Add prune juice to formula to keep newborns regular

Zac of Baby Roadies on the benefits of Nature's Laxative:

When our newborn son Hank was having difficulties keeping everything moving downstairs (if you know what I mean) [oh, we KNOW what you mean, Zac. — Ed.], our doctor recommended an ounce of prune juice mixed in with his formula once a day.  Since then, we've been giving Hank his prune juice highball every night before bed, and every afternoon he gives us back a little present, steady as clockwork.

Rarely does he get constipated or get those creepy hard-and-dusty poops that some babies seem to get.

So as it turns out, old people were right all along.

Works when mixed with juice or smoothies for older kids, too.


  1. Elizabeth says

    People often think that when you have 3 kids, you remember all the tips and tricks. But right now we’re dealing with this VERY issue with baby #3, and I forgot all about the fact that I had used this tip with baby #1 and baby #2. Yipee! I will do this today. Thanks for the very timely post, Zac!

  2. Rachel says

    I am having this issue right now- our baby is 3 mos old and only goes about twice per week. The doctor said this was pretty normal in breastfed babies of this age. However, it still freaks me out, and I don’t like to use the suppositories for a baby that small.

  3. Jessica says


    If she doesn’t seem to be experiencing discomfort, then yes, it is normal. Breastmilk is used very efficiently, and therefore may result in less frequent pooping.

    If she doesn’t seem comfortable, it could be a sign of a food intolerance. My baby gets constipated (amongst other symptoms) when I eat dairy.

    Also, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that increasing the mom’s water intake will increase the frequency of a breastfed baby’s pooping.

    I’d see this hack as last try before medication for a baby who hasn’t yet started solids (since that’s effectively what you’re doing).

  4. Sarah says

    You can also use the prune juice to mix up cereal for an infant that has started on solids. That worked well for my daughter.

  5. mamaloo, the doula says

    Instead of adding more things to an infants diet whose bowels are not nescessarily mature enough for it yet, try googling baby massage techniques.

    My son was a breastfed once a week pooper (normal) but if he went longer, I could summon a poop in exactly an hour by stimulating his bowels with massage.

    It’s easy, non-invasive and kids usually love it. It’s the perfect thing to do after a bath when you are rubbing cream into that yummy baby skin.

  6. Elizabeth says

    I agree with mamaloo and Jessica. When I left the first response, I assumed the post to be talking about a 9-month-old (the age of our baby) or older. I’m not doubting the doctor, but I personally like to keep only one substance (breastmilk, or formula in your case) in their little tummies until 6 months. Just personal preference.

  7. jen says

    Another solution – a bit less severe than prune juice – is a segment of orange squeezed into some cooled boiled water. Always worked with my son, especially in the summer when they need a little more water and can get a bit dehydrated.

  8. hedra says

    Ditto that breastfed babies ‘shouldn’t’ get other foods until 6 months (per AAP guidelines), and that includes prune juice. With formula, there’s more leeway.

    Make sure you know the definition of ‘constipated’ – IIRC, it has to be hard, small, pellet-like dry poop. I know a mom whose baby went 21 days between poops on average. :eek: Despite the huge blowout (change-in-bathtub) poops that occurred, and the relatively foul odor involved at that point, the poop was still soft, and therefore not constipation.

    And ditto on the food intolerance issue, as well. It can cause either diarrhea or constipation. Beyond that, a fructose/sorbitol overload (which is a big part of what causes the loosening/movement with prune juice) can also cause GI distress and fermentation (along with possible behavioral reactions in some kids), so go easy on the dosage until you get it right.

    All that said, once we started solids with the twins, Rowan stopped up like a cork, and only prunes helped (either juice or puree). She was REALLY constipated, it was rotten. And at 2, she still calls poop ‘rocks’…

  9. Jack says

    Our son was having that problem his first week. We didn’t even realize it was a problem, since he had regular BM’s. After several days of inconsolable crying, we brought him to the ER. All of a sudden, he pooped and stopped crying. The ER doc suggested diluted apple juice, and it worked fine from then on.

  10. Louise says

    When I was breastfeeding my sons, eating a couple of oranges seemed to help them with the pooping troubles (me eating the oranges, then breastfeeding the baby).