What is Constipation?

The hallmarks of constipation in babies are bowel movements that are : 1 , 2

  • Difficult to pass—often accompanied with straining more than usual or pain. Your baby also likely makes faces when they have a bowel movement—a sign of pain or straining is what to look out for.
  • Dry and/or hard stools. Hard, small or pebble-like stools are often an indicator of constipation.
  • Incompletely passed. If the bowel movements baby has look as though they’re not whole, that could be a mark of constipation.
  • Less frequent than usual. Not all babies have bowel movements at the same rate. Some poop as soon as they feed. Some go more than once a day, others only once—or less. You’ll start to understand your child’s natural rhythm, and this will help you recognize when something is off when it comes to how often you’re changing poopy diapers.

It’s important to keep in mind the ways bowel movements can change as your little one ages—and depending on what they’re eating. For example, babies older than 6 weeks who are only given breast milk can go days between bowel movements—that’s normal. Between two months and three years, your little one will also naturally have fewer bowel movements each day, typically reaching about one or two a day on average.1

Signs & Symptoms of Constipation In Babies

If your little love is struggling with a case of constipation, they’ll likely display the following symptoms:2

  • Agitation and crankiness
  • Bloating and gas
  • Less appetite than usual
  • Stomach pain or aches

Sometimes you may see some blood in baby’s stool when they’re constipated. While this might just be from straining, you should make an appointment with your health care provider to be sure it’s not something more serious or getting worse.

Common Causes of Constipation In Babies

When constipation is the culprit responsible for your baby’s discomfort, amongst your first thoughts are preventing it from happening again. Prevention comes from understanding the causes of constipation in babies:2

  • Not enough fibre
  • Not enough fluids
  • Not enough movement
  • Refusing to go

Refusing to go is more common in older littles who are either embarrassed of using the potty or had a bad experience using the potty. If your little one is holding it in, you may notice them walking on tiptoes, keeping legs crossed, or rocking their body.

Soothing Constipated Babies

Although adding more fibre to your baby’s diet (assuming they have started solids) may help with constipation, this isn’t the only remedy! Review our primer on how to remedy your baby’s constipation