Parent Information


Constipation is when your child has infrequent hard stools that are painful to pass.  Newborns generally have stools 4 to 8 times a day.  By the time they are 2 months old breastfed infants may pass stools as frequently as 4-6 times a day or as infrequently as once every 4-5 days; formula fed infants have stools 2-3 times a day to every other day.  When your child is on solid food, stools usually pass 2-3 times a day to every other day.  Occasionally with viral illnesses, when your child has a decreased appetite, stools may pass less frequently than normal.

If your child is constipated, we recommend the following treatments:

Infants under 1 year

  • Give 4 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar once a day.
  • Give older infants strained apricots, prunes, or peaches twice a day.

Children over 1 year

  • Give fruits and vegetables (good examples include celery, lettuce, beans, raisins, peaches, pears, prunes), bran cereal, graham crackers, or oatmeal.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of water.
  • Give your child prune juice.  If you mix prune juice with 7-UP, it tastes like Dr. Pepper.
  • Decrease constipating foods like milk, bananas, rice, apple sauce, and cooked carrots.
  • Do not overdo dairy products.  More than 3 cups of milk per day can cause constipation.

Call us if your child:

  • has blood in the bowel movement
  • goes 3 days without a bowel movement despite trying the above treatments
  • has severe cramps
  • has any deep tears in the rectum that won't heal
  • has any symptoms that concern you

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