Need Advice for Baby Constipation

Updated on October 06, 2006
J.J. asks from Shawnee, KS
45 answers

I have a 7 month old whom I breast fed only. He had no problem with having a bowell movement. 4 weeks ago I started supplimenting with Similac and 3 weeks ago added cereal and jar foods to his diet and completely stopped breast feeding. Now my son will go all week without pooping and when he finally does, he screams/cries in pain and passes a few REAL hard tarry looking stools. I gave him 2 ounces of water and 2 ounces of prune juice and he went all over the place. Should I keep doing this to regulate his system? Does anyone have any advice for constipation?????

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So What Happened?

WOW!!! Thank you to everyone who gave me advice. I have been doing the juice and water mixture along with adding a lot of pears, plums and peas, more fruit and veggie jar foods to his diet and that's seems to be making a big difference. If he goes more than 3-4 days without a stool, I have been adding karo syrup to his formula and that seems to work wonders. I just don't want to overdo it. Thanks again for eveyone's help-it has made a difference...things are much better!!!!!!

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C.G.

answers from Wichita on

Hey there J.! I had this problem with my son when he was that age, and I had to give him Kayro Syrup the light kind! I had to put a couple of TBSP in his bottle and that should help! Good Luck!

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A.

answers from Kansas City on

I would say either give him less prune juice (2 oz. 1 water to 1 oz. prune juice) or try Karo syrup instead. With my youngest nothing worked except Kristalose which is a prescription powder that goes into the bottle.
Good Luck!

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J.T.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Add fruits and vegatables to his diet to help with his bowel movements it might help with not having it all over the place and give him the water and prune juice occasionally when he has problems with it that way you aren't cleaning up a big mess

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M.W.

answers from Kansas City on

I give my boy the Gerber Prunes (baby food isle) about every other day. It helps to keep things regular!

For when he is screaming and in the middle of a hard poop situation, I used the baby supository called Fleet. You can buy them at the grocery store and they are natural gylerine. It helps them pass the hard stuff.

Hope it gets better -- It will!

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C.G.

answers from Decatur on

I had a similar problem with my daughter not going frequently enough. I called her doctor, and they told me to give her pedialyte. They told me to buy the popsicles, but not freeze them, that it was just the right amount to feed her at a time. That way the pedialyte would not go bad either. Hope everything works out ok.

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C.B.

answers from Wichita on

My baby has always been both breastfed and formula fed- she wouldn't nurse much during the first week or so we had no choice but to give her formula and once she started to nurse, she ate so much that there was barely any time to pump. Our doctor said there was no problem in supplementing with formula. Anyway, she had spells of constipation- our doctor said we could give her the medicine drops or we could use half of a baby suppository. The drops work sometimes within a few hours, sometimes not for several hours- like overnight. The suppositories work within a few minutes.

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L.M.

answers from Tulsa on

Milk of Magnesia! My daughter just takes a tea spoon when I notice she is not so regular or her stool is dry. (Now ever few weeks but for a while it was every few days) She will drink it off the spoon so doesn't mind the taste (we buy rasberry or cherry). We were in the ER thinking she had a blockage when she was 10 months... Juice didn't work for her but if it does, just figure out what dose will keep him regulary without it being extreme but get some Milk of Magnesia to keep on hand. Also Mini wheats (soggy with milk) help her. Good luck!

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T.

answers from St. Louis on

My first two had the same problem. I am now breastfeeding my 3rd (3 months old). I found that the iron in the formula was what made their stools hard. Try Enfamil low iron, or the Enfamil lactose-free worked just as well. The Karo syrup has worked for me also. If you find that your baby is just constipated, trying to go but can't get it out, try taking a rectal temp. It gives them the sensation to push, and works everytime.

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B.

answers from Kansas City on

Pear juice, prune juice is too harsh. Also try oatmeal cereal. Rice tends to constipate. If the oatmeal makes bm to runny try mixed grain.

