Infant Constipation

Normal, healthy infants do not need to have a bowel movement every day. Infants may go up to a week without a bowel movement though breast fed babies may have five to ten “seedy” bowel movements in a day. There is wide variation between children. As long as the stool that is passed is soft, the baby is not constipated regardless of frequency. Constipation means painful bowel movements that are difficult to pass and noted to be large and hard or ball-like in appearance. Remember, some grunting, groaning and fussing is normal and is not always a sign of constipation.

If your 6 to 18 month old infant has difficulty with painful, large, or hard bowel movements usually diet changes are indicated. Baby foods can constipate a child due to little non-digestible residue. Foods that contain non-digestible material such as vegetables (except squash and carrots) and fruits (especially prunes) will increase the frequency of bowel movements. Cereals, squash, carrots and meat are the most constipating. Introduction of whole milk is often associated with less frequent, more firm stools.

Refer to our website for information on treating constipation in toddlers and older children.

You may try the following for treating infant constipation:

  • Increase fluid intake by adding additional water in between feeding. One to two ounces twice daily is usually sufficient.
  • Add one teaspoon of dark Kayro syrup to a bottle of formula once or twice daily.
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