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What's the Best Baby Formula for Constipation?

May 19, 2021 9 min read

What's the Best Baby Formula for Constipation?

It's normal for new parents to feel overwhelmed. There are so many decisions to make, and no parent wants to inadvertently make the wrong one. When a baby develops feeding problems or constipation, the concern and confusion grow.

While the baby's pediatrician is the best source of health information for parents of infants, there are invariably going to be issues that can only be resolved by trial and error. For example, some infants will do well on some kinds of infant formula but have problems with others.

Babies prone to constipation will often respond favorably to certain kinds of infant formula designed to alleviate and prevent this uncomfortable condition.

While baby constipation isn't common, it does occur and can cause great discomfort for the baby and worries to the parents.

This article will explore the common causes and signs of constipation in babies and will also discuss what to look for in an infant formula for constipation.


Breastfed Baby With Constipation

The ideal food for a newborn baby is breast milk. It contains exactly the right balance of nutrients and also provides important antibodies to help the baby resist disease in the critical period while they are too young for baby immunizations.

Constipation in a breastfed newborn is a signal to call the pediatrician.

However, breastfeeding isn't always practical or even possible. Here are some situations in which breastfeeding may not be ideal. If any of these situations below applies to you, be sure to speak with your doctor to figure out the best way to feed your child. 

  • Maternal viral infections that can pass to the baby through breast milk
  • Maternal medications that pass into the breast milk
  • Mother has a history of drug abuse
  • Mother is undergoing certain medical procedures, such as radiotherapy
  • Mother is a smoker or consumes alcohol regularly
  • Mother's health causes poor breast milk quality
  • Mother cannot produce enough breast milk to support the baby due to hypoplasia or other conditions

Lifestyle factors can also interfere with successful breastfeeding. Medical professionals all concur that while breast milk is best for babies, when breastfeeding isn't feasible, carefully designed infant formulas will provide a good alternative for the formula-fed babies' health, growth and development.

A formula-fed baby receiving a quality formula will get all the nutrients he or she needs, but a formula-fed baby may not feed as often as a breast-fed one. This is probably due to natural changes that occur in breast milk over time and is not a cause for concern. If you do become concerned about your child's feeding habits, reach out to your child's pediatrician as soon as possible. 


Newborn Constipation in Formula-Fed Babies

In order to avoid problems with constipation in a formula-fed baby, it is necessary to carefully monitor the volume and frequency of feedings and pay special attention to the selection of a formula for the baby.

A child aged 1-3 months normally has bowel movements four to ten times a day. By the end of the first year the physiological norm for a baby is considered to be at least once a day. If your infant has regular defecation problems, this might be a sign of chronic constipation.

One of the main causes of constipation in formula-fed babies is the early transition to bottle feeding.

To avoid this, the baby formulas must be carefully selected with the help of a pediatrician. While choosing a mixture is quite important to consider the age of the baby and other factors.

In order to help a formula-fed baby cope with constipation, it is necessary to establish the correct process and diet.

In this case, only adapted infant formulas which are similar in composition to the composition of breast milk, are proper feeding for a baby.

Always try to pay attention to the expiration date of the formula, and also make sure that the age category of the infant formulas matches the age of your baby otherwise your risk putting your baby in harm's way.


Newborns and Bowel Movements

For the first 24 to 48 hours, the babies will pass a thick, dark, greenish, tarry substance called meconium which is the prenatal content of the bowel. After about a week, the baby will typically have several bowel movements a day, sometimes up to as many as 12.

Oftentimes, stool passed during this time is yellowish and may look pasty. A formula-fed baby will tend to have less of a yellowish hue in their stool than a breast-fed baby.

It's common for bowel movements to be runny or mushy, but any kind of explosive expulsion of stool is an indication of diarrhea and should be reported to the pediatrician immediately. It doesn't take long for the tiny body of a baby to dehydrate due to lack of fluids.

Otherwise, color changes in the stool are likely related to diet and are typically not cause for concerns. However, if the baby's stool is hard or looks like little pellets, you may be dealing with digestive system issues, one of which is constipation.


Signs of Infant Constipation

While newborn digestive issues like spitting up are common, constipation isn't. However, it can be challenging to resolve. Here are some signs of baby constipation:

  • Firm belly
  • Baby cries and strains hard during bowel movements
  • Blood in the stool
  • Hard, dry stools that may resemble clay
  • Refusal to eat
    How do babies act when constipated? They may be fussy and cry when having a bowel movement.


    Baby Constipation Remedies

    For a baby six months of age and older with constipation, they may respond well to the introduction of solid foods, especially certain fruits like pears and prunes. Diluted fruit juice (that is 100% natural with no added sugar) may help, too. However keep in mind that the use of fruit juice should be limited to helping to treat diarrhea and that this decision should be made based on medical advice from your child's doctor. Pediatricians do not recommend giving babies juice often.

    However, for a baby too young for anything but formula or breast milk, it may be the case that it's time to switch their formula. Of course the decision to change your child's formula should only be done after consulting your pediatrician. 

    Many parents today are turning to European baby formula as for healthy organic formula options to nourish their babies. Some parents report that feeding their child an EU organic formula has helped to resolve infant digestive issues like spitting up, vomiting, and constipation.

    Because a formula-fed baby is somewhat more likely to develop constipation than a breastfed baby, the selection of proper baby formulas is even more important. A baby fed the right formula from the start may never develop constipation at all.


    The Microbiome of Babies

    Constipation in both babies and adults is a clear sign that something is wrong with the digestive system or the microbiome.

    The microbiome is the medical term for the intestinal environment. This includes friendly bacteria that do important jobs, such as combating pathogens, manufacturing vitamins and aiding digestion and absorption of nutrients critical to the health of the baby.

    The microbiome is also an important part of the immune system and helps to protect the baby against disease. This microbiome develops in the baby in three stages and plays a crucial role in the future health and development of the baby.

    The health of the microbiome may also be linked to digestive problems like constipation, gas and colic.

    A healthy microbiome helps a newborn's gut fight bacteria and constipation.


    European Baby Formula

    European baby formulas are strictly regulated by the European Commission, which acts in similar ways to the American FDA, except that it has certain additional stringent regulations for the production of infant formula the FDA does not.

    In America, infant formulas commonly contain ingredients such as processed sugars that add only empty calories to the diet of the baby with no nutritional benefit. In the European Union, there is a ban on using certain added sugars in milk-based formulas, for example like corn syrup. Furthermore, the EU requires that a minimum of 30% of carbohydrates in formula come from lactose, which is the primary energy providing carbohydrate in breast milk. 

    American pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert Lustig states that he routinely sees clinically obese six-month-olds in his practice and attributes this to certain brands of American baby formula, one of which is 43 percent corn syrup solids and over 10 percent sucrose! "It's a baby milkshake!" says Dr. Lustig.

    Other than lactose, European infant formula may contain very small amounts of maltodextrin, which is a simple sugar derived from potato starch, rice, corn or wheat.

    All European infant formula labeled as organic is required to be produced under strict organic farming practices and none may contain carrageenan, a seaweed derivative used to thicken human and pet foods.

    Carrageenan is a known intestinal irritant and a suspected cancer-causing agent. European infant formula is naturally created to nourish babies and they clean ingredients used in the formula may also help to alleviate issues such as constipation. If you're curious to join the bandwagon, speak with your child's pediatrician to see if European organic infant formula may be a good option for your infant.

    Best Formula for Constipation

    HiPP Baby Formula

    The HiPP company was established just before the turn of the 20th century when Joseph Hipp, a new father of twins, had to think of a way to feed his infants when his wife couldn't breastfeed. A baker by trade, Joseph mixed rusk flour with cow's milk from his own cows. The babies loved the novel concoction and thrived on it. One of his sons, Georg, continued the family tradition and over the years, HiPP became a major maker of European organic baby formula.


    HiPP Comfort Milk

    HiPP Comfort Milk is a formula specifically tailored to help babies struggling with constipation, colic, gas and other baby digestive issues.

    The complex formula contains natural, gentle ingredients to help soften the baby's stool so it can be passed more easily.

    It also encourages intestinal motility, which means it keeps the formula moving along the intestinal path. This formula for constipation also contains galactooligosaccharides, abbreviated as GOS, which help to improve the health of the microbiome of the baby.

    GOS acts as food for the microbiome's good bacteria, boosting the numbers of friendly bacterial colonies, which in turn help with intestinal function, reducing the chances of constipation.


    HiPP - Best Formula for Constipation in Babies


    Prebiotics and Probiotics for Constipation

    Another word for GOS and similar substances is prebiotic. This shouldn't be confused with probiotics, which are live friendly bacteria found in foods like yogurt and kefir.

    HiPP Comfort Milk is made with specially treated milk proteins that may help to relieve constipation.

    When the baby's constipation is resolved, you may be curious to try out other HiPP organic formulas!

    HiPP Comfort Milk can be used from birth onwards, but as with any dietary change for the baby, consult with your baby's pediatrician first.

    Holle Baby Formula

    Another contender for the best baby formula is Holle Baby Foods.

    This traditional Swiss-German company was founded in 1933 and follows the same organic baby formula production practices it always has.

    All of its baby formula products have the Demeter seal and follow strict sustainable organic farming methods, including cow's milk from grass-fed, free-range cows.


    The Demeter Seal

    Look for brands like Holle bearing the Demeter seal. This seal guarantees superior quality when compared to standard EU organic certification.

    This sill seal is over 100 years old and all products wearing this seal need to comply with incredibly strict guidelines.

    The remainder of this article will focus on how European baby formula may be able to help a baby with constipation.

    Certification of production guarantees organic ingredients, which is very important for baby formula.

    Holle Organic Goat Milk Formula

    Holle's Organic Goat Milk Formula is naturally high in vitamins A and C and also magnesium and calcium which typically require more fortification in cow's milk based formulas.

    Beyond that, it may help to treat and prevent constipation in the baby because it's also naturally high in GOS. Not only does GOS help to nourish the microbiome, but it's also a type of natural fiber.

    This fiber attracts water to the large intestine, softening the stool and helping to keep it moving. The stool can pass more easily because it has less of a chance to harden and produce symptoms of constipation.

    In other words, goat's milk is known to have a natural laxative effect for the baby and also older children and even adults. That makes it an ideal baby formula for constipation.

    This formula for constipation comes in 3 stages: Stage 1 is for the baby from birth to six months, Stage 2 is for six months to 10 months and Stage 3 can be used from 10 months to 36 months.

    All stages contain DHA, an important fatty acid for the brain development of the baby and no added sugar.

    Gluten-free, GMO-free, easy to digest and prepare, it's easily one of the best baby formulas made of goat's milk available.



    When choosing the best baby formulas, always ask for your pediatrician's advice first. That's the best place to start.

    Ask about European baby formulas. The information provided here will help to serve as an informational guide to help separate the hype from the facts.

    It's worth reflecting on the high sugar content of many brands of American baby formula and whether that's something that you want for your baby. 

    If the baby has constipation, colic, eczema or other problems that may be related to baby formula, you'll may want to discuss finding a specialty formula for your baby with a doctor. 
    A baby needs the best baby formula for the best start in life. Ultimately, the best baby formula will be the one chosen by the parents with the guidance of a pediatrician that fits the unique needs of their child. 

    Relief for Constipation in Formula-fed Babies


    Please be aware that this information is based on general trends evidenced in babies, it is in no way medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula, and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician prior to making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.

    Disclaimer: Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby, because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.



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