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Water & Karo Syrup to Help Babies' Constipation

author image Leigh Good
Leigh Good has been writing for magazines and newspapers for more than 10 years. Her work has been published in numerous print and online publications. Good has a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Georgia State University.
Water & Karo Syrup to Help Babies' Constipation
Baby crying with his finger in his mouth Photo Credit: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

When your baby is constipated, you want to do whatever you can to make her feel better. If your infant has trouble passing stools, talk to her pediatrician. Some doctors may suggest giving your infant a small amount of water to help ease the passage of stools. Using corn syrup such as Karo syrup is an old home remedy that doctors no longer recommend. Today's corn syrups do not have the same properties that corn syrup used to have, so they probably are ineffective at relieving your baby's constipation, according to the Mayo Clinic website. In addition, they can be dangerous to babies.

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Newborns who produce hard stools less than once a day are considered to be constipated, especially if the baby strains or cries while having a bowel movement. Your baby's face may become red and he may pull his legs up to his chest while struggling to have a bowel movement if he's constipated. You may notice that his stools are hard and round. A constipated baby's bowel movements may even be streaked with blood.


Some parents used to treat constipation by mixing small amounts of corn syrup into the baby's bottles. However, most doctors now recommend giving plain water instead. Offer your baby between 2 and 4 oz of plain, cool water in a bottle to try and help ease her bowel movements. Use filtered water.


If your baby is under 2 months old, talk to his doctor before using any home treatments, including plain water, for constipation. Don't use a bottle of water as a meal replacement, because your baby needs all of his regular feedings of breast milk or formula in addition to any supplemental water. Giving corn syrup to a baby under 1 year of age could put your child at risk of developing infant botulism, according to the Mayo Clinic website.


Your doctor may recommend giving your constipated baby diluted fruit juice in place of plain water to help ease the passage of stools. Dilute prune or pear juice in water to entice your baby to drink more fluids and soften her stools. Your doctor might suggest that you combine 1 oz of juice with 3 oz of water, and offer the mixture in a bottle to your baby once or twice a day.

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