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How to treat constipation in newborn babies

Updated on September 21, 2010

Infant babies and Constipation

As a mother of a 2-year old, I have dealt with constipation in babies many times and have treated it at home quite succesfully. During the process of treating my son's constipation, I have learnt a lot about constipation, its causes and treatments, regulating bowel movements by reading a lot, researching online and talking to doctors. Many newborn babies usually have their first bowel movement within 24 hours after they are born. Newborn babies will pass a thick greenish black like stool called meconium in the first 24 to 36 hours after they are born. After the first few days, the poop will be yellowish-orange in color and grainy in composition. If the baby does not have a bowel movement in like 3 or more days, or if there is any blood in the stool, the baby may be constipated. Consult your doctor right away to treat constipation in your infant baby.


Constipation in newborn baby
Constipation in newborn baby

As the baby grows older, you know the pattern of their bowel movements and can detect any future constipation. If you notice the stool to be very dry and hard like pebble during a bowel movement, your baby may be constipated. If your baby has infrequent bowel movements like once in 2 or 3 days or if the baby grunts or strains a lot during bowel movement, it does not necessarily mean they are constipated. The grunting and struggling would go away after the baby stretches and loosens the anus muscles and has had many bowel movements. The consistency and number of stools varies from baby to baby. Some may have 3 or 5 stools a day or one bowel movement after every feeding. Some may have stools once every two days.

How to detect baby constipation

1. For newborn babies, stools less than once a day with straining and difficulty to pass can be a sign of constipation.

2. Babies who pass dry, hard pebble like stools and pain during a bowel movement.

3. Some babies pull their legs up on abdomen when passing stool, even do grunting and it will turn babies face into red.

4. Abdominal discomfort along with hard and infrequent stools.


How to treat constipation in newborn babies


1. You can try giving one ounce of diluted prune juice once daily to treat your baby's constipation. Always consult with your pediatrician first.

2. You can give foods that are high in fiber such as prunes, apricots, pears, peaches, peas and plums.

3. Sometimes juices like apple and prune juice is helpful to relieve constipation in your infant.

4. Tummy baby massage: You can massage your baby's stomach by placing your hands at babys belly button and massage in a circular motion. You should continue if the baby enjoys the massage and is comfortable and relaxed. This will help the baby have a happy bowel movement.

5. Warm bath: Sometimes a warm bath can make the baby relaxed and help the stool to pass more easily. After you bath the baby, apply some baby oil or cream like vaseline around the outside of the baby's anus. Always ask your baby's doctor first before applying.

6. Bicycle exercise: You can place your baby on its back and hold the legs and turn them in a quick cycling motion.

7. Do not forget to give a couple of ounces of warm water to your baby. Always consult with your pediatrician as some may disagree with this method.

Treat constipation in newborn baby
Treat constipation in newborn baby

Possible causes of constipation in babies


1. Introduction of solid foods: Babies may get constipated when they start eating solid foods. This is because their diet is majorly composed of rice cereal, which is low in fiber.

2. Diets low in fiber.

3. Foods such as banana, applesauce, potato and cereals may cause constipation.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Try giving the baby an enema when they are sleeping. Did any moms try that yet?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Try an enema by fleet childrens kind. Or try a warm water enema , also try a tummy massage.!

    • Sunshyne1975 profile image


      6 years ago from California, US

      I think this should be titled something different. Not really for newborns, more for an older infant. But lots of information.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Prunes and apple juice to newborns? Wth

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My son just turn 2 mths I was concern about his constipation my Doctor told to give 2 oz of apple juice & 1 oz of prune juice mix together he only drunk 1oz less than 8 hrs he had 2 large stools. I am very happy with the overall outcomes

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Pelargonium hortorum - this is a well-known constipation remedy in Bulgaria. It's a blooming pot plant ( and Bulgarian mothers swear by it. I know from my mum this is the only thing that helped me when I was a small baby. Take a leaf with a stem on it, wash it carefully with warm water but don't rub it too much so as not to destroy the small hairs that grow on the stem. Insert the stem into the rectum of the baby very very gently as you don't want any bruising, although the stem is so thin that bruising won't occur if you are gentle.

      Do that a few times - the tiny hairs that cover the stem will cause bowel movement and you'll see results.

