27 answers

HELP! Constipated 6 Month Old

My 6 month old son just started eating solids and has been severely constipated for several weeks. I feel so bad for him, each time he has a BM he is in so much pain! I have tried stopping solids for a few days, just feeding him prunes, watered down prune juice, lots of fluids, lots of green veggies, sitting him up, working his legs a lot, is there anything else I can do? Should I get some stool softeners from the dr or is there anything else I can try from home?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone for all their great ideas! I was hoping to find some gentle home remedy before calling the doctor but nothing was working. My doctor prescribed Kristalose and within 24 hours he has had a really good BM. I also stopped all solids besides prunes and pears, as well as apple juice. I think I will slowly work back up to more solids but definitely keep a better eye on how his body is digesting them. He is breastfed and his BMs have always been few and far between, but the dr assured me it was normal. BTW - the colon massage really helps! he seems more comfortable after I do it and he has had more frequent BMs with it. I highly recommend it for after bath time every night! Thank you!

Featured Answers

Hi T.

My grandson had the same problem when he was a baby. We used apple juice, you might have to dilute it a bit, depending on the extent of his constipation. Worked very well for him, maybe a little too well at times. Good luck.

A real old remedy for this is to put a spoonful of Karo white syrup in their formula a time or two. But a stool softner like colace drops helped my two year old. The Dr. said she didn't need a laxative, that her last intestine was secreting too much water, and she just needed a softner, and this cleared her up. On solids at just 6 mo. you may want to watch which ones you give him that would be easier for him to not get constipated. Spinach?? And offer water. My daughter didn't like water,so that was a problem, but it is so good for them.

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The same thing happened when both of my children started solids (and as I added more variety to their diets). I did many of the things already mentioned on here (warm juice/water, less cereal, especially rice cereal, bicycle legs, etc.), but I also ended up using the suppositories with both, and they really helped. People get concerned about the body becoming dependent on them, but I used them with my two just on and off for a few weeks until their bodies adjusted to the new foods and have not had to use anything like that since!

I highly recommend the Fleet brand suppositories. I used the generic ones as well that you insert with your finger, but the Fleet ones have an applicator that is pre-lubricated so it's really easy to use and works RIGHT away. More expensive but so worth it since you will likely only need to use a few over the course of a couple of weeks! Good luck!

You can give him a glycerin suppository that can be bought over the counter. I had to use these several times on my daughter. But what worked well for continued use was warmth. Try warming the juice or milk (formula) and a warm bath. The urologist suggested this and it worked well.

Hi T.

My grandson had the same problem when he was a baby. We used apple juice, you might have to dilute it a bit, depending on the extent of his constipation. Worked very well for him, maybe a little too well at times. Good luck.

Push more fluids - keep a journal of what you're feeding him and his bms afterward - you may find that there are certain foods (wheat comes to mind) that drastically affect his elimination. Go back to straight formula and introduce one food every two weeks, keeping track of BM frequency and consistency.

Baby fleet glycerin suppositories are probably the easiest, most local acting relief for painful BM - given when it's clear it's time, but the baby isn't having any luck - they draw water into the stool to soften it and make it easier to pass. Check with your pediatrician to make sure it's safe, but it was a godsend for my kids.

There is a massage technique that helps increase peristalsis (the speed at which the intestines process food along) that should increase the frequency (and decrease the pain) that baby is experiencing.. lay baby down on his back and, starting on his left (looking at him will be your right), draw your index and middle finger from his left lower rib to his left hip (I) then from his right lower rib to his left lower rib, to his left hip (L upside down - for love), then from right hip to right rib to left rib to left hip (U upside down - for you). If you know the a&p of the colon, you're doing descending colon then transverse to descending, then ascending transverse descending. This also helps a colicky baby pass gas.

Good luck

I would get him into the doctor as soon as there is an opening. It shouldn't be painful to poo. In the mean time, get some pear juice, and give it to him, not watered down. My son was having trouble with formula. He went almost 5 or 6 days without going, and that's not normal. 2 maybe 3 is the normal, anything more than that isnt. The sugars in the juice is supposed to help stimulate the going need.

My dr. nurse told me when I brought my son in, that in all her years working as a pedi nurse (older women). She's never seen so many babies having trouble having a BM.

