Constipation: 4 1/2 month old has been constipated since birth: What is safe to try?

Updated on January 20, 2008
W.C. asks from Salt Lake City, UT
15 answers

My son has had trouble w/ bowel movements since birth. I've been supplementing with formula since his first week (since my milk never fully came in). On his pediatrician's advice, we've tried milk-based formula, soy, apple juice, pear juice, milk of magnesium, nothing seems to help! Since we changed to soy last week, (again, on the Ped's advice) he's going more frequently, but his BM's are more painful now and even causing a little bleeding.

He did really well on Good Start Natural Cultures for a while, then he started getting really constipated again. Suppositories work, but I just don't want him to become dependant on them.

Any advice??

Thank you!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses! On my mother's advice, I asked his Dr if we could give him karo syrup back when he was a few weeks old and he actually said no because it could contain botulism spores :( But in my research, it appears that the chances for that is HIGHLY unlikely, so maybe I'll bring it up to him again.

We are also going to start him on solids this weekend (sweet potatoes) and baby oatmeal cereal to see if that gets him moving.

Thanks again to everyone for your advice! I just hate to see my sweet little boy in pain!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

My son also had this problem. We would give him normal formula and he would have diarrhea and then we put him on soy formula and it made him constipated. We finally had his pediatrician put him on a special formula that was easier for him to digest called progestamil (I think that is how it is spelled) and that solved the problem. He was very fussy because his stomach was constantly upset, it made him colicky. Anyhow, I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Lincoln on

I would call your doctor and see what they want him to be on now. Sounds to me like he may just have build up. I would give it more time his body needs to adjust to the new formula. My daughter had a similar problem and at first we started out with Similac® Alimentum® Hypoallergenic Formula it really helped her and then we went to soy formula and now she is on soy milk. Her doctor told us that she could be on it for a little time or a long time it all just depends. Also every child is different and I hope they can get his problem figured out. I know what you are going through and I wish you the best. For his pain, I would give him daily warm baths it will help him with his discomfort. Poor little guy! Hope everything gets better for him.

Take care,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Saginaw on

My 1 year old daughter has had consitpation problems since birth. My doctor had me add Prune juice to her bottle and it has worked like a charm.
I would start with 1 Table spoon and go from there....It won't hurt them.
my daughter has to have 1 table spoon to 8oz of formula/milk.

Hope this helps.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

Have you asked your Dr. about starting food? I started my baby on rice cereal with a little apple sauce at that age, and it helped with BMs. Even a little squirt of apple juice once a day may help things move along. I'm sure it's something he'll grow out of, but it can be very frustrating. I also had to use suppositories if he hadn't had a BM after 3 or 4 days so it wouldn't get too painful. They sell baby suppositories over the counter that are very mild and safe.
Just ask your Dr. for advice before you try something new.
Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

I dont know what kind of water you use, but I found that when I switched my now 3 yr old's formula water to the baby water, she became a bit more regular. Also I was told that at this age some of the baby prunes help. I would give her a half of the baby jar every day. She still need some prunes everyday, but its not quite as painful for her to go anymore. Also, very warm baths help, especially if he has some stomach pains, be ready though, sometimes the warmth of the bath makes them go right away. Tummy rubs, kind of like you see a cat does to her kittens, really really helps the cramps. I dont know if you knew this, but when a mommy cat is licking the belly of a kitten, she is trying to help them go poop. Pushing his legs up and into hisself, gently yet firm, really loosen things up. I hope some of this helps you. I know how hard it is to watch your little one go thru this. I am lucky so far though, she can drink regular milk, just as long as she gets her prunes. Good Luck!



answers from Boise on

Mt 3 year old was the same way, part of the problem was from her only having one kidney. I have never heard of the Karo syrup...wish I had, but what my Dr suggested is watering down the formula a little , add an extra ounce of water. Then to give her just a little bit of prune juice, it probably didn't amount to more then 1/2 tsp prune juice and 1/2 tsp water , but that did the trick, once she was regular I cut back the prune juice to every other day.



answers from Provo on

Hi W.,
Have you tried adult white grape juice? That's what we gave our baby. He also was formula fed since birth. We started when he was 2 weeks old. When he was 2 months old we started giving 4 oz white grape juice without water. Sometimes it seemed he was a little more fussy & I thought it might be the juice so we also gave him 1/4 tsp Maalox before the juice. It helped tremendously.
Good luck!



answers from Provo on

The dark karo syrup worked for me as well when my kids were very young, but have you heard of Miralax? It is now sold over the counter, and you just put a T. a day in their formula bottle. I'm not sure if you can do it until 6 months, but it was a life saver at my house! My kids usually got worse when I started rice cereal, so I was told to do baby oatmeal instead, and mix it with some pear juice and formula.



answers from Milwaukee on

I, too, have a 4 and 1/2 month old! Congratulations
to you! Mine gets a little bound up as well - prune
juice!!! Works instantly.......................



answers from Salt Lake City on

I have 3 boys 20, 18, almost 17 and for my boys and even my new neice I used dark karo syrup. I just put a tbls in with their formula and before you know it everything will be flowing smoothly. Good Luck and enjoy this time cuz they grow up way to fast.



answers from Provo on

My son had problems with constipation for awhile when he was little as well and it stinks! The Good Start Natural Cultures I think is the new one with pro-biotics. I never tried that formula (my son was on breast milk and formula and then later just formula) but I did go to a health food store (at the suggestion of my brother-in-law who's a dr)and he told me to buy a bottle of the powdered probiotics. Thankfully the people at the health food store knew exactly what I was talking about and helped me pick out a bottle. I then would get my finger wet and dip it into the powder and my little boy would suck it off (like a fun-dip) I did that twice-a-day at first(usually right before he would eat)and then later was able to cut back to once-a-day. Within a week I saw a difference and he has not had constipation since. (He now doesn't really need it at all.) It's natural and it really helped my little boy. He also loved it because they flavored the powder -- he's tried vanilla and strawberry. The bottles I've seen also come with a little tiny scooper if you want to just put it in their milk.

Stay-at-home mom of one cute little (non-constipated) boy who is now 16 mo.



answers from Salt Lake City on

I have a six month old son who is on soy milk, has been since birth. He has sever constiption because of this. I like you have tried every thing. Finally a friend of mine told me to give him 4oz water with a table spoon full of dark caro syrup in his bottle 1 time dayly. I spoke with His Dr and he said it would be ok. Now my son has no issues with this he goes just fine, and he is a happier little boy.



answers from Madison on

I went through this with my daughter. we used to suppliment her with low iron formula. most drs are against it because the babies need the iron. but well as any pregnant mommy knows, iron causes constipation (just remember the prenatal vitamins) 1 or 2 bottles of the low iron usually got her back on track. also ...the if you are not comfortable with that you can put a capful of mineral oil (you can buy it by the laxatives at walgreens) in his bottle. it helps.
my daugthers bms were so hard she had hemmoroids by the time she was 6 months old.



answers from Benton Harbor on

One of my sons was the same way. The doc said to put Karo in every bottle, it stays in their gut and won't cause them to ingest extra calories but will help immensely, I promise! I know it sounds like an old fashioned home remedy, but it really worked for us. Run it by your doc, first of course!



answers from Fargo on

Both of my girls had issues with that too. We use the enfamil formula with less lactose. We have had to use a small amount of karo syrup in her bottles and even have used some prune juice too. Both of these really helped a lot. The good start brand seemed really hard on my girls.

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