Originally Answered: HELP! 5 month old daughter constipated?
• Get her some exercise. If your baby's a crawler, encourage her to do a few laps. If she's not crawling yet, try pumping her legs: While she's lying on her back, gently move her legs in a forward, circular motion as if she were pedaling a bicycle.
• Massage your baby's belly. Measure three finger-widths below her navel and apply gentle but firm pressure with your fingertips. Press until you feel a firmness or mass. Maintain gentle but constant pressure for about three minutes.
• If you feed your baby formula, ask her doctor about switching to a different brand. Some babies are less constipated on soy formula. And sometimes adding a teaspoon of Karo corn syrup to the formula also does the trick.
• Switch from rice cereal to barley or oat cereal, or add pureed fruits or vegetables to her regular cereal, once your baby is ready for them. Read about what foods to introduce when.
• Once your baby is eating a variety of solid foods, ask her doctor if you can boost her fiber intake by adding a teaspoon of bran to her cereal. Cut down on constipating foods like rice, bananas, and cooked carrots, and try mixing her cereal with a little bit of apple or prune juice or a few tablespoons of pureed prunes, apricots, or pears to help loosen her bowel movements.
• Increase the amount of fluid your baby drinks to help keep her stools soft. If your baby is older than 2 months, start by giving her 1 ounce of prune juice diluted with 1 ounce of water, twice a day. As her constipation improves, you can cut back. Talk with the doctor first if your baby is 2 months old or younger.
• Talk to your baby's doctor about treatment options. Ask about using an over-the-counter stool softener to make bowel movements more comfortable for your baby, but never give your baby a laxative without her doctor's approval. The doctor may also suggest you try a glycerin suppository if your baby is severely constipated. The suppository will stimulate the rectum and help her pass a stool. While using a suppository occasionally is fine, don't do it on a regular basis, since your baby could wind up relying on them to have a bowel movement.
• If your baby is passing such hard, dry stools that she tears the delicate skin near the opening of her anus (you may be able to see these tears, known as anal fissures, or a little blood), you can apply some aloe vera lotion to the area to help it heal. Be sure to mention the tears to your baby's doctor.