How to Help a Baby's Bowels

If your baby has hard dry stool or cries when passing a bowel movement, she may be constipated. A baby can go a few days to a week without having a bowel movement and not be constipated if the stools are still coming out soft. From about 3 to 6 weeks, breastfed babies may only have bowel movements once or twice a week, while formula-fed babies usually have one daily, according to Kids Health. Babies are very different, so assess what is normal for your baby and call your doctor if her normal pattern changes.

An unhappy baby standing up in his crib. (Image: ajkkafe/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Lie your baby on his back and push his knees gently towards his chest, then rotate them in a circular motion. If your baby is crawling, encourage him to crawl around a while.

Step 2

Massage your baby's lower tummy. Measure three fingers-width below the belly button and apply firm pressure. Once you feel firmness or a mass, apply gentle pressure for about three minutes.

Step 3

Talk to your doctor about switching brands of formula. Your baby could have a sensitivity or allergy to a particular brand.

Step 4

Give you 2-month-old or older baby 1 oz. of prune juice with 1 oz. of water two times a day. Cut back as the constipation eases.

Step 5

Give pureed prunes or pears to your baby if he is already on solids.

Step 6

Talk to your doctor about suppositories if nothing else is working.

Tip

It's normal for babies to grunt and strain a little when passing a bowel movement as they are lying on their backs and can't use gravity to help their bowels.

Warning

Do not give your baby mineral oil, laxatives or enemas to relieve constipation.

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