Introducing solids is an exciting time for baby and parents alike! However, sometimes this exciting life event can be following by something not so fun: constipation. Read on to learn about how to prevent and relieve constipation in babies after starting solids.
Constipation in Babies after Starting Solids
Introducing solids is a major milestone in your baby’s life. Whether breast or bottle feeding, adding actual, real live food into baby’s diet is the cause for celebration. But you won’t be celebrating for long if your baby gets constipated after starting their eating journey.
Luckily there are some steps you can take to prevent constipation in babies after starting solids. If your baby does become constipated, there are some easy natural remedies than can relieve your baby. If constipation is prolonged, contact your healthcare provider.
How to Prevent Constipation When Starting Solids
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When you begin to introduce food, it’s easy to get carried away because you’re so excited. Especially if baby is eager to start eating, you may think, what’s the harm in feeding them three meals a day?
For some babies, this is fine. For others, it can be too overwhelming on their little tummies and they end up… you guessed it, constipated.
Instead, try to offer only one meal a day for a week or two and see if your baby’s bowel movements continue to be normal. If yes, you can up their intake, but if you’re not seeing poopy diapers, you might take a break for a few days, or offer specific foods (see below).
Provide Fruits and Veggies
If your baby is six months old, he/she is ready for fruits and veggies. Because we chose baby-led weaning, we gave pieces of the fruit and vegetables themselves, rather than purees. This allows baby to get the fiber needed to keep their digestion normal.
Processed foods or prepared baby food with a lot of added sugar can contribute to constipation. Check the ingredients on your baby food carefully. I’m a proponent of giving baby minimally processed whole foods to avoid this issue all together.
Baby should be drinking small amounts of water with each meal (usually a couple of ounces).
Finding the right cup might take some trial or error. This cup was the easiest for my first daughter to drink from, but my second preferred a traditional sippy cup like this one, with the stopper removed (she wouldn’t take a bottle and had no interest in a traditional sippy cup at first).
If your baby is like mine and won’t take a bottle or cup (first, congratulations on not losing your mind in the past six months!), you might give them a wet facecloth to suck on, so at least they’re getting a little water. Of course, keep offering sippy cups and they will eventually figure it out.
How to Relieve Constipation in Babies After Starting Solids
Even with the best of intentions, your baby still may end up constipated. Eating people food is an adjustment to the tummy and every baby reacts differently. If this happens, don’t worry. There are plenty of natural remedies that can help baby. Be sure to contact your doctor or care provider if constipation is prolonged.
To end constipation in babies, encouraging them to eat ‘p’ foods can be helpful. ‘P’ foods include prunes, pears, peaches and plums.
You can try baby food made of these fruits, or simply give sections of the fruit cut into graspable pieces. Prune juice is another option.
It should be said that this does not extend to ALL ‘P’ foods. Pasta and Pringles will not help your baby!
Along with prune juice, sometimes small amounts of watered-down apple juice can help baby poop.
Avoid the Brat Diet
Along with feeding your baby certain foods, there are foods you should avoid, namely the ‘BRAT’ diet. This includes Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast (or any bread). Cut these foods out of baby’s diet until the constipation has been resolved.
Sometimes warm water can help make baby poop (some babies poop every time they are in the tub!). Plop baby in the tub for a bit and see if it helps.
If baby is unhappy in the bath, a warm hot water bottle placed on the tummy (be sure it’s not too hot) can have the same effect.
Moving baby’s legs in a bicycle motion can also get things going.
Lots of Water
A healthy amount of water can also help relieve constipation. Check in with your doctor on how much water is appropriate to give your baby. You don’t want to give too much, as it can fill up baby’s tummy, and make them want to nurse less. Usually a few ounces is sufficient.
If all these natural remedies do not work, you can try a glycerin suppository. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before trying this.
When my daughter was constipated, we used a quarter of a suppository. You can use a bit of Vaseline to make it easier to insert. You will need to insert it and let it melt (it should only take a couple minutes)
Although you may feel uncomfortable, it doesn’t cause baby any pain. You will need to distract the baby so they stay still. A game of peekaboo should do the trick.
Warning: suppositories can work very quickly for some babies. Be ready for poop to come quickly. If baby’s been constipated for a while, have a few back-up diapers ready. Our pharmacist told me her daughter filled four diapers within minutes of using the suppository!
Wrapping It Up
Constipation in babies after starting solids is a not-so-fun, but fairly normal part of babyhood. Taking these preventative measures and using these remedies will have your baby back to normal in no time (you may even long for the days of no poopy diapers!).
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