High fiber foods for constipation in babies

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Constipation in Children

What should my child eat and drink if he or she is constipated?

Have your child eat enough fiber. Have him or her drink plenty of liquids to help the fiber work better.


Depending on your child’s age and sex, he or she should get 14 to 31 grams of fiber a day.2 Fiber guidelines are not available for infants less than 1 year old. Your child’s doctor can tell you what kinds of foods your infant should eat and whether you can try making changes to his or her formula or breast milk.

Talk with your child’s doctor to plan meals with the right amount of fiber for your family. Be sure to add fiber to your family’s diet a little at a time so everyone gets used to the change.

Good sources of fiber are

  • whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal, and bran flake cereals
  • legumes, such as lentils, black beans, kidney beans, soybeans, and chickpeas
  • fruits, such as berries, apples with the skin on, oranges, and pears
  • vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, green peas, and collard greens
  • nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, and pecans

Plenty of water

If your child is dehydrated, have your child drink plenty of water and other liquids, such as naturally sweetened fruit and vegetable juices and clear soups, to help the fiber work better.

Drinking enough water and other liquids also helps avoid dehydration. Staying hydrated is good for a family’s overall health and can help avoid constipation. Ask your child’s doctor how much liquid your child should drink each day based on his or her size, health, activity level, and the climate where your family lives.

Have your child eat enough fiber and drink plenty of water and other liquids.

What should my child avoid eating or drinking if he or she is constipated?

To help prevent or relieve constipation, your child should avoid foods with little to no fiber, such as

  • chips
  • fast food
  • meat
  • prepared foods, such as some frozen meals and snack foods
  • processed foods, such as hot dogs or some microwavable dinners


Last Reviewed May 2018

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This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

Are There Baby Foods that Help with Constipation?

While parenting brings many surprises, one of them is likely how much you’ll think about poop, or lack thereof, especially during that first year. But here you are worrying about your baby’s digestive tract and convinced that they’re constipated.

If you’ve recently introduced your baby to solid food, then your worries may be on target: solid foods can put a strain on your baby’s developing digestive tract and cause constipation. But there are things you can do to help!

Before you begin treating constipation you should determine if there is really an issue at all. So here’s the scoop on poop and how to tell if your worries are founded and your baby is constipated.

Breastfed babies

During the first few weeks, you’ll find yourself changing diapers with alarming regularity. Figure in every feed or so.

But don’t despair, because by the time your baby reaches 6 weeks old, they may have a bowel movement only once or twice a day. On the other hand, they may have one only every 7–10 days. (Yep, the frequency really can vary that much.)

The poop is yellow, soft, runny and sometimes lumpy and the smell isn’t unpleasant.

Formula-fed babies

A newborn, formula-fed baby typically poops up to five times a day. At about 6 to 8 weeks, this may decrease to around once a day.

Formula-fed babies have poop that is a camel to brown color with a thicker consistency, more like paste. Most likely, the less-than-aromatic smell means you’ll hermetically seal soiled diapers before you toss them into the garbage.

Signs that your baby is constipated

You’ve noticed that your baby’s tummy isn’t following the schedule that you got used to. Could it be constipation? Here are the signs that could confirm your suspicions:

  • You notice that they cry or fuss while they’re trying to have a hard bowel movement.
  • The poop, when it does come, is like hard pellets.
  • You notice streaks of red blood in the hard poop.

While it’s not easy for a baby on a liquid diet to become constipated, trouble can start when you start introducing your baby to solid foods at around 6 months. Here’s why:

New food types

Think of it as a learning curve: Your baby’s body is learning how to cope with a new kind of food to digest as they move away from their full liquid diet and you need to soften the learning curve. (Pardon the irresistible pun.)

Changes to fluid intake

Decreased fluids will make your baby’s poop harder and more difficult to push out. If they’ve started solids, they may need to up their fluid intake to offset the solid food. And if your baby is teething or feeling unwell, it can also lead to them taking in less fluid than usual.

Lack of fiber

Even though they’re just starting out, babies’ tummies work like ours. While initially the move to solids that have fiber (from breast milk or formula, which don’t) can cause temporary constipation, their tummies will adjust.

Make sure to monitor your baby’s fiber intake and pair it with plenty of hydration for a smooth ride the same way that you monitor yours.

OK, so you’ve confirmed that your baby is constipated. The next step is helping to alleviate the strain on their developing digestive system.