      Good luck!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      iron can be a cause of baby constipation. if you are breastfeeding check your prenatal vitamin for iron. eliminate taking iron for 2 weeks and see if the constipation clears.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      1 teaspoon of fresh orange mixed into 1oz of colled boiled water. believe me this does work, It helped my son @ 6 weeks old. Advise was given from our HV x

    • profile image

      Rick Basden 

      7 years ago

      The peppermint and water worked great.

    • profile image

      Phil Vandal 

      7 years ago

      Good tips shared here. I hope it will work next time our baby will be constipated


    • MarilynMorrison profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting hub, Thanks for sharing this hub, good job.

    • profile image

      healthy massage chatswood 

      7 years ago

      I'm glad i found your hub, got some awesome ideas after reading your post. Looking forward more of your post.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This was great!! Thanks for sharing...wish I had come across this article months ago when my then six month old son was having trouble. We did EVERYTHING the Dr. recommended, from using the anal thermometer to incite a movement, to diluted juice, and corn syrup and water. We were almost ready to give in to the final suggestion of medication (I HATE medicating my son) when it resolved through repeated use of diluted juice.

      I would like to add that at six weeks, we thought he was constipated and went to the Dr. just to find out that around six weeks newborns bowel movements may change and since he was a breastfed baby, it was absolutely normal for him to go almost two weeks without a bowel movement...totally blew my mind to learn that!

    • avs04739 profile image


      8 years ago from Suzhou, China

      Great tips ,Thanks for sharing it

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      The title said NEWBORN babies. The article is not for newborn babies when you advise to give them oatmeal.

    • profile image

      iram shafi 

      8 years ago

      give one ounce of warm water with pinch of sugar added to it once a day,it really helps.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      These are terrible suggestions. Under "How to treat constipation in newborn babies" it suggests solid foods. I truly hope nobody takes this seriously.

    • profile image

      Mohammed Imran 

      8 years ago

      Hi there, thanks for the tips, will be looking into these as our newborn is currently displaying symptoms of constipation. Great hub -thanks.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Some babies become constipated when they start eating solid foods. Introduce one food at a time so you can recognize which one is causing the problem. Unripe bananas are a conjoint cause of constipation banana skins need to have gone black before giving to babies. Eggs also have a same effect and it should be avoided until baby is 12 months old.

    • profile image

      dr. b k saha. 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for nice tips. I am a pediatric surgeon. I have some suggesion, you may add that is, you put your baby on the potty two times a day at a definite time every day whether bowel moved or not.

    • OTmommy profile image


      9 years ago from Southern USA

      Your hub has very useful information. When my son got constipated, I used infant massage and high fiber fruits, just as you suggest. When these tips don't work, I recommend parents discuss this problem with the child's physician because something more serious could be the problem such as a bowel obstruction or other GI problem.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Informative hub filled with great common sense advice that involves NATURAL solutions to the problem. Thanks.

    • Silverlining profile image

      Tracy Behr 

      9 years ago from Port Elizabeth

      Very good hub, lots of helpful info! ;-) My little one also had bad constipation, lots and lots of yoghurt is all that helped his tummy!

      Here is my hub on why babies cry:

    • anitariley65 profile image


      10 years ago from Little Town Ohio

      Both of my girls had colic very bad. One day a neighbor friend came over to help me out because I was exhausted and stressed. It was around christmas time and she took a candy cane, broke it in half, and put it in a bottle of warm water. The peppermint calmed her within minutes, and the water (which she drank with open arms) helped her bowels to move. The gas subsided and I finally had a good nights sleep. This hub is great!

    • moonloh profile image


      10 years ago from Singapore

      Hi Mom,

      You have great tips here and I grab some of your ideas for my 2yrs olf BabyMoon.. =)

    • profile image

      Johnnie Brooks 

      10 years ago

      thanks for the great information. My little girls aren't experiencing constipation at this time but this site offered great ideas for future"complications!"....thanks

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I tried a series of 3 things, hot water bottle on his back, the teaspoon of brown sugar and 2 ounces of water + rubbing his back/butt no diaper with him on his stomach the series of methods really seemed to help him settle enough to sleep.

    • jim10 profile image


      10 years ago from ma

      Our newest son got very constipated. The doctor suggested corn syrup which I couldn't believe but it did work very well. However considering how bad it is for you I wish I had seen some of these suggestions first. The warm water did help but never really enough. We eventually learned it was the formula so he is now on Nutramigin.


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