Constipated Baby: Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician

Wondering, "Is my baby constipated?" Here are some key questions to help you get the answers you and your baby need for relief.

While irregular bowel movements are relatively common in babies, you should feel comfortable calling your child’s doctor at any time with concerns and questions. Here are some to consider asking:

  1. Is my baby constipated?
  2. What are the typical causes of constipation?
  3. Can it be easily addressed?
  4. What are some nutritional options for alleviating constipation?
  5. Are laxatives ever recommended for a baby?
  6. Should I try to extract dry stool from my baby’s bottom?
  7. Is it OK to give water or prune juice to a baby younger than 12 months? Younger than 6 months?
  8. Should I change my baby’s formula or diet? What should I add? What should I take out?
  9. I’m breast-feeding; could this be causing baby’s constipation?
  10. I noticed these changes when my baby transitioned to solids. Is this normal?
  11. Should we see a specialist?
  12. I’d like to do more research on constipation. What resources would you recommend?

Before you see your doctor:

  1. Call the office and ask if you should do anything in preparation for your visit.
  2. Write down all your baby’s symptoms and your concerns, including answers to these questions:
    • When did you first notice that your baby seemed constipated?
    • What have your baby’s stools been like the last few days (e.g., color and consistency)?
    • What is your baby’s normal bowel-movement schedule (e.g., frequency per day), and how has it changed?
    • Has there been any change in your baby’s diet?

Having a written outline of your baby’s symptoms and patterns before you see the doctor will help you clearly—and accurately—explain the circumstances. After all, you’re the one who knows your baby best.

  1. Also, write down your list of questions (a good start is the list above) and bring them with you.
  2. Make a list of everything your baby is taking:
    • Vitamins or other nutritional supplements
    • Medications
    • Type of formula
    • Breast milk
    • Any solids
  3. Note any changes in your baby lately:
    • Sleep pattern
    • Eating habits
    • Illness

Issues regarding constipation rarely indicate a serious medical problem. But if your doctor thinks your baby’s constipation is serious enough, he or she might recommend that you see a specialist. A gastroenterologist is someone who specializes in digestive disorders and may be able to diagnose any underlying condition.

One Last Question

Is your baby constipated frequently? Ask your pediatrician if Enfamil® Reguline® may help. And for the latest research on the subject, read “What Causes Constipation in Babies? What Doctors Are Learning”