Remember that you can keep offering these foods as your baby develops into a toddler and beyond. In fact, there is little research or evidence to support specific foods (including high fiber ones) in treating or preventing constipation in infants. Most of these recommendations are based on evidence for older adults and children.

Keep in mind that good practice when introducing solids is to introduce foods as single ingredients. That way, if your baby is allergic to certain foods, you’ll be able to more easily trace the source.

If your little one hasn’t tried these foods before, don’t rush the process. Test out one at a time and then introduce combinations once you’re confident they’re well tolerated.

  • Back to basics. Give your baby’s digestive tract a break by feeding them mashed avocado or sweet potato purée. These are easy to digest and may give your baby the kick start they need.
  • B vegetables. Think broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and beans. Purée these for a meal filled with fiber.
  • P fruits. Your grandmother was right — bring on the prunes for quick work. A purée that includes a mix of prunes plus pears, plums, or peaches should work magic. Try subbing the prunes with dates for a change.
  • Bring on the fiber. If your baby is over 8 months, you can offer them whole grains like oatmeal, fiber-rich cereals, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice.
  • Water intake. Until 6 months an exclusively breastfed or formula-fed baby doesn’t need to drink water. Above this age, you can introduce small amounts of water.

Plums and pears with cinnamon

Cut 2 or 3 pears and plums into small pieces. Place in a saucepan with a small amount of water and simmer until soft. Add in a sprinkle of cinnamon. Blend thoroughly.

Sweet potato with apple and peach

Cut half a sweet potato, one apple, and half a peach into small pieces. Place in steamer basket and cook until tender. Blend until smooth.

Spinach and apple purée

Chop two apples into small chunks and cook in saucepan with about 1/2 cup of water. When they’re tender, add about 1 cup of spinach and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Purée until smooth. Can be seasoned with cinnamon and ginger.

Some sources suggest prune, pear, and apple juices help to increase the water content in poop and can ease constipation.

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends steering clear of fruit juice for children younger than 1 year old. You can stick with these fruits as purées for similar effects.

What is it about prune juice? The high levels of sorbitol and phenolic substances in prune juice and dried plums act as a laxative and diuretic properties. So if your child is over 1 year old, you can use small amounts of prune juice to encourage their system to run.

Some studies show that constipation may affect as much as 30 percent of children. If your child is part of the unlucky statistic, here are some foods that you may want to give them smaller amounts of until it passes:

  • bananas
  • dairy products such as cheese and yogurt
  • low fiber foods like white rice, white bread, and white pasta

If you’re like most parents, you’ll be up for whatever you can try to help your baby get comfortable fast. Here are a few tricks that you can use to ease your baby’s constipation:

  • Warm baths. These can relax those abdominal muscles and get them working.
  • Exercise. Lay your baby on their back and push their legs alternately as if they’re cycling a bike. Alternatively, hold their knees and feet together and push their feet towards their belly.
  • Massage. Use your fingertip to draw clockwise circles on your baby’s stomach.

If you see that despite your home remedies, your baby still is having hard stools or hasn’t pooped after 2 or 3 days from their last hard stool, then contact your pediatrician. Especially if you consistently notice blood in their poop or your baby is extremely irritable and appears to be in pain.

While dealing with your baby’s toilet issues may seem a tad unsavory, you’ll soon be so used to it, that you’ll find yourself sharing your insights over coffee with other parents. And don’t be shy about sharing the yummy food combinations you discover to keep things moving.

Products that prevent constipation and improve digestion

In developed countries, up to 20% of the population suffers from constipation. In the last article on this topic, we talked about what constipation is and what are the most common causes of constipation.

In this material, we understand why you should not immediately take constipation remedies, but it is better to first pay attention to your diet.

If you or someone you love has occasional or regular problems with bowel movements, read on. You will learn about healthy products that help you go to the toilet in a natural way. nine0005

If constipation lasts for weeks or is accompanied by pain, blood and mucus in the stool, and other unpleasant symptoms, see a doctor.


  • 1. How different types of fiber affect bowel movements
  • 2. Soups: more water and fiber
  • 3. Fermented Foods - Gut Probiotics
  • 4. Fruit with stones against constipation
  • 5. Whole grains and bran
  • 6. Legumes in the fight against constipation
  • 7. Seeds for Better Digestion
  • 8. How to eat fiber properly
  • 9. Important note

How different types of fiber affect bowel movement

Photo by Ella Olsson / Unsplash

Fiber, or plant fiber, helps to make stools regular and feeds good gut bacteria. It comes in soluble and insoluble forms, and both types are equally important for healthy digestion.

