Constipation refers to stools that are hard and difficult to pass.


Infants very commonly will not have daily stools, particularly if they are breast-fed.  This is not constipation, as long as the stools are soft.  However, if an infant seems uncomfortable, rectal stimulation with a lubricated thermometer or Q-tip, or an infant glycerin suppository may be helpful.  Grunting does not necessarily mean that an infant is constipated, either, as long as the resulting stool remains soft.

If an infant has very hard stools, initial treatment might consist of prune juice (1/2 – 2 ounces daily), or strained prunes.  These can also be helpful for older children.  In toddlers or older children, a Fleets enema can be helpful for expelling very large, hard stools.  In these older children, over-the-counter laxatives, such as Colace or Milk of Magnesia, can be used for occasional constipation.  Additionally, dietary changes including increased fiber can be helpful to prevent constipation.

If your infant or child has ongoing problems with constipation, call the office to schedule an appointment to discuss this.  If a child of any age appears ill, has fever or pain with urination, or is vomiting, these symptoms are not related to constipation, and an alternative explanation should be considered.

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  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507