42 answers

Baby Has Hard Bowel Movements

I have a happy one year old daughter who has always had problems with harder than normal bowel movements. When she was just a few months old we had to put her on sorbital(sugar water). I hated having to do this and started feeding her prunes and other foods that I thought would help. She's now drinking milk and it's gotten worse. She's not constipated she actually goes 4-5 times a day, but it's in rabbit pellet form. I hate to be so blunt, but I'm hoping that someone has some ideas on how to cure this without over-the-counter meds. I've tried giving her prune, juice and other juices. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyones response. I did end up purchasing some dried fruit (plums, apples, apricots) and after one day things are starting to loosen up. Yahay!!! It looks like I'll have to continue to give her the fruit a couple of times a day, but hopefully that should do the trick.

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She's probably having a reaction to the milk. I don't know much about being lactose intolerant. But cheese will stop you up if you have too much of it. I would imagine milk may be doing the same thing. Or she might just be dehydrated too. Also, another method too is rub olive oil on her tummy. Sometimes that helps move the bowels. But she is having movement though - it's just hard. Wouldn't too much Iron cause the pebbles. I would look at her diet a little more closely. I would talk to her pediatrician about lactouse intolerant and see what her options are. Good luck and happy mommas day.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the exact same problems as you. I found that not just prunes, but prune juice REALLY helped. The stool should have the "feel" of peanut butter. I give my son about 2-3oz of straight prune juice, not mixed with water everyday.

If it is a worrisome thing for you, you can always put about one tablespoon of light Karo syrup in her milk bottles. It may take a day or two to get in her system, but it works.

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I've been having my son (3-1/2) treated for constipation since February. He was having very hard "rabit pellet" form stuff come out too. I would take her to a doc to get it checked out and even to a gasteroenterologist if you can. That way you KNOW she isn't constipated. My son had a single bout with 'it won't come out' type constipation in december and I thought it had been resolved...aparently I was wrong...i let it get to the blood in the poop stage because I didn't know any better. I would urge you to get it checked out if for nothing else, for peace of mind. Good luck. I know this probably isn't what you wanted to hear.

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I, too, recommend taking her to a doctor. A naturopath may be more helpful. Hard pellets is a form of constipation and indicates that the colon is not absorbing enough water. My grandson was chronically constipated. The dr. prescribed a medication that drew water into the colon. It was not a laxative per se. She also gave his mother a diet for him to follow. Oddly enough apple juice is constipating but apples themselves are good for treating constipation. My grandson was to have no cheese and no more than 24 ozs a milk/24 hours. His other grandmother got him to drink more water by diluting the milk with water and then giving him more bottles/day. We gave him crackers and cereals high in fiber. I was surprised to learn that most dry cereals have very little fiber. Often it's less than 1 g. I looked for foods with at least 4g of fiber. Hot oatmeal is good for fiber.

There were other dietary suggestions but I don't remember them. My grandson has not had constipation difficulties for a couple of years now. He's nearly 5.

Sorbitol should be helpful. It's found naturally in fruits and berries but is also synthetically made. Sorbital does help the intestines to absorb water.

I suspect that some babies have difficulty with constipation because their system isn't fully developed. It's a matter of finding the right combination of foods, liquids, and stool softener until their bodies kick in.

I highly recommend that you take her to see a doctor. When I did research re constipation I read that there are some physical abnormalities that interfere with normal bowel movements. This possibility should be eliminated.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J. -- My daughter had a similar problem when we switched her over to cow's milk. It took a couple of weeks for her body to assimilate, but now she is fine. One thing we noticed is that she was most constipated/hard poops when she ate cottage cheese. We have eliminated it completely.

Also, we saw our doctor about it and he prescribed a laxitive (not sure what it was called). Of course, the day we went to the doctor, her stools went back to normal and we never picked up the meds. Anyway, he said that when our bodies deal with constipation or hard poops, it affects the function of the colon. By taking this medicine for a period of time, her stools would pass much more easily and her colon would be "re-set", if you will.

In addition to fruits/sugar, be sure to increase her water intake as much as possible.

Good luck to you and your daughter. Those little rabbit pellets are a pain in the butt! :)

1 mom found this helpful

She's probably having a reaction to the milk. I don't know much about being lactose intolerant. But cheese will stop you up if you have too much of it. I would imagine milk may be doing the same thing. Or she might just be dehydrated too. Also, another method too is rub olive oil on her tummy. Sometimes that helps move the bowels. But she is having movement though - it's just hard. Wouldn't too much Iron cause the pebbles. I would look at her diet a little more closely. I would talk to her pediatrician about lactouse intolerant and see what her options are. Good luck and happy mommas day.

1 mom found this helpful

I had the exact same problems as you. I found that not just prunes, but prune juice REALLY helped. The stool should have the "feel" of peanut butter. I give my son about 2-3oz of straight prune juice, not mixed with water everyday.

Cheese can really costipate kids. Try to get more fruit down her, as well as water. Whole grains are a must as well. Most kids love bananas, and apple/pear slices. You might try activia or whatever yogurt you want. The more cultures listed the better (Active 8 has 8; Mountain High has 5).

My daughter also has lots of constipation issues. I haven't seen anyone mention mineral oil. When she's having trouble i mix a little in her cereal in the morning and it helps a LOT.

Milk really aggravated her constipation, so I gave her soy milk to start with. We're starting to switch to regular milk now (at 16 months) and she seems to do fine with it. Just needed extra time to adjust.

good luck.

J., Many doctors I have talked to about bowel issues blow the topic off. If you go to a European or Asian Doctor you get a very different response. They feel a healthy bowel is esential for a healthy person.

I don't know what is happening with your daughters bowel. I do know many things can effect it working well. If she had meds or antibiotics they could have killed the natural flora that help her bowel work properly. Alergies can effect it like milk or sometimes gluton for example. If her gall blatter isn't putting out enough bile, she could be having a problem. You might want to consider seeing a new doctor. Naturalpathic doctors tend to be more responsive to these issues. Best of Luck, N.

Hi, I'm P. mother of one and expecting the second this late fall... :) I have gone through a similar situation with my daughter who is now just 15 months old and I know what you mean by "Pellets".
What has worked for us was to eliminate all juices and substitute with water, but to continue with the whole milk. After long talks with my daughters doctor she told me that the body is eliminating waste products, and if she is only getting rid of solids she does not have enough water in her system to "lubricate the waste".
Also another practical point that the doctor made was that if it is all solid waste product, her body was not getting enough usable fluid (actual water), so her intestines were sucking all the water back into her system making the waste hard.
Although she was drinking juice (which everyone tells you is great for them to drink), it is loaded with natural sugars which take water to digest and breakdown, hence the "Pellets".
So, what I have done with my daughter is to ensure she eats her two prunes a day (we cut up two dried prunes since she will no longer eat the jarred mashed up ones), and push the water all the time (you said you worked so you may want to tell your care providers if your elimating or adding anything to your childs diet), and we totally elimated the juice intake.
So far this has worked wonders for us, hopefully it'll work for you, or you find a solution soon. Good luck! P.

I give Alyssa all natural applesauce on a regular basis. When she seems to struggle or have rabbit turds, she gets some every day. Other wise about every other day and it seems to help. Alyssa's nurse suggested "P" fruit: peaches, pears, pineapple, etc. She also said apples / applesauce can be binding - but the all natural kind isn't (skins are left on or something).

If it is a worrisome thing for you, you can always put about one tablespoon of light Karo syrup in her milk bottles. It may take a day or two to get in her system, but it works.

I don't know if it will make any difference for your daughter, but grapes and yogurt seem to do the trick for my son! When he was about 8 months old we were having constipation issues (had been for several months). At 9 months I started mixing a little plain, natural yogurt (Nancy's) in with his breakfast every morning. That seemed to be very effective at regulating his system. However, a few weeks later, I introduced him to red grapes (cut into little pieces, of course, but with the skins still intact), which he absolutely loves! I've discovered that when I feed him grapes it ends up being almost too much of a good thing--very soft, mushy bowel movements--so I'm actually having to limit the amount he gets, now!