The human body is unable to digest fiber. The gut bacteria do it for us. nine0037

Soluble fiber absorbs liquid and forms a gel-like substance that facilitates the movement of feces through the gastrointestinal tract. It also creates a feeling of fullness.

Microbiota Test Atlas helps you understand how bacteria do this. Based on the results of the test, every week you will receive a list of products to improve the functioning of your microbiota.

Soluble Fiber absorbs liquid and forms a gel-like substance that facilitates the passage of stool through the digestive tract. It also creates a feeling of fullness. Foods rich in fiber of this type include apples, oatmeal, citrus fruits. nine0005 Photo by Andre Taissin / Unsplash

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and stimulates intestinal receptors to speed up stool elimination. Insoluble dietary fiber also retains water and prevents feces from turning into a dry, lumpy mass. This type of dietary fiber is found in plants of the legume family, nuts, and potatoes.

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco / Unsplash

Soups: more water and fiber

The high fiber and liquid content of vegetable soups makes them an excellent and affordable tool for solving problems with the gastrointestinal tract. The main thing is not to digest vegetables so that the fiber does not lose its beneficial properties. nine0005 Photo by Gianluca Gerardi / Unsplash

Milk and cream soups can cause bloating and make you feel bad. For thicker, more textured soups, and to avoid GI side effects, opt for recipes with potatoes. The starch it contains will give the soup a creamy texture.

Fermented foods - probiotics for the intestines

Fermented foods such as kefir or sauerkraut, are rich in beneficial probiotics - lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. In the intestines, such bacteria resist dysbacteriosis and produce short-chain fatty acids that maintain mucosal health and normal peristalsis. nine0005

There is little or no lactose in fermented foods, so people with lactose intolerance don't have to worry about stomach discomfort. If a slight seething after their use nevertheless appeared, the reason is more likely in the probiotic effect than in intolerance. This means that the intestinal bacteria are working hard on the breakdown of fiber, while releasing gases.

Photo by little plant / Unsplash

If the sour taste and smell of kefir repels you, try other fermented dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, fermented baked milk, acidophilus.

Available probiotics for vegans are kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, miso paste, cashew or soy based yogurt.

With the Atlas Microbiota Test, you can check the bacterial composition of your gut and understand which prebiotics and probiotics are right for you.

Fruit with stones against constipation

These juicy and fibrous fruits will quickly help to improve digestion in a natural way. Some fruits with stones also contain sorbitol, which has a mild laxative effect.

Apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines are considered the most effective against constipation.
Photo by Elena Mozhvilo / Unsplash

If the fresh fruit season is over, you can limit yourself to prunes and dried apricots. It is important to always drink dried fruits with water - if you eat them dry on the go, this will only worsen the condition.

Whole grains and bran

Untreated grain retains the outer shell, endosperm and germ. Such grains contain a maximum of nutrients and fiber, so for chronic constipation, whole grains and bran (separated grain shells) should be included in the diet.

Photo by Christopher Alvarenga / Unsplash

Products include:

  • whole grain toast for breakfast;
  • bran porridge;
  • whole grain crackers for snacking;
  • brown rice for garnish. nine0014

If you don't like the taste of brown rice, you can buy a mixture of regular brown rice. As for flax crackers, such a snack is not suitable for everyone - dense raw grains may not be digested at all.

Legumes in the fight against constipation

Lentils, chickpeas and beans from the legume family contain a lot of fiber - this is what causes flatulence in many people. In order for this fiber to benefit, you need to add legumes in small portions of to the diet and focus on your well-being. In any case, gas is rather a positive sign, which indicates that the intestinal bacteria have something to eat. nine0005 Photo by engin akyurt / Unsplash

Before cooking, it is recommended to soak legumes in advance for several hours or even overnight in cold water. Canned chickpeas and beans are easier to digest because some of the "gas-forming" substances go into a liquid that can be drained.

You can also buy legume sprouts or get them yourself - they are also easier to digest. The spice asafoetida has been shown to reduce bloating after legumes, according to some studies. nine0005

Regular Digestion Seeds

Chia Seeds is a trending source of soluble fiber. They also need to be diluted with water or added to cereals, smoothies, yogurts. Chia pudding or chia yogurt is a light breakfast or dessert option that will help keep the moisture in your stool and add the viscosity you need.