Hope everything works out fine. :)

They have over the counter at the pharmacy little baby suppositories, you can ask your pharmacist, it is easy and painless, my sister had to use one on her daughter. It loosens the stool and makes it easier to pass. Also carrots, bananas & applesauce always helped my children.

Take his bottle and put about 4ounces to 6 ounces of water with two drops of kayro syrup with the water being warm acourse shake it up and give it to him and you will see a bowel movement shortly after.

Have you tried glycerin suppositories? You can get them at the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist if you are unsure how to do it. You would want to cut it in half. Roll it around in your hand to soften it. Put baby on his tummy and insert it. Squeeze his little "cheeks" together for a minute. This will just help lubricate things down there. I am not a doctor, just a Mom who had the same issue. This worked for my kids.

all 3 of my kids have had trouble with constipation..my oldest child actually was on a prescription medicine (that was only a stool softener, not a laxative--called mirilax) until he was around 3....with the others i tried to get a jump on it early so that didn't happen....mine were all on bottles at the time, so i would add 1/2-1 oz prune juice in every bottle...that has worked well to keep them regular....if i don't add it they are constipated w/i a few days....i started doing this at about 3-4 months of age...
after he gets regular, you might be able to cut back to adding the prune juice just at night, or just in the morning...and just watch to see if its still working...
if you are nursing, i'm not sure how to do that, except in a bottle by itself, but mine only would drink it mixed with formula cuz i don't think it tastes well. anyway--hope that helps!
(if it doesn't clear up - i would ask for a medicine, cuz constipation can be a chronic issue too that might have to be treated)

A real old remedy for this is to put a spoonful of Karo white syrup in their formula a time or two. But a stool softner like colace drops helped my two year old. The Dr. said she didn't need a laxative, that her last intestine was secreting too much water, and she just needed a softner, and this cleared her up. On solids at just 6 mo. you may want to watch which ones you give him that would be easier for him to not get constipated. Spinach?? And offer water. My daughter didn't like water,so that was a problem, but it is so good for them.

hi T. , i have twins as well but they are now 19, and i
have a 21 year old as well, and suprise i have a 6 month old
love it. first , my girl 6 month old also became constipated when i gave her cereal to help with her reflux,
i gave her a teaspoon of kayro syrup in each bottle feeding
it took a day to work but did it work !!she did not have to grunt and it was soft like peanut butter haha tmi , also having twin boys and there brother was 16 months when i delivered i know tired and lazy. some of it was depression
because i was so overwhelmed and had no time for myself and
then the big baby came home and expected supper on the table. yes i wanted to please them all. i soon realized if i dont take time for me i wont have the energy or want do
anything extra for them. i would get up an hour earlier to exercise outside or in the liv. room , exercise gives u the boost of energy u need, even though u have no energy now it will work. plus once a week find something to look forward to even if its a fav movie to watch alone by yourself no
interuptions.or take a walk daily to clear your head. its ok to do something for u. it will be ok your energy will come.

My daughter had that problem and she ended up being allergic to her soy formula that she was on. I would talk to a doctor about it.

I agree please take him/her to the doctor. That is not normal. Do not let a doctor tell you that it is. Insist that the doctor tell you exactly what's wrong and how to fix it. Perhaps a gastroenterologist. The Cooks gastro doctors also have a nutritionist on staff.

My 5 month old just went through the same thing. We were fine on solids for a week or so and then she got so constipated she would struggle turn purple and have just small hard balls come out (sorry to be graphic). I took her off of everything put peaches pears and prunes and after a couple of days things seem to be better. This morning i gave her some cereal to see if we can start adding some things back in, but i am going to keep the prunes as a consistent part of her day. If it hasn't been 48 hours or so on the prunes i would give it a little more time to run through his system before going with meds. I knew when the prunes had done their thing, they look the same coming out as going in. She still grunted a bit, but not nearly the struggle it had been before.

You've recieved a lot of advice and I hope that you have checked with your pediatrician before giving your child any over the counted medications, etc. You don't mention what type of cereal you feed your baby. Rice cereal is known to constipate. Add barley cereal (I could only find it at Babies R Us) to the rice and that should help (or alternate days,etc.). Also, how much formula or breast-milk is he drinking? Looks like he's eating a lot.

