was prescribed by our pediatrician and was amazing! He has almost no problems now and does not need the laxatives anymore. Good Luck!

I would take your child to the emergency room ASAP!
No question about it. This is serious and should be treated right away.

My daughter had the same experience. She is a bottle fed baby so the nurses recommended karo syrup in her bottles. I did about 1 tsp to 6 oz of formula once a day and that seemed to do the trick. Also I make sure to give her juice 1-2 times a day. I know, it is very painful for the parents to see their baby go through this. Good luck.

-S.

When you can get him to take the sippy cup (I would go straight to that rather than a bottle), try Welch's white grape cherry juice. My son also had severe constipation despite my efforts with fruits and juices until we tried the white grape cherry juice. I just give him a little juice (2oz) and fill the rest of the cup with water. As long as he gets 2-4oz of this juice a day he poops just fine. If he goes a day or two without, we have troubles again. Good luck.

Hi K.,
We had the same issue at about the same age. A little diluted apple juice and it will take care of things.

:)

Hi,

I would stop the peas, the prunes are good. Does he eat any dairy? That could be a culprit. Peas for my second son caused gas and constipation, along with dairy. I would also give him lots of cut up fruit, melons, berries.

T.

My daughter also had problems with constipation. THey started about the same time as your son. I wasn't able to help her with any diet changes (fiber, prunes, fruit, juice) so her pedi suggested Miralax. She started taking it and it really worked for her. I was able to stop using it after a few months. I think it just helped us get through a few months until her body developed a little more.

I didn't have a chance to scan the responses so I hope this is not redundant...

I went through this exact same thing. Rowan would cry and bleed and I'd hold him over the sink. Tummy massages in a clockwise motion, warm baths, nothing fixed it.

Here is how we got it under control.

WATER! Get it down him some way. Try a big person cup. Little sips offered often. Rowan preferred that. They need it with the solids (which no one told me...I'd assumed breast milk was enough, but it's the perfect mix already, so adding solids just gums things up without extra liquid.) And/or mix more water and prune juice with his food.

A teaspoon or so of mineral oil in his food 1-2xper day. This helped a lot when things were getting backed up.

Glycerin Suppositories when it was bad - though not good for all the time. But this is a bandaid and doesn't help the pain.

Prunes worked but pears seemed to be better.

Our naturopath gave us digestive enzymes to mix with food and it helped too, since Rowan is on Zantac for reflux.

We had to figure out the right combination of foods/liquid on an ongoing basis. We kept going from ok to constipated because we weren't diligent enough about the liquids, etc. until it was too late and he was in pain.

Also, Rowan poops on the toilet much easier. He doesn't get it all out when he goes in his diaper. You might try the sink or toilet.

He's one year now and pooping pretty good, consistently, thank goodness!

Good luck!

A lot of advice, but didn't see anything about cereal. Most baby cereal that parents start on will have iron added and can cause constipation. All my kids had trouble in that department. It's natural to have trouble for them to go from breastmilk (usually very loose) to solid foods anyway. I also would tuck their knees up toward their chest and gently roll from side to side on occasion. Prunes are nice, but not too much. I also fed mashed avocados with a little banana and lime juice... my daughter's favorite and very healthy. Oh, and if you're letting her have water, have it room temp or a little warmer. hth...

Our son had the same problem, our doctor prescribed (it's now over the counter in the same form with a slightly different name MIRALAX)Glycolax powder. It seems to work wonders when added to solid foods. Having the same problems when I was a child I don't recomend prune juice as if you've tried it, it tastes Very Bad!!! My mother used to make me sit at the table for hours until I drank it and that is totaly un-called for these days with so many other things on the market to help. You don't want to make your child dislike other juices because they were forced to drink one bad tasting one. Also, once we started the Glycolax he did'nt have to have every day after awhile and actually (dispite all the evidence to dispute it) was able to stop it all together when switched to formula! They say sometimes the bulk of formula actualy helps the digestion process with alittle added pressure to move things along. Every baby is different so you should ask your doctor and try multiple options if one does not work. Good luck and hang in there!

