What if your 1-year-old cries in pain when pooping? The baby in this Q&A cries in pain when she strains and poops, and we’re trying to sort out why.

Lots of parents have contributed by leaving comments too.

1-year-old-cries in pain when poopingPin

Mom’s Question:

I have a 1-year-old that cries every time she poos. She has only been doing it for a few days. They are still soft, and there doesn’t seem to be any tearing after she poos, it is just she finds it hard to push them out.

She gets to the point where she is straining and goes all red-faced and has tears in her eyes. You would expect her to have if it were going to be hard. She has about 2 bowel movements a day and eats plenty of fruits, and drinks plenty of water.

We have started giving her cow’s milk as well as formula for night time and morning, but lunch is cow’s milk and if she wakes at night it’s a small bottle of cow’s milk.

Nikki Bhana

Painful Pooping After Introducing Cow’s Milk

Poor girl! Actually, in my experience, babies’ poop doesn’t always have to be rock-hard for them to hurt. For some infants, it seems as if “harder than usual” is enough to make them feel pain.

You mention that the problems started after introducing cow’s milk to your baby. This is so common! Cow’s milk is known to contribute to constipation. Also, tummy pain is one of the signs of milk protein allergy, so watch out for other signs as well if you decide to continue with the milk.

My recommendation, though, is to take her off the cow’s milk completely for a while and see if it helps. The formula is still excellent nutrition for her as a complement to solid foods, so you do not have to give her cow’s milk for her health.

Actually, you might want to cut down on all dairy products for a while, as well as bananas, if your baby eats a lot of them too.

Apricots, pears, and prunes, on the other hand, are great for softening the stools.

It is possible that the milk simply causes her constipation, and you can give her other dairy products, e.g., yogurt and cheese, that contain the nutrition we aim to provide through cow’s milk, such as calcium. When her stools are back on track, you can try to slowly reintroduce cow’s milk.

It is also possible that she is allergic to cow’s milk protein or is lactose intolerant, and you can review the symptoms of these conditions in this article.

I hope this helps,


More Babies In Pain When Pooping

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sally

    My 12-month-old girl has got the same problem – she has been on formula since birth. She screams and really cries every time she has to poo – it does not matter if it is hard or soft. I noticed the last time there was a little tear which I did get ointment for from my Dr. I have been to the Dr twice with her, and nothing has been resolved. They now prescribed a lactulose solution that apparently will make the poo softer. I however disagree with the Dr cause it does not matter if it is hard or soft – she screams in pain every single time. I need advice, please!

    1. Paula Dennholt


      I am sad to hear that your baby has such problems.

      Have you checked out some other threads at Easy Baby Life dealing with similar issues?




      The babies in these discussions all experience pain while pooping, and several parents are also reporting what helped.

      I hope this gives you a few ideas. Also, remember to go to another pediatrician for a second opinion if the first one couldn’t help you enough.

      Warm wishes


  2. Rebecca


    In a way, it is reassuring to read this as my 14-month-old has just started crying every time she goes to the toilet. We thought it might be as we were trying to potty train her, but she was doing fine for a couple of weeks, then every time she heard the word poo she was screaming. We left her to poop in her nappy then thinking she was just confused about where she should go but even then she was crying and needing hugs when she went. When she goes she is straining so much, even though they don’t seem too hard. She drinks plenty and has a good diet, so her dad and I were baffled. Following the above advice, I am going to take her off cow’s milk and put her back on toddler milk, and try her with some prunes, etc to see if it helps. She has had dairy for months, though, and not had any problems, but worth a shot. Thanks for the posts!

  3. nini

    I wonder if your baby has a milk protein allergy. That’s what my baby has. Their little bodies are incapable of processing the larger protein in cow’s milk. Most kids grow out of it by one year, but my sister’s kids are 3 and 5 and still can’t have cow’s milk or any dairy. I breastfeed my baby, but I can’t eat any dairy, or she seems to be in a lot of pain and cries when pooping. You could try eliminating dairy for a while. Keep in mind it can take a few weeks to get out of the system. Good luck.

  4. Maryland


    Our one-year daughter recently had a similar problem. Her stools were harder than normal, and she would strain horribly with each bowel movement. For us, it was a simple mistake. We add Poly-Vi-Sol to her cow’s milk in the evening. We also give her cereal during the daytime. Unfortunately, we were using the Poly-Vi-Sol with Iron in it. The supplemental iron and the iron in the cereal combined were 140% of her daily allowance. Once we started using the Poly-Vi-Sol without Iron, the issue went away.

  5. pcottrell

    Hi i just started my 1year old on whole milk and he weeks verry fussy and every feeding he has a bow movement and it is verry light green like white looking is this normal some boss are kind of hard and some are pastey is it normal

  6. zahriah

    1year old daughter has blood cuming out her butt wen trying to use the bathroom also strains An scream an cry

  7. Fritz Basset

    Our ten month old son started screaming violently while crapping! We gave him Miralax and he was OK.