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Constipation in babies

  • 0-1 Years
  • Feeding and eating
  • Peeing, pooing and toileting
A woman sitting down and smiling whilst looking down at the baby she is holding, which is wrapped in a blanket, in her arms

Understanding your baby’s bowel habits can be difficult at times. Especially as they develop and go through changes in their diet. The cause of constipation can vary but is often caused by their diet or lack of fluids. There are a few things you can try at home first to treat your baby's constipation.  

Symptoms of constipation in babies

Your baby’s poo may vary from week to week. So you might find it hard to work out if something is wrong. Some symptoms of constipation in babies may include:

  • bad smelling wind and poo
  • not pooing for a few days
  • passing dry, hard or lumpy poo
  • straining when doing a poo
  • crying or appearing unsettled

Constipation concerns in breastfed babies

If you are exclusively breastfeeding a baby under 6 weeks old and your baby is not passing 2 soft yellow stools daily, please speak to a health professional. 

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm (excluding bank holidays)

Causes of constipation in babies

Constipation in babies is often caused by changes in their diet. This is because your baby is learning to digest new things. Other possible causes include:

  • lack of fluids due to teething or illness
  • lack of fluids with their food in older babies who are eating solids
  • lack of fibre in older babies who are eating solids
  • incorrect ratio of powder to water for formula-fed babies

Dehydration can make your baby’s poo harder and more difficult to pass. Read our information on weaning and introducing solid foods.

Baby lying on their back on a bed with their mum gently moving their legs to help with their constipation.

Treating your baby's constipation

Here are some helpful tips of how to treat your baby’s constipation at home:

  • Lie your baby down on their back and gently move their legs as if they are riding a bike.
  • If your baby is happy lying on their back you can gently massage their tummy in a clockwise direction.
  • If your baby is formula-fed, follow the manufacturers instructions on powder to water ratio.
  • If your baby is formula-fed, ensure you are using first stage formula. 
  • If your baby is eating solid foods, try to make sure they get enough fibre. Foods such as apples, pears and prunes have a lot of fibre so can help with constipation. 

It may take a few days for your baby’s constipation to improve. If things haven’t improved or you are concerned contact us or your GP.

If you are looking for advice on children, read our information on constipation and smearing in children and teenagers. 


Need more specific support for your baby?

If your baby needs more help or has additional needs, you can visit our specific section for extra support.

Peeing, pooing and toileting for additional needs

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023


Who can help

If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's poo, a health professional in our team will be able to offer advice and support.

You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 or Text Us on 07520 649887 to start a conversation.

Open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).

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