Have you had to deal with baby constipation after starting solids? Or maybe it’s one of your concerns with starting solids? A change in bowel movements is almost inevitable after starting solids, but there are some things that you can do to help your baby out!
Constipation in Babies
Many parents are understandably worried about constipation. It can cause our babies to be uncomfortable, and no one likes to see that! But what exactly is constipation? And what is it not?
Symptoms of Constipation in Babies
Not having a bowel movement every day is NOT considered constipation. I know it can be worrisome for your baby to all of the sudden go from being regular to not having a bowel movement every day after starting solid foods. But not having a bowel movement daily does not mean that anything is wrong, or that you even need to be concerned! The same thing goes for some straining. Straining can often times just be a baby’s way of figuring out how their body works, and isn’t a sign of constipation.
Here are the symptoms you want to be on the lookout for:
How you can help with constipation in babies starting solids
Any dietitian will tell you that the number one thing you can do for constipation is to work on fluid, fiber and movement. For babies, these take on a little different meaning.
Fluids to help constipation in babies
With babies under one, we really don’t want to be giving much water at all. Breastmilk and formula are all the fluids they need to stay hydrated. So while it is important to ensure that they are getting a good amount of these, you do not need to stress about getting them water.
Fiber to help constipation in babies
Fiber is something that you can focus on for babies fairly easily! The foods that will give babies the most fiber are going to be fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. All of which are fairly easy for babies to eat. Ensure that you are offering a variety of nutritious foods, and your baby will likely get in a decent amount of fiber to help keep them regular.
Movement to help constipation in babies
Movement is another difficult one for babies, especially when they are first starting solids and might not be mobile. Try focusing on things like moving their legs in bicycle kicks, or doing a baby tummy massage to help with getting their bowels moving.
Best baby food for constipation
Now let’s get into some specific foods that you can try incorporating into your baby’s diet to help with constipation after starting solids. Keep in mind though that there is no magic pill when it comes to constipation! There is some research out there about specific foods, but really not a ton. And every baby is going to react differently to different foods. Some of these will work for some babies, but many will honestly not. It’s all about experimentation when it comes to what foods work.
Focus on trying several different fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, pureed or in finger food form, whatever you give your baby. You never know what will work! I know with my daughter, cherry tomatoes, kiwis, and sweet potatoes always seemed to do the trick when she was younger, but we discovered those just by accident!
Baby Foods for Constipation
Try serving these foods to your baby to help with keeping their bowel movements regular.
The P Fruits
(prunes, peaches, pears & plums)
All of these are suitable for babies as soon as they start eating, or around 6 months of age. For apple juice specifically, I recommend using this as a last resort as we want to avoid juice for kids under 2 usually.
For flax and chia seeds, these are great to help with constipation and are very nutritionally dense. Try soaking them in water or liquid first, or simply sprinkle a few on a moist food that they will stick to. I know that there are some wives' tales out there about chia seeds not being safe for babies, but this is not supported by the research. They are a perfectly safe, and nutritious, option for your baby!
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The Bottom Line for Constipation
The best thing you can do is focus on fiber, fluid, and movement for your child. From the diet standpoint, try the foods I’ve mentioned here but know that they are not going to work for everyone! Keep your focus on serving a varied diet to your children to help cover all your bases.
Have you found that any of these foods work for your baby? Or do you have another food that you have found to work better?
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