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10 Ways to Relieve Baby's Constipation

If your baby seems to be straining, or if her diaper is filled with hard pellets, that’s a sure sign things aren’t moving as they should be. If she has chronic constipation, or if you ever find blood in your baby’s stool, contact a doctor ASAP, as these can be signs of a serious condition.

This gallery is for informational purposes only—always call your pediatrician with any medical questions. That said, check out these tips that moms have used for eons to get baby bowels running smoothly!

1. Increase Water Consumption

a glass of water

Whether your baby is breast or bottle fed, it’s easy to assume she's getting enough water due to a primarily liquid diet. If your baby is showing signs of constipatiopn, try giving her an additional 2-4 ounces (1/4-1/2 cup) of water after each feeding to help bowels flush properly.

2. Offer Fruit Juice

a glass of fruit juice

Prune juice has a natural laxative effect, but pear or apple juices also work well to relieve minor constipation. Most babies quickly develop a preference for juice because of how sweet it is, so only offer full strength juices when your little one is constipated. To avoid gassiness, start slowly with less than 2 ounces of juice after feedings.

3. Feed High-Fiber Foods

a bowl of fruit

Bananas, rice cereal, carrots, and cheese are a mainstay of most infant diets--they also tend to have a binding effect on stool. Foods like apricots, pears, prunes, peaches, and plums are better choices to help avoid constipation.

4. Give Your Baby “Bicycle Legs”

a mom rotating her babys legs

Sometimes making your baby’s body move will help get his bowels moving, too. Place your baby on his back in front of you. Lift up his legs and move them in a circular motion to mimic the motions of peddling a bicycle. The movement should help to release some abdominal pressure and get things going in the right direction.

5. Try a Different Brand of Formula

a person dipping a spoon into a tub of baby formula

If your baby gets formula, sometimes a switch is all it takes to relieve constipation. Every baby reacts differently to the ingredients of each type of formula, so try a few brands to find the one your baby tolerates best. Most brands have a low-lactose option, which your baby may tolerate better.

6. Take Your Baby’s Temperature

a thermometer

Rectal stimulation can help your baby’s bowels to move. Use Vaseline to lubricate the tip of a rectal thermometer and insert it into your baby’s bottom. Very gently wiggle JUST the tip a few times before removing it. The stimulation will often cause a bowel movement to occur.

7. Massage Her Tummy

a mom massaging her babys belly

With your baby on her back, place your hand on her belly button. Using a clockwise motion, massage your baby’s tummy in ever bigger circles. Follow your baby’s cues as to how much pressure to use. If she fusses or cries, you’re pressing too hard.

8. Give Him a Warm Bath

a baby receiving a bath

A warm bath will soothe almost anyone. The thought is that the warm water will help your baby relax, allowing his body to let go of what he’s been holding in. When you’re drying him off is also a perfect time to try the tummy massage technique.

9. Use a Glycerin Suppository

a packet of medication

Consult with your doctor regarding exactly how much of a suppository you should use. Depending on your child’s age, size, and how long they’ve been constipated, your doctor may recommend anywhere from ¼ to one whole children's suppository. Glycerin suppositories will typically cause a bowel movement within 15-30 minutes.

10. What Not to Do

a red stop sign

Because babies are small they can quickly become dangerously dehydrated. It is recommended to never use mineral oil, enemas, or stimulant laxatives on your baby.

If none of the previous tips help relieve your baby’s constipation a doctor’s visit is required to rule out any other potentially serious underlying conditions.

 
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