Health Resources

Infant Constipation

Signs & Symptoms


Everyone has a different normal bowel pattern. For example, some children have bowel movements only once every 2 to 4 days. It is normal for breast-fed babies to have large, soft bowel movements without pain up to 7 days apart. Others have bowel movements 2 to 4 times daily.

However, a child is constipated whenever his/her pattern slows down noticeably. Sometimes constipation can cause recurrent tummy pain.
What causes it

Constipation is rarely caused by disease, especially of it starts early in life. More often, it is due to lifestyle factors such as:

  • A diet lacking in fibre-rich foods (cereals, vegetables, fruits) and inadequate fluid intake, or excessive consumption of sweet, low-fibre foods 
  • Poor bowel habits, challenges with toilet training, or reluctance to use the toilet
  • Anal fissures, which cause pain during bowel movements
  • Certain medications, such as iron supplements 
  • Illness that leads to dehydration
About the condition

Constipation is characterised by infrequent, often difficult-to-pass bowel movements. 

Seek medical advice if:

  • Your child's general health seems affected
  • Significant abdominal pain occurs
  • There is blood in the stool
  • Your child is unable to pass a bowel movement after four days despite dietary changes
  • Your child experiences loss of bowel control and soils underclothes
Care Tips

​How do I prevent constipation?

  • Ensure a diet rich in fluids and high-fibre foods
  • Offer diluted fruit juices, such as prune juice ,if over two months old
  • Include high-fibre strained foods if over four months old
  • Reduce intake of constipating foods, such as milk, ice cream, cheese and cooked carrots.
  • Avoid enemas or suppositories unless recommended by a doctor.
  • Encourage regular toilet use after meals, starting around two to three years old
  • In the toilet, ensure a comfortable position with knees elevated 

What should I do?

  • If severe pain occurs during bowel movements, consult a doctor; your child might have an anal fissure
  • If cases of severe pain, the doctor might prescribe stool softeners or an ointment
  • Improvement may take several weeks; be patient and consistent with treatment
  • Always consult with your child's doctor before giving a laxative
  • Avoid punishing your child for not having a bowel movement or for soiling
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