What's a mama to do when baby hasn't pooped in a while? Here, we’ll talk about what causes baby constipation, offer some safe, natural ways to give your little one relief, and explain when it might be time to call the doctor.

Baby Constipation: Everything You Need to Know

Our bodies often give us clues as to our overall health. Regular and natural pooping indicates that we’re probably getting enough fiber and have a healthy diet. So when your baby becomes constipated, it’s a clear sign that something is wrong.

What Causes Constipation in Babies?

Whether or not baby is eating solid, exclusively breastfeeding or drinking formula, constipation in babies all boils down to diet.

Baby’s diet

If baby is eating too many constipation causing solids or becomes dehydrated, constipation is the likely result. Or sometimes baby might not have been ready for solids, and constipation could be the result. Try easing back on solids and upping your breastfeeding.

Mom’s diet

If baby’s diet isn’t an issue, mama’s diet could be the culprit. It’s not uncommon for baby to have an allergy (most often cow’s milk) to something that you’re eating. Talk to a lactation consultant about trying an elimination diet.

➜ Here’s more info on the causes of constipation in babies

Signs of Constipation in Babies

Our babies may not be able to talk yet, but if we learn to read the signs, they sure can tell us a lot.

Here are some of the signs of constipation in babies:

  • Sudden change in bowel movements
  • Refusal to eat
  • Firm belly
  • Hard and dry poop
  • Blood in their stool (if you notice blood, call your pediatrician immediately)

➜ Here’s more info on the signs of constipation in babies.

Natural Remedies for Constipation in Babies

Before reaching for a stool softener or another OTC solution that contains preservatives and other yucky ingredients, try a natural remedy:

  • Address baby’s gut directly. Try a probiotic or switching up their diet.
  • Use homeopathic remedies. A pilule under the tongue or crushed in breastmilk or purees can clear constipation quickly, but check with your pediatrician first.
  • Try hands-on tricks, like a warm bath with Epsom salts or baby massage.

➜ Here’s more info on on constipation remedies for babies.

Preventing Constipation in Babies

Though constipation is very treatable, there is one big dietary component that can help prevent constipation in the first place.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: When baby is dehydrated, the risk of constipation increases. Breastfeed on demand and give the proper amount of formula. Once baby starts eating solids, continue supplementing with breastmilk or formula. You can also give baby a few ounces of water each day.

When to Call a Doctor

If you’ve exhausted all of these options and haven’t found a way to relieve baby’s constipation, you may be wondering what to do next.

It’s important to call your child’s pediatrician if baby isn’t eating, stops producing wet diapers, or has blood in her stool. If baby is younger than four months of age, call the doctor if baby has hard or pebble-like stool or hasn’t had a bowel movement within 24 hours.

  1. Yes! What mama’s eating sure makes a world of difference:) Mama’s digestion takes time to strengthen after birth and she needs warm, soupy and oily foods to ensure good digestion and elimination for her and baby. Also, warm oil baby massage works wonders for constipation and has a laundry list of benefits for both baby and caregiver 🙂
    In Ayurveda (the natural medical system from India) it is said that the two most important gifts you can give to your baby (for a healthy life) are high quality breast milk and daily warm oil massage.

    • What kind of oil is best for baby massage? And are there any essential oils that would be safe to add a drop or two to the tummy massage oil?

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About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 75,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

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