Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. Read my full disclosure statement. 

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Constipation in Breastfed Babies: One Mother’s Experience

If you’ve spent any time in breastfeeding message boards, you have heard the typical lines about constipation in breastfed babies – it can’t happen. Just wait it out. It’s normal for baby to go up to 2 weeks between poops because breastmilk is such perfect nutrition there simply isn’t any waste.

Well, that’s true, except when it isn’t.

I was one of those moms who would say those things. I mean, I had been through three children – 2 of them completely breastfed and one with partial formula. I thought I knew it all. I had spent lots of time on message boards and blogs. Any mention of giving juice or water or suppositories for constipation in breastfed babies was shot down.

Can there be such a thing as constipation in breastfed babies? Read one mother's experience with it.

And then I gave birth to my fourth.

My baby girl did not poop. She pooped in the hospital until she cleared the meconium, but didn’t poop at all after that on her own. She was growing like crazy and peeing up a storm, but no poop. For a week. The doctor wanted to see her. She looked like the picture of health in every way – except for not pooping. The doctor was able to get a teeny bit of poop out after a rectal temp. It was thicker than peanut butter.

Let’s backtrack for a moment. The definition of constipation is not the length of time between bowel movements, but the moisture content once the bowel movement happens.

Ok – back to our story.

We were sent for an x-ray to rule out obstruction. Negative. The doctor told us to try prune juice. Rectal stimulation by thermometer. Tummy massages. Nursing more often. Then we were to go back in 3 days if she hadn’t pooped. No poop. This time, the doctor found nearly solid poop. Poor baby girl! A glycerine suppository did the trick. We had a nice poop in just a few hours. Going forward, we were instructed to use a tiny part of a suppository if she went three days without pooping. We had to do the suppository twice.

After a few weeks, Penelope got the hang of that pooping thing. No more constipation. She would go a day or two in between, but the poops were always the right consistency.

So, what is the skinny on constipation in breastfed babies?

  • if the poop, when it does come, is the consistency of peanut butter or thicker, it’s constipation
  • if a newborn does not poop daily or every 3 days max – newborns need frequent poops
  • babies older than 6 weeks may start to space out their poops naturally – again, just check the consistency

Always check with your health care professional when it comes to treating your little babe. Many babies get upset tummies from the juice suggested to get their systems moving. Same thing with Karo syrup, which is still often suggested. Some babies will do fine on those. Some will respond to a rectal temperature-taking. Others to massage. Some to properly diluted pure essential oils. Some to homeopathy. Some to medication. There are lots of options out there.

Do your research along with your healthcare team and do what is best for your baby!


Audra Michelle has been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for more than 6 years straight. Her first nursed for 15 months, her second for 14 months, and her third weaned at 27 months! Her first baby girl is thriving on breastmilk and will wean when she chooses.  Audra Michelle is a wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend, Jesus lover, and musician. You can find Audra Michelle blogging at UP and at Naturally Well.

Speak Your Mind