Photo by Ash Edmonds / Unsplash

Psyllium Husk is sold dry as a natural remedy for constipation. It has a neutral taste and smells almost nothing. When diluted with water, the husk forms mucus, which is necessary for the formation of healthy stools. nine0005

More affordable soluble fiber - flax seeds . They are recommended for irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation and type 2 diabetes . Seeds need to be soaked in water overnight to get that gel-like texture. If you don’t want to wait, you can buy flaxseed porridge in the form of an instant mix.

How to eat fiber properly

Insoluble fiber must be chewed thoroughly and for a long time , otherwise coarse particles will irritate the esophagus and intestines. If it takes you longer to eat a salad than a main course, that's perfectly fine. The better you chew, the better this food will be absorbed and digested. nine0005 Photo by Yoav Aziz / Unsplash

It is important to drink plenty of fluids. If fiber has nowhere to absorb water, it won't work as a natural laxative.

If you have never eaten a lot of fruits and vegetables, start with small portions and give your microbiota time to get used to the new diet.

There are several signs that you may be eating too much fiber. These are:

  • bloating of the lower abdomen, distension and flatulence;
  • Loose, unformed stools with clearly visible undigested fibers.

Important notes

  1. A proper diet that includes soups, fermented and whole grains, and various types of fiber can help to improve stools.
  2. It is important to remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Sugary drinks and coffee do not replace water.
  3. You can find out what nutrients and dietary fiber your bacteria are missing by taking the Atlas Microbiota Test. You will receive personalized and understandable recommendations that will help improve the functioning of the microbiota and improve digestion. nine0014
  • National Health Service, Constipation, Causes of constipation
  • National Health Service, Constipation, About constipation, 2020
  • Min Chen et al., Modulatory Effects of Gut Microbiota on Constipation: The Commercial Beverage Yakult Shapes Stool Consistency, 2019
  • Compound Interest, The Chemistry of Plums & Prunes: Constipation & Chewing Gum, 2015
  • Harvard School of Public Health, Food features
  • U.S. National Institute of Health, Graham DY et al, The effect of bran on bowel function in constipation, 1982
  • Gastrojournal, R. S. Fisher, M.D., Bran as therapy in constipation, 1983
  • International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • R&D Centre, Aurea Biolabs Pvt Ltd, Kolenchery, Cochin, India, Augustine Amalraj and Sreeraj Gopi, Biological activities and medicinal properties of Asafoetida: A review, 2017
  • Noureddin Soltanian and Mohsen Janghorbani, A randomized trial of the effects of flaxseed to manage constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids in constipated patients with type 2 diabetes, 2018

7 main reasons and what to do about it?

Constipation is a bowel movement every two days or less. If the stool occurs irregularly, then something is wrong with the intestines. We will analyze the main reasons and find out how to fix the stool and when it is time to see a doctor.


  • 1. Constipation due to lack of water
  • 2. Constipation due to lack of fiber
  • 3. Bloating and constipation
  • 4. Hormonal problems and constipation
  • 5. External factors and spastic constipation
  • 6. Taking drugs and dietary supplements as a cause of constipation
  • 7. Sedentary lifestyle and atonic constipation
  • 8. What you need to know about constipation

Constipation due to lack of water

Nutrients from the food bolus are absorbed in the small intestine, and undigested particles move further into the large intestine. It is there that feces are formed. Water is also absorbed there - and the consistency of feces depends on its amount.

With a lack of water, typical symptoms of constipation appear: feces become hard, dense and lumpy, with difficulty moving through the intestines. nine0005

If a person does not systematically drink enough water, he develops chronic constipation.

The recommended water intake is about two liters per day. If you don’t feel like drinking plain water with glasses at all, soups, boiled or steamed food, fruits and dishes from fresh vegetables will help you “get back to normal”. If there are problems with stools, fried, dried, smoked foods and dry snacks are best avoided - such foods are more likely to worsen the situation.

Constipation due to lack of fiber

Just drinking water is only half the battle against constipation. It is fiber that retains water in the stool due to swelling, helping to promote it. Fiber is soluble and insoluble, and it is advisable to consume both types of dietary fiber daily.

The recommended fiber intake for an adult is about 30 grams per day. That's at least one fruit a day and one generous serving of vegetables. Also, mucus-forming products with soluble fiber - flaxseed porridge, psyllium husks - will also help. nine0005

For constipation, you don't have to eat tasteless bran or unloved vegetables. You can add healthy fibers to your diet with the help of a variety of foods and dishes:

  • berries;
  • mushrooms;
  • leafy greens;
  • seedlings of legumes and grains;
  • seeds;
  • dried and pickled seaweed;
  • whole grain bread;
  • brown rice;
  • whole grain spaghetti;
  • whole grain breads;
  • smoothies;
  • whole grain cereals;
  • dried fruit without added sugar.

