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Best Foods To Soften Hard Stool In Babies & Toddlers, Foods to Avoid

foods to soften hard stools in babies

Mom’s question:
My baby daughter is having very hard stools. It is also taking her all day to have a bowel movement. She will try several times through the day but without success. She does always have one bowel movement a day, but it takes great effort and seems bothersome to her.

What can I give her daily to help soften her stools?

Thanks, Holly

Baby Helpline:

Food & Activity Tips To Soften Baby’s Stools

Hard stools are very common among babies since many of them have just recently started with solid baby food, or the share of solids is increasing. Also, as new foods are continually being added, some are more stopping than others. As the baby is approaching toddler age, it is also common that they start eating more pasta and bread, which can both lead to constipation. The same goes with cow’s milk.

Most often, the hard stools are due to the baby’s digestive system not really coping with solids, and this will improve over the months to come.

What to do then?

For best effects, you should add foods that will soften your baby’s (or toddler’s) stools and at the same time eliminate foods that may cause constipation.

Foods To Give Baby Or Toddler To Soften Stools

  • Offer her prune, apple or pear juice or purées of the same fruits. (Do not give her applesauce, though, with actually hardens the stools.) Kiwis and apricots are also good.
  • Vegetables that are healthy and easy on her tummy are avocado and sweet potato. Broccoli and beans may also mitigate constipation.
  • Fiber can be powerful in mitigating constipation. Consider giving your baby small amounts of fiber-rich cereals, homemade oatmeal porridge, whole-wheat pasta (if you have already introduced gluten) and brown rice – rice is great for practicing the pincer grasp too!
  • And make sure she drinks a lot of breast milk or water (or formula if that does not make her constipated). Breast milk or formula will continue to be the most important part of her nutrition for several more months, so if she is formula fed, do not give her so much water that she drinks less formula.
  • Not really foods, maybe, but probiotics supplements have been shown to mitigate both constipation, gas and diarrhea in babies and are completely safe to give to your baby.
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If your baby has any of these foods before, start slowly, maybe with one teaspoon to avoid any allergic reaction. Some babies need to have any of the above fruit purees or juices added with every meal to be able to digest solid foods without constipation.

Foods To Avoid When Baby Or Toddler Is Constipated

  • Fruits that should be avoided are avoid unripe bananas, carrots and blueberries.
  • While apple juice mitigates constipation, applesauce increases the risk of constipation, so do not feed your baby apple sauce!
  • Rice cereal is know to give constipaiton and should be avoided. Try oatmeal instead.
  • Dairy products can also harden the stools and should be avoided or reduced.
  • In general all low-fiber versions of foods such as pasta, white rice and white bread should be changed to high-fiber versions.

Other things to do to Mitigate Constipation in Babies and Toddlers

In addition to the diet, other ways to mitigate constipation are the following:

I hope this helps! In most cases, constipation in young children can be avoided with a combination of all or some of the above measures.

If you who are reading this have a baby who has not yet been introduced to solid foods, read about constipation in breastfed and formula fed babies here.

And you can find baby food recipes here, if you want to make your own baby food.

Good luck!

Paula
Find comments below.

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Comments

Jan 09, 2013

Hard Stool from my 1yr old – HELP!

by: Carolina

My son is 1 yr old and has been having very hard stools for the past few months. Even when they are not so hard, they are very big around. He stiffens his legs and if my husband and I are around we immediately take his diaper off and bend his legs up towards his chest while holding down his stomach. More times than not I have to “help” my son by putting vaseline around his anus or moving it around to make it stretch. It’s horrible, he bleeds a little every time and his anus even comes out some. It seems that it’s only the first part of it, after that comes out, the rest is just pushing. Since all of this makes him irregular, his feces are dry, look “old” and is always one very long piece.

I’m sorry if this is too much info, our doctor did not change his milk and just recommended stool softener or suppositories.

Thanks for any help.


Jan 09, 2013

Milk?
by: Paula (Baby Help Line)


Hi Carolina!

Have you tried to change his diet at all? I would take away all dairy product immediately if I were you and see if it makes a difference.

Also try add a bit of whole grain bread or porridge to his diet. And dried apricots.

And lots of liquid, of course.

Then if this doesn’t help go see another doctor!

Wish you good luck! Please let me know about your son’s progress!

/Paula


May 18, 2013

My 3 Year Old

by: Jessica Deschenes


My three year old has been struggling since she was 2 months old to have a bowel movement. She starts and then 4-5 hours later finally goes, after pushing really hard and 9 out of 10 times she bleeds.
She has had a sigmodocskay(sp?)and an endoscopy. They told me she looked normal except for some abrasians but since then they haven’t said anything. I can’t stand to watch her suffer.
Thanks
Jessica


Jul 02, 20113

Tried pawpaw?

by: Anne


My 7 month old baby also had the same problem and I was advised to add pawpaw to her diet and it worked wonders.

I feed her on pawpaw three to four times a day between meals and give her a lot of water. Try this.

Anne
Kenya


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  • Puan Adidah

    my kid also facing the same issued!

  • marleyley

    My DS also faced such issue! Constipated and having hard stool very frequently.. The poo is so hard and very little… So worrying lor, cos whenever he goes for his bowel i can see that its hurting him so badly..

  • Jensy

    Fruit juice are good for child tat had constipation.. However, u still need to seek for a long term solution to prevent from constipation.. I get to knw that pre-biotic in milk helps to solve constipation..

  • Apa Guna

    Maybe try giving them more fruits and vege! I think it will solve ur problem!

  • MARYJANEWONG

    I was like u finding for solution and one of forumer introduced Mamil to me last year and now I nvr encounter such probs anymore. My LO bowel is healthy as good. I know that mamil has prebiotics and contains no sugar at all which is fantastic in preventing children constipation leh. Plus Mamil also has the highest DHA level in the market..try switching la and see the results in a week time

  • velibyjane

    I am now free with problems regarding child constipation. No more soft stool no more stool in dark brown. This is bcos I gave my daughter to drink Mamil and all problems are solved.

  • halleyleong9938

    I also use Mamil for my DD since she was 3yrs old. Its been 2 years since the first consumption, her stools are healthy and no constipation prob ever since.

  • johnliew

    Mamil is working very well for me. I tried so many formulas already and Mamil suit my LO the best as i would definitely prefer a not sweet milk formula for my LO. Its more healthy la