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K.

answers from St. Louis on

I believe Similac has quite a bit of iron in it which can cause constipation. You might want to check with your doctor to see if there is a substitute for you. My daughter had similar issues and our pediatrician suggested a teaspoon of mineral oil be given daily. It is tasteless, but of course, kind of greasy. My daughter didn't have a problem taking it, but other children might not like the consistency. It did the trick for us. It will sometimes seap out in their undies if too much mineral oil is given. You definitely need to check with your pediatrician to see if this is an option for you. I think my daughter was at least 18 months when we tried the mineral oil.

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N.D.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi J.,

When my son was an infant he had the same problem. I ended up having to switch him to Similac Soy formula to help his stomache. It helped him alot & he was having bowel movements regularly. His doctor told me that some infants systems are very sensative & can't handle regular formula & does cause them to back up with severe stomache pain. As he got older, he was able to drink regular milk & still does without any problems. Hope this helps. Keep us informed.

N.

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L.S.

answers from Kansas City on

My baby did the same thing when I switched him from breastmilk to Enfamil. I wound up switching to the low iron formula, and that worked. Occasionally I'll have to give him prunes, or prune juice. Also, on extreme occasions, the Little Tummy's Laxative Drops work well. It is supposed to taste like chocolate, and my baby has never refused them.

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T.C.

answers from St. Louis on

J.
Try Similac Lactose Free. It doesn't have the iron that the regular Similac has that increases the constipation from starting foods. Check with your pediatrician but this worked miracles for my two littlest ones (2 and 13 months now). The prune juice just tears up their little bellies if you use it for too long. Best of luck!

T.

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A.

answers from St. Louis on

I have always added just a little Karo syrup(the white syrup) to their bottles. Dont know how it makes them go but it helps.

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J.

answers from Tulsa on

I have found the prune juice to be a little too much for my poor constipated guy...actually, I ended up going to the doctor and he is on a prescription called murilax now (it is a godsend). Mine would go for a week and then do the same thing you are explaining. It is painful for them (and us to endure). You might want to try putting a little bit of dark Karo syrup in his bottles and see if that helps and switch to pear juice instead of prune. The murilax is great though. I am not a big advocate for putting babies on anything unnatural, but after trying EVERYTHING under the sun, I resorted to that and now mine goes everyday (which is nothing short of a miracle)....I have also heard that you could use enzymes in his bottles....something to check into at Wild Oats maybe. Hope this helps.

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S.

answers from Peoria on

Karo syrup, and I have to think here just a minute (my "baby" is now 6).

D = Dark Karo for treating Diareahha
L = Light (clear) Karo for treating Loose stools

Just mix a spoonful into some water and give in a bottle...I think this is in Dr Spock incase you want to check the ratios.

Also try apple juice (can be diluted with water). That always made my kids go.

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A.H.

answers from Kansas City on

My son is going through the same problem, and I've been giving him a bottle with half apple juice, half water in between feedings. That seems to help with getting him to have a bowell movement.

I know it seems like your son is always ingesting something, but he needs to poop. And, unless you want to use glycerin suppositories, you need to keep giving him juice and water.

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J.N.

answers from Kansas City on

HI! I had this same exact problem with my 4 month old. My son was very constipated and did not have a bowel movement for more than 3 days and that is when I decided to call his pediatrician. She told me that I should give him prune or apple juice, just like you did, until he is regular. His pediatrician told me to use baby prune juice or just dilute regular prune juice. She also said just give him a couple of ounces whenever he is constipated. I think you are doing the right thing. Also, is your baby is fussy because of trying to pass the bowel movement try 'Gripe Water', it is sold at Hy-Vee in the baby section or Mylicon Gas drops. Hope this helps!

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T.F.

answers from St. Louis on

I have a 9-month old who started having some constipation when we introduced more table foods. We did a more gradual cahnge in her diet, and I do still breastfeed her, but I would suggest adding more fruits and vegetables. You may want to go back to some breast milk if that's an option for you. Hope this helps.
T.

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M.H.

answers from Tulsa on

I would continue to assist him for a while until his system aclimates to the new foods. Prune juice, KARO syrup (worked great for both of my kids), other forms of fiber (graham crackers, apple juice, ect...)

Good Luck
M. H.

