Baby Constipation Remedy: How To Help A Newborn Poop

Baby Constipation Remedy: How To Help A Newborn Poop

healthPublished August 17, 2018 Opinion


Affiliate links included. Opinions are our own. Your purchase may earn us a commission, supporting free content. Visit our Chick Picks Shop for more recommended products we love! ❤️

When a baby is constipated, it is rough for them and rough for the parents who want to help but aren’t sure how. This can feel overwhelming, especially when a baby is upset and unsettled. I struggled with my youngest son, who was often constipated. I found myself researching everything possible to find some relief for him and, honestly, us as well. It’s important to know that constipation in babies is common and had nothing to do with anything I did wrong. It comes with hitting certain milestones in their growth. I learned the signs and triggers of constipation and how to prevent instead of just alleviating the symptoms.

Normal Stool and Bowel Patterns

A breastfed newborn’s “textbook normal” stool is runny, soft (like an applesauce consistency), stringy, and varies in color. It is normal for a breastfed baby to go as often as after every feeding or as little as once per week.

baby poop
Image via

A formula-fed baby’s normal stool is like a soft paste but can be runny and varies in color. They can go as often as 1-3 times a day or once every 2-3 days.

These are all signs of healthy working bowels. If baby’s symptoms are less frequent, then they may be experiencing constipation.

Signs of Constipation in Babies

Some indications your newborn could be constipated include crying, grunting, painful farts, discomfort, loss of appetite, hard belly, and going longer than three days without a bowel movement. And when they do go, it is hard, dry, or uncomfortable for them to pass.

Why My Newborn is Constipated

Something to look for that can potentially cause constipation is starting a new diet, like adding solids, especially rice cereal–it is common for babies to experience some constipation in addition to some dehydration. Formula-fed babies can get constipated if the protein component in the formula doesn’t settle with their bellies; this is, in most cases, why babies end up switching formula brands, so ask your doctor for their recommendation on that!

Some more serious factors could be causing constipation, like hyperthyroidism, botulism, food allergies, or metabolic disorders. These scenarios are more uncommon, but if constipation persists, ask the doctor for their opinion on investigating them further.

Baby Constipation Remedy: How To Help A Newborn Poop

1. A belly massage.

Measure 3 finger-widths below babies belly button down to the lower left side and apply pressure. Press until you feel firmness or a mass, and keep the pressure there for roughly 3 minutes.

If you’re uncomfortable applying pressure, try this infant massage technique:

  • Have your hands in a paddle motion and sweep the palms of your hands on baby’s abdomen, making a scooping stroke downward. Start it from just below the ribs and stop just above the pubic bone.
  • With your fingertips, move your fingers around your baby’s belly button in a circle. Move clockwise to follow the natural path of digestion systems.

2. Bicycle legs.

Lay baby on his back and bicycle his legs forward and backward in a circular motion.

3. Topical Castor Oil

Massage baby’s tummy with castor oil topically while performing a belly massage.

4. Fridababy Windi

While this is marketed as a remedy for gas, the stimulation from the Fridababy Windi will often help a baby to poop! (You may get a few farts out of it too.)

5. Add dark corn syrup to the bottle for formula-fed babies can help.

Start with ¼ tsp per 4 oz of formula. If that doesn’t work, gradually increase it until you get to 1 tsp per 4 oz. Do not do more.

6. Fruit juice like prune, pear, or apple.

If your baby is at least 4 months, you can give certain fruit juices to treat constipation, such as prune, pear, or apple.1 Other fruit juices are not as helpful. Generally, the AAP recommends not giving baby fruit juice until 1 year.2

For babies 4 to 8 months old, you can give 2 to 3 ounces (60 to 120 mL) of 100 percent fruit juice per day.1 For babies 8 to 12 months old, you can give up to 6 ounces (180 mL) of fruit juice.1 Giving fruit juice every day for more than a week or two is not recommended.1

7. If your baby is eating solid foods, try cutting back on constipation-inducing foods like cooked carrots, rice, and bananas.

A good option is to give your baby a belly massage and follow it up with high-fiber foods like pears, prunes, and apples.

8. If your baby is mobile, encourage them to exercise.

Encouraging crawling is a perfect option!

What to Give a Constipated Baby


  • Babies up to 8 weeks should only have 30 ml of cooled boiled water twice daily between morning and evening feeds.
  • Ages 8 weeks to 6 months can have 30-60 ml of cooled boiled water twice a day between the morning and evening feeds.
  • Babies 6 – 12 months can have 60-120 ml of freshly drawn tap water twice daily (read when you can start giving babies water).


  • Sugar is used in constipation remedies because it draws additional fluid into the baby’s bowels to soften a hard stool.
  • To add sugar to a bottle, first, prepare a minimum of 7 oz of water in a bottle with the appropriate amount of infant formula as you usually would. Then add one formula scoop of brown sugar to the bottle and shake it to dissolve the sugar. It will also dissolve better in a warm bottle. For the next 24 hours, you can do this for every other feed. If constipation continues, you can do this for every feed until the baby passes a bowel movement. Between sugar bottles, use the water formula to keep baby hydrated.
  • Once baby passes the stool, reduce the brown sugar bottles to every third, then fourth, then fifth, before stopping it altogether.
  • Do not try these sugar-added bottles for more than two days in a row. This option is for emergencies.


  • Laxatives might be necessary if other options you have tried fail to work. Picking the right one is important because not all laxatives are the same in the way they work. Some laxatives soften the stool or stimulate the contraction of the bowel, whereas others do both, and some also offer additional fiber.


  • A suppository is a medicine in a solid form administered by inserting it into the anus. They are used to treat constipation because they effectively get a bowel movement to pass generally within 15-60 minutes.
  • Glycerin suppositories draw water to the intestines, which encourages a bowel movement. Follow the directions on the package to insert. If used too frequently, this will cause a loss of normal bowel function.

As always, follow up with your doctor to ask more specific questions and rule out anything more serious, but I hope that something on this list is helpful to you and your baby and it gets “things” moving again!

Gestational Hypertension. Mature Male Medical Worker Measuring Arterial Blood Pressure Of Pregnant Black Woman Using Cuff, Patient Having Problems With Tension, Sitting At Table. Health Care Concept

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy: What To Know

Sad Caucasian Girl Trying to Stop Nose Bleeding using Paper Tissue Side

What a Bloody Nose in Kids Means and How To Treat It

Portrait of a sick little child suffering and in pain covering her eye with a hand because of an eye infection

Pink Eye Treatment for Kids

Mother doing head lice cleaning on daughter at home

What To Do If Your Child Has Head Lice

Beautiful young pregnant woman sitting on sofa in her living room and holding medical bottle with medicine pills or nutrition supplements and reading the label

The Importance of Folic Acid for Pregnancy

Doctor woman dressed in medical suit talking in office. Reception and consultation with a doctor.

Why Every Mother Needs To Know About Pelvic Floor Therapy