Fiber not only helps you go to the toilet regularly, but also feeds the intestinal microbiota. To maintain a healthy diversity of microflora, you need to consume a variety of types of dietary fiber.

The ability of gut bacteria to break down dietary fiber can be assessed using the Atlas Microbiota Test.

Bloating and constipation

A constant excess of gas in the intestines can cause spasmodic constipation. Accumulated gases prevent feces from moving along the tract. They cause pain and discomfort, cause spasms, because the intestinal loops are compressed, transferred. nine0005

A common cause of bloating is dysbacteriosis, in which pathogenic microflora takes precedence over beneficial ones.

Microbiota test Atlas helps to find out the ratio of probiotic and other beneficial bacteria, to assess the diversity of the microbiota. By examining your bacteria, it is much easier to understand how to deal with bloating and constipation and what your microbiota is missing.

Hormonal problems and constipation

Thyroid hormones regulate essential bodily functions, including metabolism and digestion. With hypothyroidism, a violation of the production of thyroxine, chronic constipation and other digestive disorders may occur. nine0005

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are very non-specific, so you need to get tested to check your thyroid hormones. When their levels are low, a person may also experience chronic fatigue, excessive sweating, muscle weakness, weight fluctuations, or heart rhythm disturbances.

External factors and spastic constipation

The gut-brain axis is a two-way communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. Fear, or even pleasurable excitement, is stress on the body that triggers the fight-flight-or-freeze response. Therefore, before an important event, such as a flight or an interview, it can be difficult to go to the toilet. nine0005

Stress can inhibit peristalsis and cause spastic constipation, accompanied by acute colic.

Therefore, before a trip or an important meeting, it is better to have dinner with something easily digestible and not causing heaviness and seething in the stomach. A warm bath or shower, taking antispasmodics, a hot drink, meditation and massage will help you relax.

Medications and dietary supplements as a cause of constipation

Constipation is mentioned as a side effect in the instructions for hundreds of different drugs. If you've improved your diet but are still suffering from chronic constipation, check to see if you're taking any medication or food supplement that could be causing it. nine0005

These drugs and supplements can slow down peristalsis and interfere with bowel regularity:

  • antidepressants;
  • antipsychotics;
  • containing iron;
  • sedatives;
  • diuretics;
  • containing aluminium;
  • anti-inflammatory.

This does not mean that you have to stop taking medicines or supplements yourself if your stool is broken. Try to increase fluid and fiber intake and eat regularly. If that doesn't work, see your doctor and ask them to choose an alternative with less side effects or a mild laxative. nine0005

Sedentary lifestyle and atonic constipation

Atonic constipation often occurs in old age, when body functions gradually slow down. But young people can also suffer from constipation, caused not by hypertonicity or spasms, but by a simple lack of movement.

When playing sports or just having an active lifestyle, the blood circulates more intensively through the body, and metabolic processes are accelerated. Cycling, walking and running will help with this. Also, in the fight against constipation, it is better to pay attention to activities in which you can move in a variety of ways and include the abdominal muscles. It can be dancing, swimming, yoga, gymnastics. nine0005

What you need to know about constipation

Don't worry about chronic constipation - it's not a sign of cancer. But the problem cannot be ignored either. Persistent constipation and the need to push hard to have a bowel movement can actually increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids or tumors. If you cannot determine the cause of constipation on your own and eliminate it, you need to consult a doctor.

To cope with constipation, it is not necessary to immediately take laxatives. It is much more useful to pay attention to the diet. About what products help to avoid constipation, we wrote a separate article. nine0005

Severe pain, weight loss, blood or mucus in the stool, unusually thin pencil-like stools are symptoms that should be reported to a doctor. It is important to be examined and check for inflammation, polyps or other neoplasms in the intestines. Your doctor may order a calprotectin test, a marker of intestinal inflammation, as well as a colonoscopy and other tests.

The state of the microbiota affects the regularity of the stool - we regularly talk about it in our blog. But each microbiota is unique. You can examine your gut bacteria with the Atlas Microbiota Test and get personalized advice on dietary changes, as well as your risk for Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal conditions. nine0005

Want to learn more about stomach health?

Download the free microbiome book from the Atlas experts!

More articles on how to improve digestion on the Atlas blog:
  • Foods that prevent constipation
  • Bloating after eating
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome