Resources for parents to get through the challenges.

  1. Home
  2. Health

How Long Does It Take For Prunes To Work On A Baby?

Do you have a baby that is crying continuously? Has your baby started refusing feeds? Has it been a while since the last dirty diaper? 

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’ then your baby could be suffering from constipation. 

The most natural way of easing the discomfort of constipation is through eating/drinking prunes. Since our digestive systems are slightly different from that of a baby’s we need to tread carefully and allow them extra time for digestion. It is advised that prunes can help with the process.

But how long does it take for prunes to work on a baby? Usually, the prunes can take effect within 24 hours. You want to help your little one become a fighting fit quickly so let’s look into the benefits of prunes in a little more detail.

Benefits Of Prunes

In a nutshell, Prunes are a dried fruit naturally high in fiber and contain sorbitol which aids digestion and healthy bowel movements. They can be offered to babies in a puree form, juice, or as finger food.

The trickiest part can be getting your little one to actually swallow when feeding them.

The taste is not to everyone’s palate. However, the beauty is that prunes can also be added to foods, and in hindsight, the taste can be masked by your baby’s favorite cereal or porridge. 

Naturally high in vitamins A and C, prunes also have a low sodium and cholesterol content. So apart from the taste, it seems like a healthy option to get your baby’s bowels moving again.

How Long Does It Take For Them To Work?

In pregnancy, your baby has been busy multiplying cells and growing healthy and strong. It is not until after your baby is born that their lungs and bowels start to fully develop.

With this in mind, many of us forget that in order for your little one to poop it takes a lot of time and effort for their digestive system to get started and get busy doing its main job role. 

When feeding prunes to your baby you may expect them to work in a similar timescale to us adults. Generally, prunes can take effect on our systems after a few hours but our baby’s immature digestive system will take longer to process them. 

According to recent reports, prunes are likely to take effect between 12 to 24 hours. This can vary from child to child and also with how severe constipation may be, so only take this as a guide. 

Parents can take extra precautions when their babies are constipated as well as feeding prunes, exercises like ‘bicycle legs’ and rubbing their tummies in a firm clockwise direction can help to move things along quicker. 

How Do I Know If My Baby Is Constipated?

It is important to recognize what constipation looks like in babies. Here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Pooing fewer than 3 times a week.
  • Having difficulty pooing or poos are larger than usual.
  • Dry, hard pellet-like poos.
  • Unusually smelly wind or poo.
  • Your baby may be turning down feeds.
  • Their little tummy may feel firmer than normal.

As mentioned before adults have their routine of passing stools and it is usually more frequent than that of a baby.

Breastfed babies are rarely known to get constipated because of the goodness in moms’ milk. Their bodies are absorbing all the goodness and therefore may only pass a stool once/twice a week.

Formula-fed infants tend to go more often but again probably not your typical once-a-day routine just yet. As long as the poops are soft and easy to pass then you don’t have to worry.

Why Do Babies Get Constipated?

The main reason for constipation in infants is usually down to a change in diet. If you are at the stage where it is safe to consider weaning, your baby may need extra time and help to process the different textures especially if the foods you are feeding are low in fiber.

*Top Tip: Bananas can cause black speckled poops and in some cases increase the chances of constipation*

Constipation can also occur if there is an intolerance to something they or mom has eaten. 

When Is It Safe For My Baby To Eat Prunes?

Typically it is safe for you to start feeding your baby prunes after they hit their first birthday, but as previously mentioned constipation can take hold at any time where there is a change in diet.

It is recommended that babies start the weaning process at around 6 months and many moms are advised to start with bland textures such as porridge and cereals. If you find that your child is becoming constipated then always seek medical advice before jumping on the prune train.

You can feed prunes in a variety of ways and if you have the green light from your pediatrician then go for it, it is important that you keep an eye for any allergy indicators when introducing new foods although prunes have a low allergy risk.

What Dose Should I Give?

This is important as you don’t want to overload your little one’s system. If feeding a pre-packaged puree then half to one of these containers (70g) is thought to get the ball rolling.

As this is recommended only and we all know by now babies don’t have a one size fits all instruction, so it is important to start off small and gradually work your way up.

Keep an eye that your baby’s stool doesn’t become too loose as this can cause a risk of dehydration. Try and experiment with the servings, you can offer it as a juice, or mix it with other fruits for a more varied diet. 

If trying a juice again only offer if you have spoken to a pediatrician and it is not recommended to give more than 110g in one day. 


How long does it take for prune juice to work?

The time it takes to work will vary from baby to baby but typically prune juice will take effect between 12-24 hours. Offering juice is a safe natural way to aid healthy digestion.

When can I give prune juice to my baby?

Once your baby has reached 6 months you are allowed to offer prune juice in a bottle without the need to dilute it. Begin giving around 70g at a time and increase steadily if needed. 

How many servings is prune puree?

If you buy the ready-to-serve prune puree, it is usually two servings. Be sure to check with medical professionals before introducing new foods.

The Final Thought

It can be a parent’s worst nightmare, hearing your child’s painful cries and not having the power to magically make them poop. It can pose a worrying and exhausting battle if it has been going on for a few days, hence the reason that prunes are the best natural laxative you can offer.

Not only that, but they are easily accessible with many baby brands offering ready pureed pouches or just buying them off the shelf from your local grocery store.

Either way, it will give you peace of mind that you are helping them in the best way possible and that they cannot cause any more pain to your child. 

Just remember that every child is different and will require varying amounts to help move things along. Always talk to a licensed medical professional if your baby is under one year old.

There are other remedies that you could try such as sugar water to help relieve constipation.

Good luck and happy pooping!