How to cure constipation in my 8-month old?

Talia - posted on 11/20/2011 ( 36 moms have responded )

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My 8-month old daughter is really struggling with constipation lately. She has 3 meals a day, yogurt in the morning (though I've changed that to fruit lately to see if stopping dairy helps), fruit and oatmeal at lunchtime, and pureed meat and vegetables at dinner. She's still taking several bottles a day (formula) and isn't refusing food - but she's crying when she poops and her bowel movements have become really sporadic, she often misses a day completely and then when she does go, it's like pebbles and it's obviously bothering her. So far I've tried giving her prune/apple juice, lots of pureed fruits, stopped putting cereal in all but her last feed of the night, and cut out the yogurt. I've even tried a spoonful of Karo in her formula since someone told me it helped, but nothing is working. She's perfectly happy in herself (except for when she's trying to go) and crawling around plenty, she's very active. Any advice or ideas would be wonderful, thank you!

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Oh my! I'm glad you found a healthy way to relieve your daughter's problem. I am, however, extremely surprised to see that people have forgotten that an infant's digestive tract isn't fully mature until 12 months of age. Feeding all these more mature foods and whole meals, then adding pure sugar is going to cause problems. Obesity for a start, but also digestive problems later in life.

Until 12 months, a baby's main source of nutrition is a liquid (breast milk or formula) for a reason other than a small, golf ball sized belly. If you feed a baby too many foods that are hard to digest, it's going to shred through the immature intestinal tract. Food is for experimenting with, taste testing and exploration for the senses under age 1.

Shirley, my mother smoked whole pregnant with me (I'm 41) and her mother smoked while pregnant with her kids... So by your definition, it's okay for women to be smoking while pregnant now just because it was done in the past with no apparent ill effects. I have photos of my mother holding me (6 months old) with a cigarette in the other hand, puffing away. It must okay to do since I wasn't harmed by it. I was never in a car seat either. She held me while in the car. If she was driving, she put me on the floor of the passenger side. There are heaps of things that used to be done that aren't deemed safe anymore. Just because you or I didn't die or were overtly harmed doesn't mean it's okay to continue doing.

Merry - posted on 11/20/2011

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I know plenty of 8 month olds who are eating no solids at all and plenty more who only have a few tid bits here and there.
My son wasn't eating three meals a day til 18 months! At 8 months he was still only nursing, no solids at all.
So, where I live cereal in a bottle is a big no no. We are told to never put cereal in bottles ever.
All that cereal is so bad for her health anyways its SO processed.
The iron overload is likely to cause constipation, formula is so hard on her digestive system and so is cereal. So adding the two together is just quite the strain on her teeny tummy!

My advise is to stop so much solids. Maybe some fruits in the morning and then some meat for dinner but no cereal and definetly not so much baby foods"
Formula is still her 100% nutrient, food is for fun before one remember. Solids are just for fun, not for nutritrition yet.
She's still so young.
Oh and no Karo syrup!

Tara - posted on 11/20/2011

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First off I would suggest not putting cereal in a bottle ever. This is an old school method of hoping a child will sleep longer if they have a fuller tummy. It's unnecessary and infant cereal in general isn't even recommended any more as it is inferior to whole grains, has way too much insoluble iron and other minerals that are usually found in a healthy diet. The iron in formula alone is more than sufficient and by adding iron fortified cereal to a bottle will cause constipation.
Fresh fruits and veggies are a better method of battling constipation than an over the counter product. Don't decrease her fluids at all, perhaps giving her water after a meal before a bottle will help to move things along as well. Breast milk has way more water per ounce than formula, part of the reason breastfed babies generally don't become constipated, giving more water, less dairy and iron and more fruits should do the trick.
I wouldn't cut back on formula, she's only 8 months... perhaps cutting back on the solid that are more starch and carbs than fiber would be better.

Merry - posted on 11/20/2011

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Are you freakin serious?

Babies don't poop every day!

That's normal!

Wow, I've never heard of giving 4 month olds sugar!

Babies don't have to poop every freaking day some can naturally go days or even a week.

Unless the poop is small pebbles it's NOT constipation.

4 month olds shouldn't have anything except milk. Nothing. Idk why some drs give out such ridiculous advise.

Sorry, rant over.

Megan - posted on 11/22/2011

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My daughter had the same problem as a baby- our dr. recommended light Karo syrup in her bottle (either juice or formula) and it always worked. About a tbsp. 1-2 x's a day always did the trick and they can't taste the difference. Good luck :)

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Krista - posted on 11/22/2011

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The OP has indicated that an increase in pears and peaches has done the job nicely. Thank you very much for all of your great suggestions, ladies!!

