How Can I Tell if My Baby Is Constipated?

Print this page Bookmark and Share
Parents

It seems like my baby has difficulty passing his stool. His face usually turns red and sometimes he grunts or makes other noises. He has bowel movements regularly, but I'm still concerned. Could he be constipated?
- Keisha

It's normal for infants to strain when passing a bowel movement (pooping). Going is more of a challenge for them because they are lying flat, and therefore don't have the forces of gravity to help move things along.

At first, breastfed babies tend go more often than formula-fed babies since breast milk is more easily digested. At around 3-6 weeks of age, though, breastfed babies may start having fewer bowel movements, sometimes only one or two a week. Formula-fed babies usually continue to have daily bowel movements.

As long as the stool remains soft (regardless of how frequent the bowel movements are or if there is straining), your baby probably is not constipated.

Babies who cry when passing a bowel movement or have hard or pebble-like stool might be constipated. If you think your baby's constipated, talk to your doctor, who may recommend giving your baby a little extra water or 100% fruit juice to soften hard stool. Never give a baby laxatives, suppositories, or enemas unless instructed to by a doctor.

If your baby's symptoms do not improve or if he has signs of illness like vomiting, fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, or blood in the stool, call your doctor right away.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014



Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAAP Pediatric Referral Department Use this website to find a pediatrician in your area or to find general health information for parents from birth through age 21.
Web SiteZero to Three Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization that promotes the health and development of infants and toddlers.


Related Articles

Your Child's Checkup: 3 to 5 Days Find out what this doctor's checkup will involve a few days after your baby is born.
Diapering Your Baby Babies may use up to 10 diapers a day! Get the basics on how to diaper like a pro.
Constipation Constipation is a very common problem among kids, and it usually occurs because a child's diet doesn't include enough fluids and fiber. In most cases, simple changes can help kids go.
Your Child's Checkup: 2 Months Find out what this doctor's visit will involve and what your baby might be doing by the second month.
Feeding Your 1- to 3-Month-Old Whether you've chosen to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, your infant will let you know when it's time to eat.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com



 

Upcoming Events

Feel free to bring a covered dish to share

Car Seat Safety Check

For a fun night of playing games and having a good time, families are encouraged to bring any board games, card games or other fun games to play. Pizza and beverages provided. Feel free to bring a snack or dessert to share.

Free event for anyone affected by type 1 diabetes in southern Indiana, southern Ohio and northern Kentucky.

View full event calendarView full event calendar

Health and Safety

Your child's health and safety is our top priority

Accreditations

The Children's Medical Center of Dayton Dayton Children's
The Right Care for the Right Reasons

One Children's Plaza - Dayton, Ohio - 45404-1815
937-641-3000
www.childrensdayton.org