7+ Baby Foods that Help with Constipation
Constipation in babies is fairly uncommon and many parents confuse irregular bowel movements with constipation. Babies can poop anywhere from every feed to once a week. But rather than frequency, you want to look for consistency and whether they are hard or soft. Then once your baby starts on solid food this can change as their little digestive systems adjust to their new diet and certain foods they eat can cause constipation. But if your baby is constipated, there are also plenty of specific foods you can give them that will help relieve constipation and help keep your baby’s bowels happy.
What foods help relieve constipation?
Once you start introducing solids, your baby’s poop schedule might change drastically. As we mentioned, most important thing is not how often they poop, but more so how hard or soft it is. Constipation in babies will often show up as pain or discomfort or strain, and they may have a hard or bloated tummy.
You want to make sure your baby is eating a high fibre diet with their solid foods to help keep their bowel movements regular. The top foods for helping to manage and relieve constipation are:
Pears, plums, peaches and prunes are seriously high in fibre and can work a treat for bowel movement. Rotate these solid foods in your baby’s diet to help keep them regular, and then dose them up when they need a little extra help. Prunes can also be particularly effective in getting things moving, so remember to start with small amounts and work up depending on your child’s needs.
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An apple a day can keep more than just the doctor away, they’re also handy for helping to prevent constipation. Apples are high in fibre and are a great regular addition to your baby’s diet and are sweet and most kids love them.
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So broccoli might be a harder sell too your little one, especially as they get older, but broccoli is a great source of fibre (and not to mention a host of other nutrients). Keeping this one as a regular staple in their diet is great for your baby’s digestion.
Make sure you are giving your baby whole grains, so whole grain bread breads (rather than white bread), pasta, oats, quinoa etc. Not only are these better for your baby, but they’re foods that are also in fibre and nutrients than white varieties that are low in fibre.
These fibre rich goodies are amazing for baby constipation once they’ve moved from breast milk to starting solid foods. They’re perfect for digestion and support a flourishing gut microbiome (how good!), plus are packed with nutrients! Totally tasty in a purée or mash, sweet potato is oh-so-gentle on your baby’s tummy.
Chia seeds, flax seeds or LSA
If your baby is constipated, these are great for their diet. Particularly if you have a fussy eater as they can be snuck into baby cereal, porridge, smoothies or even baked into muffins or slices and they are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre helping keep bowel movements regular. These are best given to babies over nine months, but always speak with your doctor if you are unsure.
Once your baby is over six months (and over breast milk) you should be making sure your baby is getting plenty of water in their diet every day. They will get much of their daily water needs from food and milk but as they grow they will need more and it’s a good habit to get them into and enjoying from an early age. Good fluid intake is such an easy way to soften your baby’s constipation.
It’s good to avoid giving your baby too much fruit juice as it is high in sugar, however when they are struggling to get a bowel movement a small amount of apple juice, prune juice pear juice can work a treat. Dilute it with water and just start with small amounts, as a little will go a long way.
What foods cause constipation?
The most common food that causes baby constipation might just surprise you: bananas. Bananas are a staple in most children’s diet, they are a great first food and convenient on the go snack as your child grows. And not to mention most kids love them. However, if you notice your baby is struggling then maybe cut back on their banana intake, and make sure you’re not giving them green or underripe ones as these will make their constipation worse.
Dairy products are another common culprit when it comes to constipation in babies, especially because kids love it and their diets are often packed full of it. However, if you are worried it’s contributing to their constipation it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before cutting out dairy.
Rice and rice cereal
Rice cereal is often given to babies as a first food, and rice is a great addition to their diet as they grow, however, be mindful that too much rice can be difficult on a baby’s digestive system. Rice absorbs water in the gut, meaning it can make hard stools, which leads to constipation. Brown rice is much friendlier on baby tummies, so opt for this rather than white rice.
Just like us adults, most babies suffer from constipation from time to time and this is perfectly normal. When babies are being introduced to solid foods or new tastes, and as they go through fussy phases as they grow, they will likely experience bouts of constipation. Managing it through their diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains is the easiest way to stay on top of it and look after their digestive system. Making sure to cut back on those tricky baby constipating foods are also key to healthy baby poop. However, if you feel concerned or it is happening regularly you should always speak with your doctor about possible solutions.
Emmy Samtani Follow +
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
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