My daughter has been constipated since 6 months of age. We've gone through countless screaming moments as she's trying to pass a difficult bm. My daughter is also breast fed. I did all I can with her diet but I couldn't get her to drink much of anything other that breast milk. It was so frustrating. Finally after resisting for many months I've given her a bit of Miralax (gentle laxative). I'm a very "natural" mother and didn't like the idea of putting this into my daughter's body. I was also scared that it was habit forming, which my doctor repeatedly told me it wasn't. She's 17 months old today and I still use the laxative as necessary. If she has too much starch she'll constipate. There were a few months when she didn't need it at all. I think her body is just prone to constipation but I believe she'll outgrow it eventually. I hope this helps.

The same thing happened with my now 11 month old. Her pediatrician had me give her sitz baths 2-3 times a day to heal the fissure and then had me put MiraLax in 4 oz of straight prune juice (no water added). She drinks the juice throughout the day. The MiraLax has worked wonders, but it is a daily thing for a few months. I had been giving her prune and pear juice with water and a ton of prunes and pears with her other solid foods, as well. None of that stuff worked on its own. After about a month of the straight juice, I started adding water to increase her fluids. She is also breastfed. If he won't take the bottle or sippy cup, try giving the juice to him from a normal cup while you hold him. You will need a good bib and some paper towels b/c it can get a little messy!
I hope that helps. Good luck!

It sounds like you've gotten some good advice as far as how to handle chronic constipation--since you are breastfeeding, your best bet as many have said here is to do two things:

1) Look at your own diet--some foods that can lead to digestive challenges with babies through mother's milk are brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) and soy. Be sure you are drinking LOTS of water!

2) With any solid foods your son is eating, you might just stop the ones that were added most recently prior to his constipation--give it a week to see if his BM's improve, then gradually add them back one at a time to see if there is a reaction. He may simply be unable to digest one of his most recent solid foods at this point--digestive systems develop at different rates for babies.

Finally, if you have a situation that gets acute--like this most recent 5 days with no BM and obvious compaction and pain--this is going to sound wierd but a very tiny amount of coffee can help. When my now-18 year old was a baby, about 5-6 months old, she had a similar situation, and I was pretty frantic to help her. I tried everything--massage, movement of her legs, giving her water or juice, nothing helped. I realized that for me, having coffee loosens my stool, so I gave her an eyedropperful--about 20 minutes later she had a very full diaper!

I wouldn't do this very often, but my dear "comadre" who is half Mexican married to a Mexican man reminds me that, in Mexico, it is quite common to feed babies milk with a little coffee, so it's probably not terrible.

K., I feel for you because we have been battling this same problem for 13 months now since our daughter was 7 months old. We give her Miralax and it solved our problems. Good luck to you. S.

First off, I want to say congratulations on your son being a cancer survivor!

I don't really have any more to add than what the other moms have already responded, but I noticed that everyone mentions their BOYS as having problems...but no girls. Does anyone know if this is more common in boys? My little guy has problems every now and then...

Hi there,

I had the same problem with my son when he was 8months old and it was so bad that we had to rush him to the hospital and they had to give him an enema. They also told me not to let him try to push that out because he could burst something down there becuase it's to hard for him. Needless to say the enema worked thank GOD! We went to his doctor for a follow up and she prescibed him Miralax and it really helped out. I would mix it in some juice and let him drink away, I would even mix it in his water because you can't really taste it. I hope this info helped you out and good luck with your little bundle of joy!!!

Hey K.,

Sounds like you've done your homework and have made a lot of changes already. Good for you - I do think some children have greater problems with constipation than others.

But some ideas that worked for me and for friends of mine (my dd only had constipation for a short time - around the same age as your son - but some of my friends' children have experienced what your son is experiencing).

1 teaspoon of flax seed oil a day. I HATE the taste of this stuff, but my dd ate it without complaint, so it's worth a try.

Eliminating all milk products - both from his diet and yours, since you're breastfeeding.

yogurt is also known to cause constipation - don't know if you're giving him yogurt, but I was surprised to find out that yogurt (although good for us) CAN cause constipation if eaten in too large quantities.

I hope you find an answer soon - it's horrible to watch our little ones suffer.

And congratulations on your older boy surviving cancer!!! Blessings to all of you.

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