Usually, babies that receive new formula tend to be more susceptible to constipation.
Telling if your child is truly a constipated baby can be tricky. But if you find that your little one is having trouble with bowel movements, you may wonder what is the best formula for constipation. Should you try Enfamil? Similac?
The best baby formula for constipation depends on a variety of factors, which we will discuss. However, there certainly are some formulas that can be better for constipation-prone babies. We will go into detail about our top picks of infant formula for constipation, including:
- Formula and Infant Constipation
- Our Top Three Recommended Picks
- Six Digestive Soothing Formulas
- #1 Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula – Best Overall
- #2 Gerber Extensive HA GMO-Free Lactose-Free Formula – Best for Dairy Allergies/Sensitivities
- #3 Enfamil ProSobee Soy Formula – Best Soy Formula
- #4 Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula – Best for Gas
- #5 Similac Pro-Total Comfort Formula – Best for Added Nutrition
- #6 Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula – Best Hypoallergenic
- How to Choose the Best Formula For Constipation
- Common Constipation FAQs
- WhICH Formula Should I Pick?
Formula and Infant Constipation
Baby formula is not as easily digested as breast milk. Therefore, formula fed babies can be more likely to be constipated.  Some formulas may be gentler on your baby’s system and reduce the chances of them becoming constipated.
However, it can be difficult to tell if your baby is actually constipated. One way to check is from your baby’s poop. Bowel movement patterns can vary from baby to baby and even week to week. Some infants regularly go poop each day while others can go a few days in between poops.
What Are Some Signs of Constipation?
Look for these warning signs of constipation:
- Difficulty passing stool
- Not frequent bowel movements
- Irregular straining during bowel movements.
- Swollen belly
- Cramps that are painful
- Baby’s stool in the form of very hard pebbles or liquid stool that passes around blocked hard stool
You may need to watch your baby for a period of time to see if these symptoms are occurring regularly or if they are just having a flare-up of constipation. If it seems like they are suffering from chronic constipation, there may be a few different causes.
What Causes Constipation?
Common causes of constipation include:
- Low fiber diet
- Type of baby formula (extensively hydrolyzed vs. partially hydrolyzed )
- Cow’s milk
- Switching from breast milk to formula
- Certain medications
- Certain medical conditions
Babies with allergies or sensitivities are especially prone to constipation. If your child has an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, they may suffer from gas, constipation, and painful digestion.
A baby with a dairy allergy will generally become constipated when ingesting baby formula that contains lactose. However, sometimes they can have the opposite issue, diarrhea. Another common allergy includes soy. A baby allergic to soy may experience digestive upset with a soy-based formula.
Switching from breast milk to formula can also lead to constipation. Breast milk is the most nutritionally sound and easily digested solid foods for a baby. Though baby formulas have come a long way, they are still not identical to breast milk. If you switch to formula your baby’s system may go through a brief period of shock in which constipation may occur.
Related: Breastfeeding VS Formula Feeding
Choosing the best infant formula for constipation may help you relieve your child’s constipation.
Our Top Three Recommended Picks
Questioning if you should try Enfamil for constipation? Consider Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula. This baby formula is packed with probiotics, or the good bacteria that live in your child’s gut. These probiotics help promote soft and regular baby’s stool. Their unique blend of two probiotics helps to improve digestive health and make your baby’s system happy!
If you are switching formulas, Enfamil Reguline claims it can improve constipation issues within the first week of use which is greatly appreciated by parents of constipated babies. Aside from the probiotics, it is also nutritionally complete with protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and more. You can rest assured your child is getting the nutrients they need.
- Contains two probiotics
- Reduces digestive issues in a short timeframe
- Nutritionally complete
- Supports immune health & brain development
- Carried by most stores and websites
- May cause gas
- Isn’t Non-GMO
If your formula fed babies have dairy sensitivities, check out Gerber Extensive HA. It is hypoallergenic and extensively hydrolyzed.
