Constipation in babies is something that can often be seen as ‘normal’ – however, constipation should NEVER be seen as ‘normal’.

When your baby starts on solids you will see a difference in what their stool looks like – it will become gradually thicken and transition towards an adults stool – depending on the amount of milk feeds they have will determine the thickness of the stool.

However, babies should have a bowel movement daily (at the least every second day). Healthy and regular bowel movements are an amazing insight into how your baby’s digestive system is functioning, the integrity of their gut health and can also be a key into any possible food sensitivities.

There are a few key reasons that can contribute to constipation in babies (not exhaustive):

1. Their digestive system just isn’t ready for solids yet – a key reason I recommend starting solids once they have met the developmental signs of readiness, such as sitting up. This indicates their core muscles are strong enough to not only keep them upright, but also strong enough to move food through the intestines and back out again!

2. They are eating foods that can sometimes be constipating such as:

  • “BRAT” foods

    • banana (specifically unripe)

    • rice (white/brown) and rice cereal

    • apples (cooked apples are the culprit, as cooking changes the pectin fibre which can contribute to constipation).

    • toast (and all white flour foods)

  • Dairy foods – particularly cheese

  • Iron fortified foods – such as fortified rice cereal

    3. Too much food too soon! Remember to start solids slowly, to give their delicate digestive systems time to break their foods down!

    4. Too much insoluble fibre foods (which provide bulk to the stool) – breastmilk isn’t a high fibre food, so it can take the digestive system a while to learn how to process it!

    5. Insufficient fluids! Keep up their milk and start sips of water when you start solids. Water should not replace breastmilk or formula, that needs to remain the priority until at least 12 months, but you can introduce some sips of water with meals.

    6. A potential food sensitivity or intolerance through their diet or the breastfeeding mothers.

    7. Altered gut microbiome – can be from antibiotics, type of birth, mothers gut health in pregnancy, stress, medications, environmental factors.

    8. Behavioural – for example they have experienced a painful bowel motion or have impacted hard stool that is hard to pass – so they learn to hold it in!

    9. Formula type – specifically cows milk formula can be constipating for some babies.

    10. Certain medications can be constipating (discuss this with your health care provider if you think this is the cause).

What does constipation look like for an infant on solids?

Some of the symptoms you may see include:

  • Infrequent bowel motions (less than 3 per week, aim for a bowel motion at least every second day)
  • Pain when passing a stool or excessive straining
  • Abdominal pain
  • Faecal incontinence
  • Smears
  • Pellet (rabbit) poos
  • Foul gas
  • Abdominal distension and pain
  • Low appetite and early feelings of fullness (in combination with other symptoms)
  • Bright bleeding at the anus (fissures/tearing)

Foods to include that can help prevent or alleviate constipation include:

1. ‘P’ fruits such as prunes, plums, peaches, pears and also foods like nectarines and mangos
2. Offer sips of liquid with meals and throughout the day – such as bone broth and/or water. These shouldn’t replace milk feeds, just small sips.
3. Increase fermented foods, such as small amounts of sauerkraut brine, beetroot kvass, water or coconut kefir or cultured vegetables – or supplement with probiotics to increase the amount and diversity of gut flora. I would recommend having an individualised consultation with a practitioner (eg naturopath or nutritionist) to discuss probiotic strains and which/if they are beneficial for your baby.
4. Keep babies diet high in healthy fats.

Our favourite ways to include healthy fats are:

1. Avocado
2. Cooking in (if tolerated) butter/ghee/coconut/olive oil/lard/tallow
3. Ground flaxseeds or chia seeds (soaked)
4. Cod liver oil
5. Bone marrow
6. Eating fatty fish often (salmon, sardines, mackerel – fish is an allergen)
7. Grass fed beef strips
8. Nuts and seeds (if tolerated, nuts are an allergen)
9. Egg Yolk (if tolerated, egg is an allergen)
10. Coconut products – enrich foods with coconut cream

There are plenty of recipes that incorporate these healthy fats in my book – Milk to Meals, as well as a great ‘Poo Poo Puree’ recipe that has had some amazing results!

Treatment and Support

If you believe your baby has constipation, and you have trialled changing what you can from this blog, then I would recommend seeking additional guidance.

We can support you with either:

  • Our constipation masterclass which includes 35 short videos to watch at your own pace, personalised supplementation support with Kate our clinic director, downloadable PDFs of foods that help, foods high in probiotics and prebiotics, foods high in fibre and also 6 recipes to aid healthy bowel movements.
  • Or for individualised assistance, we can help in our online clinic with one of our experienced naturopaths/nutritionists. You can book with our experienced team of practitioners here.


Kate Holm (Naturopath & Nutritionist)

Luka McCabe (RN/RM/Nutrition Consultant)


Renee Jennings (Dietitian and Nutritionist, APD)

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  1. Ch says:

    Do you recommend changing probiotics often to increase variability or try to build/ feed particular microbiome with a single brand?
    Having trouble trying to find a brand. Bub is still BF and initially had Qiara.
    Thank you.

  2. Kelly says:

    When feeding “P” foods that are mainly fruits, is there a limit to how much fruit you can serve a baby? For example, is it ok to feed a 7 month old 3 meals of fruit a day, or should we switch it up? Currently feeding veggies and fruit but baby is continually constipated!

  3. Kate says:

    Hi. My 9 month old is breastfed and poos daily but quite solid small poos. Feeding lots of P foods and giving sips of water. No bread or processed food. Should I be concerned or is it fine because not technically constipated? He seems happy. Does strain a little when needing to poo. Will the consistency of the poos change over time?

    Thank you

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