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A.K.

answers from Tulsa on

a tablespoon of DARK kyro syrup mix in formula....it's a great way to aid babies..and they love it....slowly wean him down to lower amounts of kyro as his body adjustes..............people are saying light syrup but it most certainly is only the DARK kind,...three kids and it never failed....and for loose stools boil blackberries and give the juice to the baby(works with all ages),,,

M.G.

answers from Dallas on

Hi J.,
I had a similar problem with my infant. I strictly breast fed for the first 8 months, then when I started on formula she became very constipated and I literally had to help her push out a bowel movement. It turned out to be the formula I was using. If you are using a high iron formula or a soy product, that might be your culprit. I was also told to give prune juice but opted not to. Instead, I just up her water intake.
I hope this helps.
M. G.
I am 33 and have five children ages 15, 14, 11, 6 and 2.

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K.G.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.,

Usually, when solids are introduced babies go through a little bout of constipation, but that's normal. They can't drink milk and formula forever, so don't worry.

My oldest was born with constipation. It had nothing to do with what he drank or ate.

I used about a tablespoon of DARK KARO SYRUP in his bottle, for three bottles a day (one in morning, one in afternoon, one before bed). Karo Syrup is an all natural product that you can find in the pancake syrup aisle, and I found out about it because Mom's of past generations passed the secret down to me. It worked like a charm! (Also, don't buy Light Karo Syrup, it must be Dark).

I can't guarantee this will work for your child, I just know that it worked for mine.

Good luck!
Kathy

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B.E.

answers from Tulsa on

Hi J., Have a ? Does the similac have iron in it? If it does, try formula without iron or try soy formula. Also, what kind of foods are you feeding him? Rice cereal is good, mixed with applesauce. No, its not good he goes so long without having a bowel movement.When you give him water you can put a teaspoon of light corn syrup to every 4 oz to 6 ozs.It will help his bowels to move naturally. If you give him prune juice,I would dilute it. Do you think he would like apple or pear juice? I used to dilute all the juices, at least for awhile.Why did you stop breastfeeding? If this problem presist, talk to your doctor. Good Luck

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J.H.

answers from Tulsa on

Same thing happened with my daughter. It's totally sad, I know. I'm going with L on this one--check out "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yaron. You can get it used on amazon or e-bay for a few bucks, or at the bookstore if you don't want to wait. And skip on the bananas! With my baby girl, I just gave her 2 oz of apple or prune juice evry morning, then increased it to 4 oz when she turned 1. The sugar in the juice pulls water into the bowles and helps them out. But no more than 4 oz a day. And don't dilute it. Also, during meals, I always gave strait water. The formula can also cause it, just b/c it's new and her body isn't used to it. Hang in there, it does get better!

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L.A.

answers from Kansas City on

I know the nurses at the pedes office where I work, always recommend the Karo syrup in the bottle first. I think it's about a tablespoon of dark Karo in a bottle. Seems to do the trick!

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O.L.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi J....my baby is three months old and I have been bottle feeding since birth. He went through the same thing with the constipation and tarry looking stools and screaming. What worked was (and this is from my doctor) using Mylanta Supreme. 3 tsp a day for a few weeks. Also we changed formula. We were using Enfimal Lipil. Now we use Nestle Good Start. He has been doing very well and we have been off the Mylanta for about a month. Make sure it's Supreme. Hope this helps!

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C.

answers from Kansas City on

My little boy, Caden has had constipation issues as well. He is 3yrs old now and doing much better, although he has an occational spell. It was frustrating cause the doctors at first didn't take me seriously but they will give you lots of ideas if you keep prodding them. And don't be scared to do a little experimenting with his diet (especially the older he gets) to find out what helps and what hinders. Definately keep a journal/calendar of what you do different everyday and when he poops. We have our son on soy milk which as REALLY helped. Maybe you could get a lactose free formula? (I'm not convinced its the lactose that causes the constipation but its worth a try) We also give Caden metamusal (or any fiber supplement) if he doesn't poop in 2 days. I give him about 1/2 tsp. mixed in with water and juice. And I do this once a day until he starts pooping every day again. This really does the trick, although it takes a couple of days so you need to start before your little guy is constipated. My doctor said this wouldn't do any harm since its just fiber.
Other short term solutions, which aren't always pleasent:

medicine called "Little Tummies" buy at any walmart, osco, ect. Its suppose to be a natural laxative

put vasoline on your pinky finger and gently lubricate the opening so it won't hurt as much to poop.

glycerol suppositories buy at any walmart, osco, ect. (may need to ask the pharmisist to help you find them though

warm baths with epeson salt in the water.

prune juice & other juices (be aware though that some sugars in juice can actually cause constipation working against you)

I hope this helps. I know it broke my heart every time Caden couldn't go. I always felt helpless. Good luck!

Christina Bradshaw

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G.K.

answers from Kansas City on

HI J., I ama naturopathic doctor and for babies with constipation, the best thing that I have seen to help is first making sure they are hydrated, adding a little extra water to formula helps. Also using a powder form of a probiotic called bifidobacterium works well. Approximately 1/4 tsp in each bottle is all that is needed. This bacteria should be refridgerated and if you cannot find it, you can read about it on my site at www.drgretchen.meta-ehealth.com and look for BifoViden ID. You can open up the capsules to put the powder in the baby's liquid. This has always worked for my two children a well with keeping their bowels moving regularly. Hope this helps you and your little one.
G.
[email protected]____.com

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L.F.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Go back to breastfeeding if you can! It sounds like the baby's stomach and intestines are not ready to do all this other stuff.

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A.B.

answers from St. Louis on

Since he's gone a little longer than average to start solid foods, his body just probably needs some time to get used to it. In the past, I've given my son apple juice for constipation, which I think is gentler than prune juice. I've also been told to try a soak of baking soda in the bathtub (if his bm gets stuck), but I haven't tried it myself.
Good luck.

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A.W.

answers from Topeka on

My daughter had this problem for about four or five months and then she started to do just fine. The doctor told me to put dark brown sugar in her bottle and exercise her legs. Also I learned from another mother that if you rub their back or stomach in a crescent shape then it also helps. I also had to use suppositories a couple of times.

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L.C.

answers from St. Louis on

J.,
My son is now thirteen but if I remember correctly when he had problems with a bm, they told me to use Kero syrup(spelling?) That is to be put in their bottle..you would have to read the bottle or ask your doctor how much! I hope this helps! :)

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D.W.

answers from Kansas City on

J.,
Gerber makes babyfood prunes andplums. Those two things are great for cleaning out the system. Make sure he is staying hydrated. Stay away from the bananas too. Best Wishes!
D.

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R.

answers from Oklahoma City on

We had the same problem when my daughter was 3 weeks old. I stoped nurseing because she wouldn't nurse and went to the hospital for dyhydration. After she was off breast milk she wouldn't poop with out screaming like crazy. I called her doctor and he told me to use apple juice. 1 oz in her 6 oz bottle. That actually didn't work for her so we had to go to a specialist and they put her on Lactulose from when she was 3 months till she was 8 months and then she just figured it out. Since it sounds like the juice is working I would just keep doing that untill it doesn't work any more. You might try less at a time.

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J.T.

answers from Kansas City on

My son had this problem after I started him on formula also. A nurse whe are friends with told us to try magnesium. It is sold at drug stores, and usually is cherry flavored.We just gave him a little magnesium in a medicine dropper. Worked like a charm until he got used to the formula.

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M.Y.

answers from Las Vegas on

J.. I have one word for you...MyraLax. It worked miracles for my daughter when she fought constipation as a baby. It dissolves in anything with no taste and works! Ask your doctor about it; it requires a prescription.
All the best,
M.

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L.

answers from St. Louis on

My first son (now 5) had a constipation problem until he was about 4 year old. It was a very frustrating problem.
At 3 months old he developed the problem when I switched him from breastmilk to regular Similac. It helped a lot when I mixed 1/2 regular Similac with 1/2 low iron Similac. (FYI - I do remember having a real problem finding the low iron formula at the stores. It was being taken off the shelves because some people were giving JUST this to their babies, which isn't good as it doesn't have enough iron in it alone.)