This means that the cow’s milk protein that commonly irritates babies (casein) is significantly broken down. When this protein is broken down into tiny pieces it is much easier for infants to digest. This means less constipation and less gas.
As a nutritionally complete formula, it has everything your child needs to grow and bdevelop. It has DHA for brain and eye development.  It also contains probiotics for immune and gut health. Hypoallergenic and made with 100% whey protein, it is well tolerated by most infants.
- Pleasant odor
- Free from GMO
- Contain DHA and ARA that promote eye and brain development
- High vitamin A content
- Probiotics help with digestion and constipation
- Good for babies with lactose intolerance
- Bitter taste
- Thin when mixed compared to other thicker formula products
Another non-dairy option is Enfamil ProSobee Soy Formula. It is a formula that uses a soy plant-based protein instead of dairy. This is excellent for those with lactose milk allergies or sensitivities.
The elimination of lactose can also cut down on constipation. You may find that without dairy your child is less fussy and gassy. The use of plant protein is suitable for many vegan and kosher lifestyles as well.
Complete nutrition keeps your child right on track for growth and development. Added DHA and choline support healthy brain function. Even as a plant-based option it claims to have just as much DHA as other leading formulas. A unique blend of vitamins keeps their immune system working properly too.
- Lactose and dairy-free
- Great for plant-based lifestyles or religious/cultural restrictions
- Includes DHA, vitamins, and choline
- Available in powder or ready-made bottles
- Reduces fussiness in babies with allergies
- Contains corn syrup
- Clumps easily
Does your child have fussiness and gas in addition to constipation? Enfamil NeuroPro Gentlease Infant Formula may be able to help. It gets our pick as the best formula for gas because it has easy to digest proteins.
Specifically a formula designed to reduce gas, crying and fussiness for some infants it works in just 24 hours. It is also non-GMO which is great for conscious parents.
It is available in powder, liquid, tubs, or sticks, making it excellent for travel. Added ingredients like MFGM and DHA help neurodevelopment and support brain building. Included iron is important for growing children. The reusable tub is dishwasher safe, allowing you to spend less on refills.
- Available in a variety of sizes and types (liquid or powder)
- Washable and reusable tub with refills
- Reduces crying, gas, and colic
- Includes MFGM for brain development
- Fast working iron fortified formula helps prevent iron deficiency anemia
- May not prevent constipation as much as other brands
- Some babies dislike the taste
You may want to try Similac for constipation, specifically Similac Pro-Total Comfort Formula. This partially hydrolyzed is made to be gentle on a baby’s delicate digestive system. The broken-down proteins are designed to be easier for their systems to handle, reducing both gas and constipation. This could lead to your little one being happier and more content in general.
In addition to the broken down proteins, it contains a host of other great ingredients. An immune-nourishing prebiotic for health, DHA, lutein, and Vitamin E, and necessary other nutrients.
Your baby will receive sound nutrition to help them grow and develop. It doesn’t contain any GMO ingredients or artificial growth hormones which is ideal for babies.
- Contains prebiotics similar to those in breast milk
- Gentle on baby’s digestive system
- DHA, lutein, and Vitamin E for brain and eye development
- Can reduce fussiness and gas after just one day of use
- Low lactose content
- Less affordable
- Displeasing smell
Finally, we have Similac Alimentum Hypoallergenic Infant Formula. This baby formula is awesome for infants with allergies. It does not contain cow’s milk, so it is safe for babies with a cow’s milk protein allergy.
Its partially hydrolyzed proteins are more readily digestible for infants developing systems. It claims that if your child is fussy or in pain due to a dairy sensitivity, it can relieve these symptoms within 24 hours of use.
This formula also does not contain palm olein oil, which can cause constipation. Instead, it is designed to mimic breast milk and promote softer stools. Added DHA and ARA support both brain and eye development.
This nutritionally sound ingredient is a wonderful option for babies who need a hypoallergenic formula.
- Specialty formula good for protein sensitivities
- Hypoallergenic formula easy on baby’s stomach
- Covered by Insurance (if necessary)
- Supplement with extra calories to help gain weight
- Most babies will find constipation relief on gassiness and colic issues after starting on the formula
- Milk instead of soy-based
- Unpleasant smell
Does soy formula cause constipation? What about cow’s milk formulas? Truth is, the best formula to prevent constipation can vary from child to child. Let’s go through some of the criteria in choosing a suitable baby formula for your child.
Type and Form of Formula
There are many types of formula: cow’s milk protein, soy, hydrolyzed and partially hydrolyzed (where the proteins are broken down for digestion), amino fatty acids (often the most digestible and broken down), low-lactose, and lactose-free. It may take some trial and error to see which kind works best with your little’s tummy.
Types of Formula:
- Cow’s Milk. Includes dairy milk proteins and is the most popular type. Usually the proteins are either partially or extensively broken down for digestive purposes.
- Soy Formula. A plant-based option for babies who have a dairy allergy or sensitivity. Not a great option for babies with soy allergies.
- Specialized Formula. There are various types. It can range from baby formula with added nutritional value for preemies or formula that is designed to alleviate colic.
You may be interested in: How to Transitions from Milk to Formula
Forms of Formula:
- Powder. This is the most common form. It needs to be mixed with water and can be purchased in tubs or sticks.
- Liquid Concentrate. This type needs to be mixed with water as well, but comes as a liquid and not a powder.
- Ready-made. The baby formula and water come mixed and is ready to feed your child.
The more sophisticated or specific the formula composition, the more costly it is. Specialty formulas can cater to allergies, baby digestive issues, or even nutritional supplements. Generally, the most expensive formula costs around $30 a can. You should compare and contrast your budget with your child’s preferences and health needs.
Some formulas are more readily available than others. However, most can be purchased online. Whichever baby formula you choose, you will likely want to pick one that is easily accessible.
It is also helpful to know how long one can of formula can last. Formula is one thing your child cannot wait for if the store happens to be out or shipping is delayed.
Wondering does milk make your babies constipated? Well in some children it can have this effect, especially for those with a lactose or dairy allergy. Other common allergies can include soy or gluten.
If your child has dietary restrictions be sure you choose a formula that will not cause them a reaction or lead to unpleasant symptoms.
Do you want baby formula with only organic formulas ingredients? Do you need a formula that avoids certain ingredients due to sensitivities or preferences? Be sure to thoroughly check the list of ingredients before committing to a certain type and brand.
Common Constipation FAQs
How can I help my constipated formula fed baby?
Aside from baby formula options for your formula fed babies, you can try the following methods to relieve or treat constipation:
- Exercise your child (bicycle their legs)
- Warm baths
- Belly massages
- Dietary changes (depending on age and diet)
There is no true answer. The top formula to treat constipation depends on your baby.
Each child’s digestive system responds differently to different formulas. Your child also may have specific dietary needs or restrictions. Therefore, you may need to try both before you decide which one is better for your baby.
Finding a good formula for baby’s constipation for formula fed babies can take some trial and error. However, to switch formulas spell the possibility of leading to a digestive upset. This can be either constipation or diarrhea. Thankfully, these issues should be short-lived if the baby formula is a good match for your little one.
You should never dilute formulas. The diluting of formula could have serious health implications for your child. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing formulas.
Warm formula hasn’t been proven to be easier to digest or prevent constipation. However, most babies generally prefer warm formula to cold. Keep in mind to always consult your baby’s pediatrician before making any drastic changes in baby’s diet.
When it comes down to deciding what formula helps with constipation, the answer depends on your child’s unique digestive system and needs.
Our top pick formula for formula fed babies is Enfamil Reguline Infant Formula because it is one of the only formulas truly designed and marketed for constipation. It also contains tons of great nutrients like probiotics, DHA, and vitamins and minerals. This makes it all-around a solid choice.
Have you tried the Enfamil Reguline? What’s your go-to formula for constipated babies? Or do you have a better option when dealing with their constipation? Let us know in the comments!
Last update on 2023-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API