When a baby's bowel movements become irregular or painful, constipation is often the problem. If you're looking for ways to get your infant's system running smoothly again, here are seven mom-approved remedies our readers recommend.
1. Fiber-Rich Foods
Constipation often occurs when babies begin eating solid foods, especially if their new diet includes a lot of low-fiber foods like rice cereal, bananas, cheese, and cooked carrots. As Cathralynn C. advises, try adding in some foods that are richer in fiber: "If you are feeding rice cereal, move on to another grain or stop altogether. Rice flour is constipating."
2. Switch Formula
Sensitivity to a formula ingredient can also cause baby constipation, so switching formula brands is often a simple solution. Dana D. shares: "We . . . changed the formula we were using to a 'sensitive tummy' kind and he hasn't had any problems at all since then."
3. Prune Juice
Prunes are a natural laxative that can can help relieve constipation. "Prune juice works well for my little one," shares Brenda F., though she wisely cautions to give only a small amount: "No more than an ounce in a day or she gets gassy." Pears, apricots, and peaches can have a similar laxative effect, as Samantha L. shares: "Pear juice works wonders! I used it for my firstborn, she was a preemie, and it cleared her out every time."
4. More Water
Dehydration is another common cause of constipation. As a result, giving water to a formula-fed baby may provide relief. Lisa W. explains: "A good way to prevent it from happening a lot is to give her water often."
5. Leg Bicycles and Baby Massage
"Bicycling" your baby's legs in a pedaling motion and gently massaging her tummy can also help get things moving. Connie G. recalls: "I'd lay her on the floor and do leg crunches, just to get things moving, and a belly massage right along the GI tract."
6. Rectal Stimulation
As Jennifer M. advises, rectal stimulation can also relieve constipation: "Call your pediatrician. They may recommend you taking Vaseline and putting a little on the end of a thermometer and wiggling (it) in her bum. When they told me that... I was like what! Are you serious.. but it worked."
7. Suppositories, Laxatives, and Stool Softeners
While suppositories, stool softeners, and laxatives also relieve baby constipation, they should be used only on recommendation from your pediatrician. As Tanisha H. cautioned, these options can be habit-forming: "If you start to use laxatives and suppositories early if they have a problem with going to the bathroom they can become dependent on them."
In addition to the serious strategies above, we can't help but share Kristen D.'s best tip: "Dress her (in) white! Every time I dress my daughter in white she does a huge explosive poo!"