My now 3 ear old had the same problem. It seemed always be around the same time everyday in late afternoon. I used the prune juice in her bottles which did not seem to help that much. I went and got the suppositries cause she was in so much pain. After telling the Dr. and doing what they suggested and it not working they finally changed her formula. In which seemed to solve the problem. You could also try to feed more of the baby gerber oatmeal cereal. This has alot of fiber. I know it must of been painful for her cause she would just start screaming. But ask your Dr. about changing formula. Good luck.
D. S.

My daughter and son both have severe constipation which can be a family trait. I would definitly take him to the doctor and have him checked out. My daughter is currently seeing a GI doctor now for her constipation and she is now 2. She is currently on 40 grams of Miralax a day which I would like to get her off of. If she doesn't have that then she doesn't go. Till you can get to the doctor I would add a little bit of Miralax to his bottles to give him comfort so he can go.

Good luck!

Sounds like you have done everything that i would have done. You may want to see more expert adive from a pediatrician or nutritionist to try and offer him a balance. It sounds like sometething is out of whack. Maybe too much iron? I have a 6 month old as well that is primarily on formula; however, gets cereal 3x a day; mixed with either bananas or pears 1x a day. Maybe simplify his diet for a bit? Maybe it is being caused by one food.

Hi T.!

I was just talking to a friend about this yesterday. Her pediatrician told her to give her son dark (make sure it's dark) molasses. She said to keep giving it until the stool comes out about the consistency of peanut butter. She said it worked for her son.

Thankfully with my daughter, I started to just pouring tons of water down her on Sunday. Yesterday she delivered in a big way! :) I think she felt so much better that she actually laughed her entire way through the diaper change-which she NEVER does!

I think Steph's post from below about massaging the colon is very interesting. I've never heard that before and would love to try it!

Love in Christ,

Lisa :)

You can also use a honey that is call KARO you can find those in the flour & vegetable oil Ile you can use it with formula on plain water.

Talk or take him to a doctor!!!!

The little glycerin suppositories worked pretty well for my daughter, and so did Gerber's oat cereal. We also fed her cooked prunes (she loved them), and put a little bit of Karo syrup in her formula. (The Karo needs to be from a new bottle--the pediatrician said that really old bottles that have been in your pantry for years can grow botulism over time like honey does.)

I hope this helps--it's so hard to see your baby uncomfortable!

YES! Go to CVS or grocery store and buy PediLax rectal fluid. It works in less that 30 min. Please do not wait weeks next time! Constipation is just as harmful as diarreah. Your stools are waste and they become more toxic the longer they sit in your bowel being absorbed.

My Pediatrician was clear that oral laxatives are junk, but the fluid given rectally worked great and was super safe to use.

We have the same problem with our 20 month old little boy. I've been giving him soy milk & that helps but its kind of expensive. We also put a little bit of Miralax in his milk. That helps within 30 minutes. You can buy it at CVS, its over the counter now. I asked the doctor & he said give him any type of pitted/seeded fruits or vegetables. He said bananas & carrots are binding so don't give him those! My little boy loves cucumbers so I cut one up almost every day for him. You can put a little mineral oil in his bottle too & that helps. A bath will also help relax him as well. I also rub his back with some massage oil so he will relax. That helps him sleep too! I have read yesterday that water will help with consitipation as well.

Miralax... My 15 month old has had this issue since birth. you put a little(it's a powder) in their formula... it is very gentle.. they can use it forever if needed.. ask your doc how much or i can help. never actually measured, my doc just told me to turn over the lid and fill halfway to the first line.. it can be adjusted more or less as needed....this works... promise.. my baby has fissures and he screamed and his face turned red every time he went to the restroom.

I would give about a ounce of apple juice. My son is 22mths now and he would have a blowout when I gave him juice. Try that or they had OTC meds. for babies and its gentle enough

When we went through the solid food transition our culprit was the rice cereal and it took me a long time to figure it out and then at least a week to clear her system. Go ahead and ask the nurse/doc for help. Prunes actually worked for us -- we puried frozen veggies and added prunes and prune juice. The nice thing is that we now know that rice cereal will stop the runs!

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