Karo corn syrup loosens stool by drawing fluid into the intestines; it does this because it is sweet and is not digested very well, explains the American Association of Pediatrics. Mayo Clinic disagrees; modern, commercially produced dark corn syrup does not draw fluid into the intestines as of 2015, according to its site.
1 teaspoon of Karo syrup in 2 ounces of water is effective, recommends FamilyEducation.com. This site warns against giving babies too much since it may cause diarrhea and disrupt the balances of salt in their bodies. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 1 to 2 tablespoons of Karo syrup per day on its website.
While small amounts of Karo syrup are not harmful for babies, 1/2 teaspoon of unprocessed bran taken with food twice a day is an effective laxative, states Dr. Greene. This is a less expensive option than store-bought laxatives. Pears, peaches, plums, peas and prunes generally produce softer stool. Juices are effective and gentle, states Dr. Greene, who advises 2 ounces of apple or prune juice twice a day.
Water may also be effective in softening stools for babies, as FamilyEducation.com notes. Parents may give up to 2 ounces of water once or twice a day.