Alfreda - posted on 11/22/2011

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Oranges, kiwis and blueberries always worked for us. My oldest was like that. We tried stopping all solids and feeding her only prune puree for a while. It did nothing. Finally, we fed her an orange. There was a big explosion and she was cleaned out. Then she was better. She has struggled with this issue since she was 7 months old and we were always playing with her food to keep her bowels working correctly. It is not that we are concerned that they are not pooping daily, it is because when they do poop they cry as it is painful for them. Then they will mid bowel movement, because it hurts, and wait, which makes the stool dry out and get harder. She struggled with this for years and it made potty training very difficult. She would not poop during the day after she was potty trained, only when she was asleep. Eventually we began to make her poop before bed, and would reward her. After a year of going every night before bed and monitoring whether or not it hurt so we could adjust her diet she no longer has painful bowel movements. She is now 4 and has even starting pooping during the day if she feels the urge without being told to do so, rather than withholding. She no longer fears having a bowel movement and food does not seem to bind her up anymore.

We started her on solids with a very liquid mix of breast milk and rice cereal at 6 months as this is what our pediatrician recommended. It was spoon fed, as we were told to never put cereal in a bottle because babies can choke on it. By 7 month, the constipation started. From that point on, we cut out all cereals as every time we tried to add it back in, the problem would start again. Once we discovered blueberries, oranges and kiwis though it was a lot easier to control. The only problem is, they give a big explosion and the daycare complains that she has diarrhea. The daycares here say if your child has a less than solid bowel movement she should be out of the daycare for 24 hours. Luckily we only got daily complaints and they never actually refused to take her, but it was very stressful. Oddly enough when she was constipated and crying during bowel movements, they were happy because she wouldn't poop at daycare and so they didn't have to clean her bum. It was always one extreme or the other. This baby was breastfed exclusively which is supposed to be a natural laxative and we spoke with the pediatrician regularly as to what we were feeding and what worked and didn't work. I think it is just hereditary as all the woman on my mother's side have this same issue.

Sapna - posted on 11/22/2011

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Hi Talia,
You could soak a handful of raisins in a tablespoon of water for a few hours.. then have her drink up just the soaked water at night. . usually this helps release the bowels easily..hope this helps..TC

Hayley - posted on 11/22/2011

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I used Fig Syrup for my daughter, I put a teaspoon in with her juice and it seemed to help. Knock on effect from the painful poo's though is that she went through a stage of holding her poops in, obviously scared that it would hurt.
I bought the syrup of figs in the chemist.

Carolyn - posted on 11/21/2011

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I was told my son's doctor when he was a baby, now 14, to put 1-2 tablespoon of Light Karo Syrup in his bottle. It worked perfectly. I have used this solution for all my children and even tell my day care parents when their children are having the problem.

Kate CP - posted on 11/21/2011

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The Karo Syrup with warm water worked because you were giving her more water than if you were mixing it with formula. Water fixes constipation.

Laura - posted on 11/21/2011

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Blueberries pureed and pear juice both work better than prunes. No apple juice, tends to constipate. Apples are one of things you give for diarrhea. pebble like poop=dehydration. the more fluids the better. try adding a bit more water to the formula when you make it.
Good luck!

Jeanne - posted on 11/21/2011

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Hi! I am so sorry to hear that... it breaks your heart when it happens and they are uncomfortable. Two of my three girls had the same issues. They are ages 5 and 3 now and so far my 1yr old has been great. My Mother and my Ped's Dr (who is a young doctor) reccomended dark karo syrup and warm water (about 2oz of warm water and about a tablespoon of Karo- in a bottle ....shake it until it mixes). My daughters drank it down because it was sweet and about 20 minutes to an hour later their problem was solved. I did the karo in the formula as well, yet it never quite worked as well as with warm water. I also found that pears work better than prunes....prunes actually constipated my little ones even though most say it helps. I hope this helps your daughter! Good luck!

Merry - posted on 11/21/2011

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That's a lot of constipation in your family Shirley! Now I've only had two kids so far but I've never had either one constipated. Maybe it's cuz I don't use formula? Idk but my babies always have normal consistency poops.

April - posted on 11/21/2011

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My son had that problem at 9 months old and ended up in the hospital. After meds and tests, the doc tried him on some Milk of Magnesia and Mineral oil, and it worked!

Talia - posted on 11/21/2011

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All the prunes and peaches I've been giving her the last few days did the job, she's much better now! Fruit is definitely the way to go, and healthier too :)

Kate CP - posted on 11/21/2011

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What's wrong with giving a toddler or an infant PURE SUGAR? Gee, can't think of a thing.

While many people don't think of obesity as a serious medical problem...it really is. And giving young children sugar like this at such a young age DOES lead to obesity.

How do you cure constipation naturally? Give more fluids, less starches, and more fibrous fruits and veggies. A baby-sized saline enema won't hurt either. And it's a hell of a lot better for them than giving them sugar.

Elaura - posted on 11/21/2011

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What i was told from the pediatric is apple juice to delude it. Cairo syrup is good but it will make them poop everywhere. More juices, even water them down some and it will soften up the bowels.

Diana - posted on 11/21/2011

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I took my 2 year old to the dr after 2 weeks of hard bowels and they put her through a bunch of painful tests and procedures just to find out it was a normal constipation and they gave her medicine for home to mix with a drink to help keep her stools loose. Don't let the drs push you into a bunch of un-necessary tests before they try some normal remedies 1st, this was a very expensive learning experience for me!

Shirley - posted on 11/21/2011

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Why no Kareo syrup? I raised 5 and that was my standby for such problems.
And my mother before me raised 7 and also used it. I say if it works and doesn't hurt try it. None of my family have any medical problems from this. A tsp in a bottle of water is all it takes and it gives relief. I have 19 grandbabies and they are just fine. Sometimes the old timers are worth trying it. I am not saying a regular diet of it (but my children had it in each bottle) . Good luck to you. I know how it hurts t o see your little one have problems.

Nateaka - posted on 11/21/2011

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Hi!
I have a 9 1/2 month old daughter and she has battled with constipation from time to time also. As 'normal' for her is at least one movement per day, if she skips a day, it is a concern, as she noticably ends up in pain trying to pass anything - even short of breath.
There are some formulas that are more prone to clog little ones than others - S26 is one of the worst culprits. My GP suggested Nestle NAN as an alternative, and I also use Heinz Nurture formula - a combination of them is fine, or alternating your little girls bottles between the formulas may help. I also used about 5ml prune juice in with formula if I needed from time to time.
In addition to the starchy based cereals and veggies, Bananas seem to constipate my little girl almost immediately (a pity, as she loves them!). Avocado is a great oily based food which can assist in relieving things, and I find corn good too.
You may like to try some tummy massage perhaps (rubbing firmly in a clockwise direction - which I have been advised is the direction the digestive system runs).
Hope some of these suggestions may help you.

Kate CP - posted on 11/20/2011

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The sweet potato is where she's probably getting clogged up. My son gets a little constipated (he's nearly 10 months) if I don't mix the sweet potato with something like green beans or apple sauce or something very fibrous. Even at 10 months my son only gets two servings of solids a day; the rest of the time he nurses. Yogurt is actually a really great first food as it helps the bacteria in her gut digest the foods she eats. The things you have to look out for that can cause constipation in older babies is:

cereal (oatmeal, rice, barley, wheat)
potatoes of any kind
meat
regular cow's milk

Sharon - posted on 11/20/2011

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Pear Juice always works on my boys. I buy a baby version of it (we're in Australia), and it's diluted more than normal juice. If I were using regular juice I'd dilute it to about 50/50 water/juice combo. Under 1, I gave my son about 30-40ml of the juice whenever he seemed to need it. It would have him well & truely going again within a day.

Talia - posted on 11/20/2011

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To be fair, she hardly has any cereal, she hated the texture of it from a bowl and so when she started making the transition to solid foods, we ended up putting a tiny bit in her bottle just so she'd get a little extra in her tummy. Right now she only has one little serving of cereal a day. She's eating a lot of fruit and only a tiny bit of meat, usually with sweet potato which she really likes. I will try cutting back on that and just offering her fruit along with her formula for a few days, thanks for all the advice!



I wouldn't be giving her solid foods if I didn't feel she wasn't ready, I only started once she started trying to steal and eat food from our plates!

Christina - posted on 11/20/2011

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a pinch of brown sugar in her food or bottle. my dr suggested it as a safe way to try before going to harder things. and it works.

but just a pinch, molasses is a natural laxative. my daughter is 4 months old. works every time. you can't do it everyday, so when my daughter has a day she doesn't poop, and hasn't done it by noon the next day i give it to her. and then she usually poops by noon the next day.

Tinker1987 - posted on 11/20/2011

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My son goes through this often,since 5months to now to almost a year old... Anyway,i give him apple or pear juice with prune juice,daily to help keep him regular,but if all else fails my pharmasist let me buy a Bottle of childrens stool softner,going by his weight she calculated the proper dosage,i dont like having too rely on meds for everything but it is better then seeing your baby in pain.

Stifler's - posted on 11/20/2011

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I agree with Kate I would ease up on the meat and cereal. At 8 months my kid ate 1 weet bix for breakfast and then a few tablespoons of vegetables for dinner and that was pretty much it. Sometimes some pureed fruit at lunch.

Kate CP - posted on 11/20/2011

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Sweet Jesus, don't give that to your daughter! I don't know about the other things as the links don't work. To relieve her constipation I would ease up on the solids (especially meat and cereals or grains). You can also buy glycerine suppositories for babies and baby enemas.

Talia - posted on 11/20/2011

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Peroxide doesn't seem like it would be awesome to put in your baby! Is this stuff any good?

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