I have had this problem with my son (who is 6 years old) for what feels like forever!! I have taken him to the Dr. so many times. They put him on miralax for a while, but like you, I would rather not be giving my child meds to fix everything. The one thing that everybody always says is 'feed him lots of fiber' so much to the point that I got sick of hearing it! I finally went shopping and bought everything I could find that was whole wheat (from pop tarts to spaghetti noodles to waffles!) or said 'good source of fiber' on it. There is a lot of cereals that are a great source of fiber as well. This actually really did work. You just have to stick to it! That's the hardest part! I hope that helps you!

I have to ask, is she drinking plenty of water? We all need to drink enough water, even little ones. Sure, they prefer juice because it is sweet, but we need water. Fiber is important too. Make sure she is eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can make a vegetable soup and then puree it if she wont eat them steamed. I hope you find something that helps.

Hello J.,

Does your daughter get enough high fiber foods? I am with a wellness company that produces a lot of great things with high fiber and natural sugars. Please give me a call and I will show you what we have.

I had a lot of bowel troubles before I started eating high fiber foods just recently.

###-###-#### K.

I'm interested in the responses you get. When my daughter turned 6 months old she became constipated. She'd go weeks without a bowl movement. At 8 months old the doctor recommended that we put her on Miralax (sp?). It's a very gentle laxative that extracts water from her body into her bowels to make them softer. It's non habit forming and unfortunately we've been using it ever since (she's now 14 months old). The doctor says she'll probably outgrow it. She doesn't eat a lot of starches and she loves her fruit. I think it may have something to do with the fact that she doesn't drink a lot. She's never finished a cup of juice or water. She doesn't like dairy milk but still nurses.

I've asked a naturopath about this and he recommended giving her a 1/2 tsp of lactobaccilus Bifida 2 times a day. You can get this in a powder form from a local health food store. I asked about flax and he said that some people actually get constipated from it and didn't recommend it. The L Bifida will help reset the flora in her intestines and help with her poop. I hope it works. I haven't tried it yet. It's hard to get her to drink anything!

Good luck!

I also have the same issues with this and my 8 year old daughter was the same way when she was a baby. The doctor suggested using Karo Syrup in milk or maybe diluting the milk. this worked fine with her. Now I have tried this with the new baby and giving her more juices ect besides just milk all the time. It seems to be working fine we have no more pebbles. i have noticed if i just give her juices thoughout the day and use milk for when it is nap or bedtime her bowel movements are normal. I thought this was a crazy way of communicating her dad, talking about how her bowels are. Best of luck with this, I know how hard it is. You know that she is misserable until she passes the deed. If you hear of anything else that could releave this, I would like to hear more imput also. Thank you.

Stop giving her milk! Cow's milk (in any form) is not good for humans at all, causes many many health problems, including constipation (check out notmilk.com). It's not even a good source of calcium or protein - there are many better plant sources. Offer her lots of fresh ripe organic fruits and vegetables.

When I was little, my mom gave me Fletcher's Castoria and Ovaltine.

J., get her looked at. I ignored my daughter's poop that looked like that assuming all was ok since she was going 2-3 times a day. Well, we ended up in the ER in Feb. 'cause she was so constipated she couldn't walk or put weight on her legs. It was awful, to say the least.

She takes Miralax daily to soften her poop; many kids try & avoid pooping 'cause it hurts & that starts a vicious cycle. The dr. told me she may have to take the Miralax for a year!! The intestines get stretched out from the back up of poop & sometimes don't function as effectively as they should & need some help.

The Miralax has helped, plus lots of fiber...fruit, flax seed meal in sauces, pancakes, etc. Good luck...I know that poop is no laughing matter!!

You might ask your doctor about adding stevia (an all-natural sweetener powder made from stevia leaves). It is a very fine powder and could probably be mixed with her milk, but it is very sweet so a little goes a long way. I use it to sweeten foods and my coffee naturally. It also has the side-effect of softening the stools. She is too young now, but when she is older you might try mixing ground psyllium fiber into her applesauce. It will soften the stool and also help her with passing more productively instead of rabbit pellets. Again, ask your doctor first of course. Good luck!

My little girl has had problems with constipation pretty much her whole life. I've tried lots of things including the 'P' diet with pears, peaches, prunes. They helped but the easiest thing and most effective that I've been trying for a couple weeks is flax in her soy yogurt. I grind a tablespoon of whole flax and then stir it in her soy yogurt. Since starting this she has gone every day. Her norm has been a bowel movement every four days and I never felt good about that. Hope this helps you out. I'm going to be trying flax oil next to see if that is better, worse or the same.

Hi J.,

When my children were little I used dark karo syrup. It worked very well.

Later we discovered that milk caused a lot of constipation. I cut out the milk and that worked even better.

Some Dr.'s suggest applesauce, apple juice, pears and pear juice. But be careful as in some children these can make things worse.

If it gets worse and you need some medical intervention. Miralax might be helpful.

I find apricots are great for this type of problem. While giving your little one the Iron they need without the constipation that iron supplements cause.

Best wishes.


Get some plain Fiber One and let her snack on it.

Dear J.:
My daughter who will be 1 in a few weeks has very hard stool. It is so painful to see her this way. Her Pediatrician said to put 1 tsp of karo syrup in her milk twice a day. I only did it once a day and it helped tremedously. Hope this helps.


Hi! J.;
If your baby is still takking a bottle try adding white Karo syrup to her water..or also to her milk bottle..
It should take a table spoon or so per bottle..warm them up..
This is what my mother always used on us kids..and it worked..
Regular cows milk can also be constipating..

Also could try some molasses to her bottle or cup of milk..she may not like the taste..but worth a try..
Also penty of warm water..feed her some applesauce..Best of Luck..

Offer only water, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes for a one month trial, and see what happens. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Cow milk is good for calves, but bad news for humans! Juice is just all the concentrated sugar and none of the good stuff from the fruit. I have not let any of my children drink juice. Water is perfect.

My oldest daughter (now 2 1/2) has always had rabbit pellets too. It seems to be normal for her. If it is not bothering your daughter (causing pain or bleeding to pass), then maybe you don't need to worry about doing something about it? I'd suggest just continuing to keep her hydrated (limit milk to 3 cups per day max) and on a healthy high-fiber diet.

I am actually having problems with my 6 month old. It is very painful for her right now. When I called the pedetrician they suggested to put 1 tsp of dark Karo syrup in the bottle for her and you can do that until the stool softens. If you do it for too long it can get too soft, turning into diarreha. I have had some luck with it. Not sure what type of sugar you were using in the water.

The only other thing I heard that helps was apple juice. Hope you find a cure for your little one.

my son had the same problem and we found it was the milk doing it we have had to cut him back on his milk intake and is its back to normal now

Lots of good suggestions. Does she eat rice cereal and bananas? Both of those are binding, so is applesauce. Take her off all bananas and use oatmeal mixed with apple juice instead of rice cereal. Milk intolerance can cause constipation also. You would have to take her off all milk (use goat milk- it is lower in sugar than the other alternatives) for at least a week. But because she is only 1 I would not try taking her off dairy until all else fails. Cheddar cheese can also be binding.
I gave my daughter Karo syrup on occassion and it worked like a charm. I only gave her about 1 tsp and didn't mix it with anything- just straight off the spoon.
Having frequent rabbit pellet poo is still constipation, the body can't get rid of it all at once so it eliminates it a few at a time.
Did you know that most Dr.'s have never taken a class in nutrition. It is not required in many medical schools, which is why Pediatritions are often at a loss when it comes to problems with diet. Try searching ADA approved nutrition web sites for advice. Here's their home page: http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/index.html

I see nothing so far about apricots or bananas, they are one of the best things I have found for this problem. By a bag of dried apricots and put them in some water, and bring to a boil, let cool and either blend it into a drink for her, or let her just eat them as is, two for a tiny person should do the trick.
Karo syrup is terrible, it is made from corn and of course we all have been reading about the affects of corn syrup in everything we eat, and that it is one of the things we should get ourselves off of. Remember if you do a lot of juices make sure to brush the teeth well.

