Tips for Relieving Newborn Constipation

A couple of years ago I needed some tips for relieving newborn constipation when my niece asked me to keep her infant daughter while she returned to work. I never had any children so her mother had to tell me what to do when the baby was constipated.
Since then I’ve asked some mothers how they dealt with newborn constipation. I learned that one of the reasons for infant constipation is the iron contained in infant formula; some babies don’t need the additional iron. Some babies have allergies, usually to formula, which can cause constipation, although one woman shared that her son was actually allergic to the water she was using to mix his formula with.

In no particular order, here are some of the best tips for relieving newborn constipation:

Fruit Juice

Diluted apple or prune juice is one of the more popular methods for relieving infant constipation that I heard. However, it shouldn’t be used for infants under 3-4 months, and should always be diluted. The acid content of some fruit juices can contribute to diaper rash unless diluted with water.

Karo Syrup

Another of the more common cures for newborn constipation is Karo corn syrup. Some used the light or dark corn syrup, while others insisted that only the light corn syrup should be used. Mix 1-3 tablespoons of the syrup in a bottle of warm water. NOTE: Since corn syrup has been linked to obesity, you may want to limit its use.


Once the baby is taking baby food, applesauce will usually keep them regular, and they also enjoy the flavor. If the baby is too young for baby food, try mixing a little applesauce with rice cereal and diluting it so it can be drunk out of a bottle.


One woman found that her baby’s constipation would be eased when she fed him formula to which oatmeal baby cereal had been added.


Massage can be accomplished in two different ways. The first is to use a bit of baby lotion and use the tips of your fingers to gently massage the belly and lower abdomen. The second method is to bend the baby’s legs so the knees press gently against the belly. This can be done with both legs together or one at a time in a “cycling” motion.

Glycerin suppositories

Glycerin suppositories will work when all other methods have failed. That is actually what my niece had me use on her daughter. The suppository would be gently inserted into the rectum, then her legs would be “bicycled” placing light pressure on the lower belly. Usually within a matter of one or two minutes she would have a bowel movement.

One of the most important tips for relieving newborn constipation was the necessity of seeking medical attention should home remedies fail to work. There may be something more going on and failure to get medical help could result in long-term problems.


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