Constipation - infant
The following treatments are for infants with constipation who are older than four months.
Dark corn syrup — Dark corn syrup has been a folk remedy for constipation for hundreds of years. Dark corn syrup contains complex sugar proteins that keep water in the bowel movement. However, current types of dark corn syrup may not contain these sugar proteins, so the syrup may not be helpful. Light corn syrup is not helpful.
For an infant who is healthy, a doctor or nurse may recommend adding one-quarter teaspoon to one teaspoon (1.25 to 5 mL) of dark corn syrup to four ounces of formula or expressed breast milk.
Use the lowest dose initially; you can increase the amount up to a total of one teaspoon per four ounces of formula or expressed breast milk until the infant has a daily bowel movement. After your child's bowel movements become soft and more frequent, you can slowly stop the corn syrup. You can give corn syrup whenever the bowel movements start to get too hard, until your child begins eating cereal or solid foods.
Fruit juice — If your infant is at least four months old, you can give certain fruit juices to treat constipation. This includes prune, apple, or pear juice (other juices are not as helpful). You can give a total of two to four ounces of 100 percent fruit juice per day for children 4 to 8 months old. You can give up to six ounces of fruit juice per day to infants 8 and 12 months old.
High-fiber foods — If your infant has started eating solid foods, you can substitute barley cereal for rice cereal. You can also offer other high-fiber fruits and vegetables (or purées), including apricots, sweet potatoes, pears, prunes, peaches, plums, beans, peas, broccoli, or spinach. You can mix fruit juice (apple, prune, pear) with cereal or the fruit/vegetable purée.
Formulas with iron — The iron in infant formula does not cause or worsen constipation because the dose of iron is very small. Therefore, changing to a low-iron formula is not recommended because this will not help with the constipation. Your doctor or nurse may recommend a different type of formula; consult them before making any formula changes.
Iron drops contain higher amounts of iron, and may sometimes cause constipation. Therefore, infants who need iron drops sometimes also need extra diet changes or treatments to make sure that they do not get constipated.
Other useful resource sites: