What should I do if my baby is constipated?

Q: My baby is really constipated. Should I switch to formula with less iron?

A: Don't automatically blame the iron in your baby's formula for her hard stools. Formula labeled "with iron" only means that it has the right amount to ensure that your baby grows normally and doesn't become anemic, a serious health condition. It doesn't mean that there's extra iron added. Most babies do not need low-iron formulas, and you shouldn't use one without your pediatrician's recommendation.

Instead, try to relieve your baby's constipation. See if giving your baby a couple ounces of water or pear juice once a day for a few days does the trick. If your baby's recently started solids, this could also be interfering with her poop schedule. Developing a varied diet of solid foods is a big transition for your baby's digestive system, and it's normal to get a bit constipated. Try giving your baby mashed prunes, a natural stool softener. In fact, a single serving is usually all it takes to get a baby's bowel movements back on track. If this doesn't help, or if the constipation returns, talk to your pediatrician.

Copyright 2009 Meredith Corporation.

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