At a year when he moved on to whole cow's milk I incorporated prune juice and prunes into his diet; just enough to make him somewhat regular. Be careful not give him so much that it takes the place of the important liquids like milk and water. Water is very important for proper bowel function.

Then, when he was two and refused to eat prunes and drink prune juice (gotta love the 2 year olds!) I had to limit the constipating foods like pasta, white breads, bananas, cheese and peanut butter. He would hold his bowel movement in so much that his bowels temporarily 'forgot' how to recognize the signs of having to go. Then we had to resort to suppositories. When that just became to tramatic for us, the Dr recommended an over-the-counter mineral oil surfactant called Kondramel (sp?) that I would mix into his milk once per day.

Well, of course at 3 when he figured out I was tricking him into taking the mineral oil he refused to drink the milk, so I stopped adding it. I was back to making sure his diet was low in constipating foods and that he drank a lot of water. We struggled with potty training (he associated the toilet with pain) until he turned 4 years old.

Fortunately, he will turn 5 next month and has absolutely no trouble with bed wetting or voluntarily having bowel movements.

Hopefully, this is only a temporary thing with your child and you won't have the drama we went through. It was tough not to scold my son for purposely withholding, but I had to just be patient and do whatever I could to relieve his pain.

Hope this information helps. Good luck! Call me after 5 pm any night if you need the exact spelling of the Kondramel. ###-###-####

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C.T.

answers from Kansas City on

unfortunately this is what happens when you mix formula into your baby's system. why did you need to supplement? was it your choice? if you can, i would exclusively breastfeed for at least the 1st year. introducing too many things too soon to his sensitive system can wreak havoc on him. you should wait at least 2 weeks before introducing each new thing. i would go back to breastfeeding and drop the similac.

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D.V.

answers from St. Louis on

Karo Syrup (dark) Had to do this with my daughter and it works. I would check with your Pediatrician to verify the exact amount to add. I think it's one tsp. for every ounce. The cereal and jar foods is an adjustment to his system. Once he gets used to it, it'll all go back to normal.

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R.C.

answers from Kansas City on

Corn syrup in the water or milk. Also your pediatrician can prescide Glycolax. That is what my son takes.

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L.

answers from Kansas City on

Good for you for breastfeeding so long! This is a tricky period when you begin introducing solid food to your baby, regardless of whether you use formula or breastfeed. I really recommend a book called "Super Baby Food" it tells you all about the different fruits and veggies and how they effect your baby.

Here are some basics to avoid when your baby is constipated, or to use if your baby has diahrea: BRAT diet - bananas, rice cereal, applesauce and toast

Here are some basics to use when your baby is constipated or to avoid when your baby has diahrea: Basically all the "p" foods - prunes, pears, etc. You can easily mix them into his rice cereal.

Also, be careful not to make cereal too thick. You can also exercise your baby's legs like a bicycle when he's laying on the floor on his back, to help ease discomfort and get things moving.

If your baby continues to have painful BMs, see your pediatrician. Good luck!

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D.H.

answers from St. Louis on

I used to mix the cereal with A small amount of apple juice, it seemed to work. You can probably use prune juice as well. You will have to experiment and make sure you dont give him too much so his stools dont get too runny!

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M.B.

answers from Kansas City on

My daughter went through the same thing when we started her on cereal and food. We were told to keep her on Oatmeal cereal. I used to add a little Gerber prune juice to the cereal along with the bottle. It also helped to put some Dark Karo syrup in her bottle...about 1 tsp to 6oz of formula. Hope this helps!

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S.P.

answers from Springfield on

I've had 3 children who all would have constipation issues after moving to formula from breast milk. They are 12, 6 and 4 now. While on formala I managed this by using Carnation Good Start formula (whey protein), not soy. I also used very little cereal (just a filler anyway - look at the label - little to no fiber) and more fruits and veggies (fiber). I steered clear of baby food bananas too. I would water down juice with apple/cherry, but prune is fine too. I'm sure he went all over the place because he finally passed "the plug" so to speak and everything behind it in the bowel came right along with it. If you want anymore info, feel free to contact me personally. S.

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