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  • Post last modified:June 22, 2020

foods to soften hard stools in babies and toddlersPin

If your baby or toddler has hard poop or pooping is painful, don’t miss these tips on foods to soften hard stools in babies and toddlers and which foods to absolutely avoid.

Nothing is more heartbreaking than a baby in pain. Many babies that start with solid baby foods get constipated to some degree. And as that baby or toddler gets introduced to new foods, the problem can reoccur many times.

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 throughout 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

Easy Baby Life:

Food & Activity Tips To Soften Baby’s Hard Stools

When do Babies Often Get Hard 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 for 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.

Effective Foods To Soften Hard Stools in Babies and Toddlers

There are several effective foods to soften hard stools in babies and toddlers. It really can make a great difference to adjust a child’s diet!

Fruits to mitigate constipation

Offer your baby 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 to soften stools

Vegetables that are healthy and easy on her tummy are avocado and peas – these are both also great finger foods.

Broccoli and beans may also mitigate constipation.

Fiber-rich foods

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!


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.

Also, remember that young babies should not drink a lot of water.


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.

If your baby has not yet tried 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

Just like some foods will help soften your baby’s poop, other foods will make your baby more constipated. Here are the foods you should definitely avoid if trying the beat baby constipation:

Fruits and vegetables that can cause constipation

Fruits that should be avoided are unripe bananas and blueberries.

While apple juice mitigates constipation, applesauce increases the risk of constipation, so do not feed your baby apple sauce!

Vegetables that cause constipation are, for example, carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash.

Dairy products

Dairy products can also harden stools and should be avoided or reduced.

In addition, constipation can be a sign of milk protein allergy.

Low-fiber foods

In general, all low-fiber versions of foods such as pasta, white rice, and white bread should be changed to high-fiber versions.

Rice cereal is known to give constipation and should be avoided. Try oatmeal instead.

Other things to do to Mitigate Constipation in Babies and Toddlers

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

  • A warm bath
  • Baby massage
  • Movement! Play with your baby or toddler to make her move around as much as possible! Being still is a surefire way to increase constipation in any person.
  • Medication. This would not be my first move at all but can be necessary if nothing helps. You can try baby laxatives or glycerin suppositories if you have to.

A few medical remedies that are recommended by doctors and safe for your baby are:

    1. Mommy’s Bliss Baby Constipation Ease (From 6 months)
    2. Wellements Baby Constipation Support (From 6 months)
    3. Pedia-Lax Liquid Glycerin Suppositories (From 2 years)

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.

I have also added links to some books that deal with baby pooping issues here below.

I hope this helps,

Helpful Resources on Baby Poop

If you want more in-depth information and tips on baby poop issues, here are a few books to check out. (Links to Amazon)

Find the comments below.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. 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.


  2. Jessica

    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 abrasions but since then they haven’t said anything. I can’t stand to watch her suffer.

  3. 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 a stool softener or suppositories.

    Thanks for any help.

    1. Paula @ EasyBabyLife

      Hi Carolina!

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

      Also, try to add to 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!

    2. Elaine

      Hi, gosh this is all to familiar. I’m so confused on what I can do. Did anything help your little guy?

  4. Paula @easybabylife

    Hi Phumue,
    What does your baby eat? Are there any of foods in this post that you can try taking away from his diet or add (the ones that tend to soften stools)?

  5. 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.


    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

  7. Apa Guna

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

  8. 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..

  9. 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..

  10. Puan Adidah

    my kid also facing the same issued!

Comments are closed.