You said you tried foods but, my pediatrician said all foods that start with a "P" and Pear Juice is more effective than Prune and that did the trick! And plenty of water! So now my son drinks lots and lots of water. Good Luck, I know how painful it is to see your child constipated. Mine started when he started solids.

P.S Too Many bananas will cause constipation, just asked. . They will tell you when you have diahhrea they reccomend bananas - BRAT Diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast

Our little girl is the same way (and I guess I was too). ;-) One thing that did help her is bananas. However, she couldn't have more than 1 a day or she would get bad diaper rash.


My son had the same problem. I call them rabbit turds. :) He'd go once a day or skip a day or two and would cry it would hurt so bad at times to go.

We're having a much better time at it now due to the following:

Prunes AT LEAST once a day (I mix them with squash or pears or other food since he won't eat them alone). We also mix with rice cereal.

Pears help a lot as well.

Plenty of water. If he doesn't drink enough, he doesn't go.

Also, my Naturopath gave us some digestive enzymes to mix with his food and they've helped a ton.

I also started putting my son on the toilet to go poop since it was so hard for him to go in his diaper. He really prefers to go on the toilet.

Hope this helps!

Along with lots of fruits(prunes, strawberries, grapes, oranges, etc) and extra water, we've had good luck with my daughter by supplementing with a probiotic(acidophilus bifidus,etc). We now use one that is a liquid and blueberry flavored and she loves it, but in the past we have used one that is especially made for babies and comes in a powder form so can be mixed into whatever you are feeding her. We found the stuff we use at New Seasons, but I would imagine you can find it elsewhere too. Hope that helps!

We have a two year old who has always had the same problem too. We also tried different foods to try to help with the problem, but when that didn't work, our pediatrician suggested that we just give him a teaspoon or so of mineral oil once a day. We've been doing that for almost a year now and it is just part of the nightly routine and has been very easy for us since he thinks taking medicine is a treat and we call it medicine. We're still trying to be careful with his diet, but don't have to go too far out of our way because the mineral oil seems to help him a lot. Hope that helps!


It sounds to me like she need more fluids across the board, all day long. My kids both had this problem when we were weaning, and it wound up being as simple as offering more liquids throughout the day instead of just at meal times.

Hope this helps,

How about legumes, as in black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, etc.? I include legumes as a part of my girls' regular daily diet, and if it gets skipped for some reason I notice a difference in their BMs right away. It's also quite evident when they eat quite a lot of legumes in a day- not diarrhea, but very very soft BM.

My girls get them just out of the can-when they were little it was great finger food. When I was worried about choking I mashed it up and mixed it with oatmeal, rice cereal, etc. I know, it sounds gross, but they loved it.

Good luck.


Rabbit pellet form bowel movements is constipation.
Get her Pear Juice that Gerber makes. I don't know why, but it always cured my boys of thier constipation issues. I always had a big bottle of it in my fridge and would give them a glass or two a day, depending on thier needs. Oh, and don't dilute it. Gerber makes thier Pear Juice and all thier juices for babies and small ones, so it's not harsh and won't give them diarrea.
I would feed my kids Prunes and it wouldn't work, it just made them gassy. I used different natural laxatives from health food stores and nothing worked like Pear Juice. It sounds too simple, but it works.

My daughter had the same problems, and I found that a lot of foods she had a difficult time getting out ok. I turned to suppositories often as it helped the most. She had issues w/severe constipation until she was about 4. I know that fiber rich foods should help but I had a hard time find the perfect food for her too. I recommend using supposotories over prune juice or anything of that kind since they actually tend to make their stomachs upset.

Hope that helps!

My son had really hard bowel movements and the thing that worked best was Welch's white grape, cherry juice. I give him 1 - 2 oz a day diluted with 6 - 8 oz of water. As long as he gets his daily juice he poops like normal. As soon as he misses a day or two his bowel movements go back to being really hard and painful. Good Luck

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