Making the switch from milk to solids is a big adjustment for both you and your baby and it naturally comes with lots of changes. Most notably, this change in baby’s diet can affect their bowels and you may find they become constipated. So, you’re probably wondering how often should your baby poop after starting solids?
Introducing new foods will naturally disrupt your baby’s digestive system and you’ll notice some pretty obvious changes when they start eating real food – what goes in must come out! Or in some cases, doesn’t.
As with anything, all babies are different and some will transition smoothly to starting solids, with few disruptions, whereas others will find the change a little more difficult. So here’s everything you need to know about your baby’s bowel movements once they start solids.
When will my baby be ready to start solid foods?
As a general rule, a great time to start introducing solid food into your baby’s diet is around 6 months of age, although you can start as early as 4 months.
However, it’s important to consider your baby’s individual readiness rather than relying solely on their age. Here are some signs that indicate your baby may be ready for solids:
Sitting up with support: Your baby should have good head and neck control and be able to sit upright with minimal support. This helps them swallow and digest solid foods more effectively.
Interest in food: If your baby shows curiosity about the food you’re eating, reaches for it, or watches you eat with great interest, it may be a sign that they are ready to start solids.
How often should baby poop after starting solids?
This is a difficult one to answer as every baby is different. Just like us adults, babies will find their own bowel rhythms. Anywhere from a couple of times a day to once or twice a week is normal.
You want your baby’s poop to be a healthy consistency (not too hard and not too soft) and for them to poop regular stools without straining or discomfort.
How does their poop change when they start solid foods?
When your baby is first born they will pass meconium, a thick, black, tar-like stool and then this will change to be a soft, mustard-yellow or light brown stool which is a paste-like consistency (varying depending on whether they are breastfed or formula-fed.)
Then once you introduce solids into their diet this will change in a number of ways:
This will vary depending on your baby, they may start pooping less or more frequently. A pattern should start to form, so just see what is normal for your baby and use that as a guide. Constipation is very normal and common when babies start eating solid food.
Yep, sorry to say that the smell of your baby’s poo will not be pleasant, and it will start to smell like adult poop.
You’re likely to see every colour of the rainbow in their bowel movements, usually depending on what foods they’ve eaten, eg spinach might make it green or sweet potatoes might make it orange – and beetroot can give you quite the scare!
Technicolour poop is normal however and should settle as their digestive systems adjust. If there is ever blood in the stool or the colour concerns you in any way always speak with your doctor.
Usually, the stool will harden up as solids are introduced, ensure your baby is still getting enough fluids in the form of milk feeds (breast or formula feeds), and introduce cooled, boiled water after they are 6 months.
Yep, brace yourself for all manner of things to appear in their poo! Because babies often don’t chew their food well (if at all before they get their teeth) some foods can appear in their nappy just as they appeared on their plate, eg corn kernels.
Can starting solids cause constipation or diarrhea?
The short answer is, yes. It is possible for infants to experience both constipation and diarrhea when first starting solid foods. A baby’s digestive system is still developing, so their gut might not be completely used to processing solid foods when you first introduce them to their diet. Changes in bowel movements may result from this shift, and constipation or diarrhoea may be the symptoms.
It is uncommon for breastfed babies to experience constipation as breast milk is a natural laxative, but even babies who have been exclusively breastfed may experience constipation and discomfort once they start solid food.
If your baby has a food allergy, it could lead to diarrhoea once they start solids.
Common allergenic foods in infants include cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts. If you suspect that your baby is experiencing diarrhea due to an allergy, consult with a pediatrician for proper diagnosis and guidance. They may recommend allergy testing and help you develop a safe and appropriate diet for your baby.
Managing constipation once your baby starts solids
Introducing all these new foods is exciting, but, as we mentioned above, it can wreak havoc on your baby’s digestive system and it’s very common for them to experience constipation. Often you will notice hard pellets in their nappy or notice them straining and uncomfortable.
Here are a few notes on how to manage constipation in babies after starting new foods and solids.
Should you stop solids if your baby is constipated?
If the constipation is severe you should always speak with your doctor, otherwise, there are a number of things you can do yourself to help manage it:
Monitor their diet: If your baby is not pooping after starting solids, try cutting down on iron rich foods which are known to cause constipation such as rice, bananas (especially green or underripe ones) and baby cereal – also keep an eye on dairy products such as yoghurt.
Ensure they are getting plenty of fluids: Milk (either breast or formula) should remain their primary source of nutrition for the first 12 months and cooled, boiled water can be introduced after 6 months.
Foods that help with constipation
Ensure your baby’s diet is full of fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible to keep their bowel movements regular. If you do notice they are struggling to move their bowels there are a number of foods that are known for helping relieve constipation.
The P-fruits: Pears, plums, peaches and prunes are high in fibre and usually work a treat to get things moving. Start with very small amounts or mix them into their regular meals to start with and build up as needed. Keeping these on rotation in your baby’s diet will help keep them regular.
Other foods that can help include apples, broccoli, whole grains, chia and flax seeds and water.
Managing tummy upsets and discomfort
If your little one is struggling to pass a bowel movement or is in pain or discomfort you can try a few simple at-home remedies, such as:
Bicycle legs (lay them on their back and move their legs in a bicycle motion)
Always speak with your doctor if you are ever concerned about your baby’s bowel movements or stool. Remember that starting solids is an exciting time but one that comes with lots of changes that your baby will have to adapt to.
Take it slow, follow your baby’s cues, and in no time they will be enjoying an array of foods with little fuss.
Why does my baby need solid food?
Introducing solid foods to your baby is a big important developmental milestone because it provides several essential benefits and nutritional advantages as your child grows.
Here are just a few of the reasons why your baby needs solid food in addition to breast milk or formula (once they are of the right age and are showing the signs we mentioned earlier in this article):
Nutritional Needs: As babies grow, their nutritional requirements change. While breast milk or formula provides essential nutrients for the first few months of life, it may become insufficient to meet their growing needs. Solid foods offer a wider variety of nutrients, such as iron, zinc, and certain vitamins, which are important for a baby’s development.
Iron Intake: Around the age of 6 months, a baby’s iron stores from birth start to deplete. Introducing iron-rich solid foods is crucial to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Breast milk and formula alone do not provide enough iron at this stage.
Development of Motor Skills: Eating solid foods helps your baby develop their oral motor skills, including chewing and swallowing. These skills are essential for proper speech development and overall coordination.
Sensory Exploration: Trying different textures and flavours of solid foods is an opportunity for your baby to explore their senses and develop preferences. It can also contribute to their overall sensory development.
Weight Gain and Growth: Solid foods can provide additional calories and nutrients to support your baby’s growth, especially if they are showing signs of hunger and an interest in food.
Establishing Healthy Eating Habits: Introducing solid foods at the right time can help your baby develop healthy eating habits from an early age. It’s an opportunity to expose them to a variety of nutritious foods and encourage a lifelong appreciation for healthy eating.Baby foods that help with constipation – and cause it!
Breastfeeding and infant constipation: Symptoms and causes
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