When they were babies, my two children were at the other ends of the spectrum when it came to diaper changes. My son had a solid bowel movement at least 2-3 times a day, and he still does now at the age of 19 months (he just can’t stop eating!) However, my daughter had some issues with constipation when she was a baby. I remember one time she didn’t go for around 12 days, and my wife and I were very concerned. Fortunately, the issue resolved itself in the end and as she got older the problem has just gone away. One strategy we used was to give her a little prune juice, which definitely helped.
So if you’re thinking of giving prunes to your baby, how long do they take to work? The majority of constipated babies should pass a solid stool within 24 hours after eating prunes, but it may take longer. Let’s delve into this topic in more detail.
Why do babies get constipated?
Severe and occasional constipation in babies can be caused by a number of different factors:
- Change in diet. Have they started formula milk recently or processed foods? Formula milk is harder to digest than breast milk.
- Lack of fiber. If your baby is not eating enough fruits and vegetables, then they might not be getting enough fiber (prunes can definitely help with this – see below for more info)
- Lack of fluids. Your baby might be dehydrated and not drinking enough fluids. This can certainly make their stools harder and more difficult to pass through.
How do you know if your baby is constipated?
Although you may be concerned that your baby is constipated you need to understand whether their infrequent bowel movements are normal or not. While it’s normal for newborn babies to poop a few times a day, the frequency decreases as they get older. Between the ages of 6 weeks to 3 months, some babies poop once a day, while some may only go once a week. Formula fed babies tend to poop more often than breastfed babies.
If you think your baby might be constipated, look for some of these signs:
- Your baby’s stomach feels hard when your touch it
- They cry when they’re trying to poop
- Their stool is hard and dry
- Your baby might be less willing to feed.
How long does it take for prunes to work?
If you think your infant is suffering with constipation, then you can try giving them prunes, but only if they are ready for solid food. How quickly they work really depends, as all people have different digestive systems, and that includes babies. It may take a few hours or it could take a few days However, in most cases you baby should have a solid bowel movement within 24 hours.
When can babies eat prunes?
Your baby can start eating prunes when they’ve started solid foods, which is around 6 months for most children. You can mash or puree the prunes and give it to them at lunch or dinner time.
How do you soften prunes?
To soften prunes follow this process:
- Place the dried prunes in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
- Leave for 10-15 minutes
- Strain the fruit and get rid of the water
- The stewed prunes should be softer, so you can mash them and turn them into a puree to give to your baby.
Are prunes good for babies?
Prunes have lots of useful nutrients for babies, including iron, fiber and natural sugars. One particular type of sugar is sorbitol, which acts as a natural laxative and can relieve constipation. Prunes contain other vitamins too, including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K, riboflavin and niacin. They also contain boron, which is great for building bones and muscles.
Do prunes soften baby poop?
In most cases prunes should help your baby poop if they are suffering from constipation. The combination of fiber and sorbitol will also make the stools softer and easier to pass through.
Do prunes change your stool colour?
Prunes contain a lot of iron so if you eat too many of them it can cause your stools to turn a darker colour.
Can a baby eat prunes every day?
At Pediaclinic they say that you can give prunes twice a day to your baby (if they’ve started solid foods). However, if you are unsure on exactly how much to give, especially if your baby is younger than 1 year old, check with your paediatrician. This is because if you do give too many prunes to your infant, they can end up with diarrhoea. Furthermore, your infant may end up turning their noses up at the sight of a prune if they have it every day!
When can babies have prune juice?
It is perfectly safe to give prune juice to your baby when they are around a year old. However, if you want to give some to babies younger than this, you should seek the advice of your paediatrician.
How often can your baby have prune juice?
If your baby’s doctor gives the green light to give them prune juice, and they’re under 1 year old, one general rule is to give 1oz per month of their life in one dose (but a maximum daily dose of 4oz). For toddlers suffering with constipation, you can give more, but limit it to one cup of prune juice per day.
Is prune juice better for your baby than prunes?
While both can help with relieving your baby’s constipation as they act as a laxative, prunes are better for your baby than drinking prune juice as they contain more fiber and double the amount of sorbitol. Prune juice is mostly water and sugar, so you don’t want to give too much for your infant as it can cause cavities in their teeth. However, to mitigate the effects of the sugar on your baby’s teeth, you can try mixing some prune juice with water and ensure you only give it during meal times. If you decide to give your baby some prune juice, try to find some which has pulp as this will contain more fiber than just extract.
What are some alternatives to prunes for constipation?
There are several alternatives you can try if your baby really doesn’t like the taste of prunes, and it’s quite easy to remember. Basically just look for other fruits and vegetables that start with a ‘P’:
These may also help to relieve your baby’s constipation.
Graham is a father of two who founded Dadometer to share his parenting journey with other moms and dads.