The Best Stool Softener for Babies and Kids

By Kimberly Bruce

February 3, 2021

It’s perfectly normal for healthy babies to sometimes go for days without going number 2. Your choice of breast milk versus formula feeding your infant could play a role in the frequency and texture of their stool. Bottle-fed babies may experience constipation—firm, difficult to pass stool—because formula is thicker than breast milk, making it difficult to digest. If your baby is formula-fed, you can expect them to have a bowel movement (BM) at least once per day, up to three times per day; but they could also go 1 to 2 days without pooping and be fine.

Breast-fed infants tend to go less frequently, and it could be up to five days since you’ve seen a soiled diaper. For breast-fed newborns up to one month old, having a BM less than once a day may be a sign that they aren’t getting enough to eat. But don’t be alarmed just yet, your baby could simply be using all their nutrients to help them grow and there’s nothing left over to expel. One thing to remember: no poopy diapers for a few days does not necessarily mean your baby is constipated.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the best stool softeners that are mild enough for babies and young children. You’ll also find useful information on how to spot a constipated baby and tips on how to safely clear their digestive blockage.

1. Editor's Pick: Fleet Pedia-Lax Glycerin Suppositories

  • Fast-acting
  • Easy to insert
  • Thin and flexible
  • May take long to melt

Key Specs

Size: 32 g

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These fast-acting glycerin suppositories are pediatrician recommended as safe for use on children in need of constipation relief. With some modification to the dosage, they can be used on infants – speak to your baby’s doctor for acceptable dosage modifications. They can be comfortably inserted and go to work fast; with its thin, flexible wax-like material, getting things moving. Plus, they’re eco-friendly, with no plastic applicator or cap.

2. Best Chewable Option: Pedia-Lax Children's Saline Laxative Chewable Tablets

  • Stimulant-free
  • Cramp-free
  • Chewable
  • Flavour

Key Specs

Size: 181.44 g

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These chewable laxatives for children aged 2-11 years, are stimulant- and cramp-free so they won’t cause any discomfort when the poop-inducing saline ingredients start working. You’ll start to see results within 30 minutes to six hours from your child’s first dose.

3. Best For Young Children: Colace Glycerin Suppositories

  • Stimulant-free
  • For infants and children
  • Difficult to melt

Key Specs

Size: 200 g

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Colace glycerin suppository laxatives are designed for young children. The packaging claims that this product is safe for use on infants and children, however, the manufacturer advises use for children 2-5 years of age. These suppositories provide fast, gentle relief of occasional constipation, working as quickly as 15-30 minutes. They dissolve in the rectum and help to soften fecal matter. The lubricating properties help stool pass easily without discomfort, which prevents rectal tears and hemorrhoids.

4. Natural Alternative: Dr. Christopher Kid-e-Reg Liquid Bowel Tonic

  • Cramp-free
  • Expensive comparative to others

Key Specs

Size: 136.08 g

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Dr. Christopher Kid-e-Reg Liquid bowel tonic is made with natural ingredients, including: organic fennel and anise seeds; liquorice root; fig syrup; wildcrafted slippery elm bark; pure vegetable glycerin; and, distilled water. Because this is an oral solution to occasional constipation, the flavour may not suit the particular tastes of your child. If your child is turned off by the taste of this tonic, try mixing it into their favourite foods and within a day, you will see results.

5. Honorable Mention: BIORAY KIDS NDF Pooper Liquid Herbal Drops

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Natural ingredients
  • Expensive comparative to others

Key Specs

Size: 56.7 g

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Another natural alternative to laxatives, BIORAY Kids NDF Pooper Liquid Herbal Drops contains rhubarb root, white peony, bitter orange, magnolia bark, apricot seed and American ginger root. It also has lycium fruit and vegetable glycerin, along with other key ingredients, to help get things moving for your little one. It is vegan and free of gluten, soy, dairy, alcohol and genetically modified ingredients.

Frequently Asked Questions about Stool Softeners

Having a child who’s suffering from constipation is not only uncomfortable for your little one, but causes a great deal of concern for parents. When you’ve gone days without seeing stool in your baby’s diaper, you undoubtedly begin to worry. Are they eating enough or getting enough fluids? Are they feeling any pain or discomfort? Is there anything that you can do to help them expel their load? Check out some of the frequently asked questions about stool softeners.

How can I tell if my baby is constipated?

Babies who are constipated may be fussier than usual, cry inconsolably, or have a distended stomach, that you’re pretty sure isn’t because they’re simply full from their last feeding. When having a BM, constipated babies tend to arch their backs, turn red in the face from straining to pass hard, difficult stool, and may even cry while doing so. If you open their diaper, and are met with poop that looks like pellets or is large and firm has a clay-like consistency, or contains blood, these are indications that your baby is suffering from constipation.

How can I help my baby pass difficult stool?

Massage: Using your fingertips, make clockwise circular motions on your baby’s tummy, or try ‘walking’ your fingers around their belly button. Another good technique is using one or two fingers and stroke from their ribcage to below their navel.

Exercise: While your baby is lying on their back, move their legs by mimicking the movement of riding a bicycle to help loosen their bowels. Also, try holding their knees and feet together and pushing their knees back towards their stomach, similar to the ‘fetal’ position.

Warm bath: A warm bath can help relax their abdomen so they won’t need to strain as much to expel their stool.

Is breast milk better than formula for preventing constipation?

When breastfeeding your infant, as you know, whatever you eat is passed on to your baby. If your infant is experiencing constipation, or firm stool, making a few adjustments to your diet could alleviate their digestive troubles. You may be loading up on dairy products to give your breastmilk a boost, but cow’s milk used in diary could be difficult to tolerate for some infants, so try cutting out diary for a while to see if that clears up your baby’s constipation. There are no guarantees it will, so you’ll have to wait and see. Keep in mind that cow’s milk protein stays in your system for up to two weeks, and could take another two weeks to be eliminated from your baby’s digestive tract.

As discussed earlier, formula is much richer and harder to digest for babies, that being said, if you suspect that your baby’s formula could be causing their constipation, consider switching brands. Definitely consult with your pediatrician for gentler formula alternatives and discuss the possibility of allergies before choosing another brand which may continue to cause constipation.

At what age can I introduce natural stool-softening foods to my infant?

When your baby is about 2-4 months old, you can begin introducing small amounts of natural fruit juices to help them get more regularity in their bowel movements. Start with 2-4 ounces (ounces equivalent to baby’s age) of pure prune or pear juice. The sugars in these juices make them harder to digest so more liquid enters the intestines helping to soften stool. If your baby is younger, you can try supplementing their bottle or breast milk with a few ounces of water in between regular feedings. As always, before giving your baby fruit juice or anything new, its best to consult their doctor first.

Once your infant is ready to transition to puréed or solid foods (around six months old), you can introduce the following high-fibre fruits and vegetables into their diet:

  • pears
  • peaches
  • skinless apples
  • plums
  • broccoli
  • whole grains, such as oatmeal

How to use baby stool softeners?

As with any new product, read the instructions. The baby stool softener you choose will come with detailed instructions on how to safely use the product. If you’ve opted for a digestible liquid, be sure to follow the measurements and mixing instructions. Suppositories are a bit trickier and can be difficult to get in; be patient, gentle and try to keep your baby calm during the process.

Finding an over-the-counter stool softener for infants could prove to be a challenge, so please seek advice from your child’s pediatrician before using a laxative whether a naturally derived food source or store-bought. They will likely suggest products and/or techniques to help relieve your child’s constipation. is reader-supported. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other similar affiliate advertising programs. These programs are designed to provide a way for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to them. This means that will sometimes get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links.


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