Constipation is a common problem with infants and babies, but sometimes it gets worse and can cause the parents sleepless nights when the baby can't stop crying. What makes it worse is that it is difficult to understand what an infant is suffering when they cry, especially for first-time parents. Apart from visiting the doctor when your baby's constipation is severe, you need to do all you can to ensure you understand his/her bowel movements such as how it should look, how frequent it should happen, and when it is normal or abnormal, etc.

It is usual for babies to take a long time between bowel movements. However, if your baby takes more than two or three days without a bowel movement, you should seek medical intervention. The pediatrician will recommend baby constipation relief remedies. Here are some of the indicators your baby has constipation problems.

Less frequent bowel movements.
Signs of pain when the baby is passing stool. The baby may cry or arch the back when passing the stool.
Hard bowel movements.
Consistent clay-like stool.
A hard belly.
Hard pellet stool.
Blood signs in the stool.
Lack of appetite.
Excessive crying and lack of sleep even after feeding the baby.

The signs of constipation in babies vary from one baby to another. in most cases, if the baby is breastfeeding well, he/she will pass a soft stool that is peanut butter-like without any problem and as frequently as possible. But, formulae babies will pass stool more often than breastfed babies.

The most common indicator of constipation in babies is a hard stool before the introduction of solid foods. But, if the baby is 3-6weeks old, he/she may pass a solid or soft stool once a week. Note that your baby's stool will depend on their diet. 

When you introduce cow’s milk or any other type of formulae to the baby used to breastmilk, chances are, they will experience constipation. Another common period they are prone to constipation is when you introduce solid food to your baby’s diet or during weaning.

There are home remedies you can use to relieve your baby of constipation. They include:

Dietary changes

Change mom’s diet

Your work is to monitor your baby's stool to identify any changes or signs that indicate constipation as a parent. As earlier mentioned, constipation in babies will differ depending on your baby's diet and age. If you are breastfeeding your baby, you must monitor the foods you eat. Chances are, some of the foods you are eating may be affecting the baby through the breastmilk, causing constipation. Ensure you monitor when your baby experiences constipation and try to change your diet. Although that may not be the cause, it involves trial and error in identifying the dietary changes that could work well with babies.

Change formulae

For a formula feeding baby, you can try changing the formula while observing any changes. Formulas are not always the same since the milk proteins may not be the same. Some formulas contain partially hydrolyzed proteins, while others are chopped down. Involve your pediatrician to identify which formula is best for your baby.

Baby food

If you have started weaning your baby, feed your him/her with fiber-rich foods such as:

Whole-grain foods such as oatmeal.
Pureed pears or prunes.
Skinless apples.
Fiber-rich vegetables such as broccoli.


Although infants and babies do not need supplemental fluids since they are breastfeeding or taking the formula, if your baby is continuously constipating, they may be dehydrated.

You can give your baby a small amount of extra water by adding it to some fruit juice or the baby's diet if they are 2-4 or more months old and still constipating.

Fruit juice

If your baby is not yet in solid foods, some fruit juice could help ease constipation. Apple-prune, grape juice, or an ounce of prune may be useful. The juices contain sorbitol, a sweetener that also acts as a laxative. Remember to add some water to the juices. You can start with around 60-120milimeters as you gradually monitor to know if the baby needs more juice or less. But do not give your baby fruit juice without asking the doctor first. 


Just like adults, exercises can help relieve the baby of constipation symptoms and improve bowel movement. Even when they can’t walk or crawl, you can exercise their bodies. Let your baby lie flat on their back and exercise their little legs in a bicycle like movements. It stimulates the baby's digestive system and causes a contraction of the intestinal muscles, thus relieving constipation.

Soft massage

Gentle or massage helps relieve constipation in babies. Softly massage the belly in circular movements near the navel as you slowly move away from the center. You can also walk fingers around the baby's navel in circular patterns.  Another way of giving your baby a soft massage is by holding their feet together and pushing them gently towards the belly. Or, using a fingertip to stroke the ribcage down towards the belly button. Such massages stimulate the stomach and encourage the system to pass stool. 

A warm bath

Putting your baby in a warm bath helps relieve constipation by relaxing the abdominal muscles to help them stop straining when passing stool. It also reduces the discomfort associated with constipation.

A rectal temperature

Taking a rectal temperature of your baby with a clean and lubricated thermometer can help them pass stool; however, you must first consult with the pediatrician. This method can work or even make constipation worse. The baby may start relying on help to pass stool or associate bowel movement with pain, causing them to cry every time they want to do it or during the process. 

Other interventions

If your baby has been crying and cannot pass stool for more than three days, the pediatrician will recommend a glycerol suppository that softens the stool to help them pass it. However, it is for occasional use, and you should consult with the doctor first.  

Do not use mineral oil, laxative, and enemas to stimulate a baby's stool or ease an infant's constipation unless the pediatrician prescribes it.


If the infant’s constipation worsens or the baby starts experiencing other problems such as vomiting or general body weakness, you should immediately seek medical intervention.