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 to 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 to your baby will naturally disrupt their digestion 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, with little 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.
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 are looking for healthy consistency (not too hard and not too soft) and regular stools without straining or discomfort.
How does their stool change when they start solids?
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 food into their diet this will change on 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 common when babies start solids.
Yep sorry to say this 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 dependant on what they’ve eaten, eg spinach might make it green or pureed carrots might make it orange – and beetroot can give you quite the scare! Technicolour poo 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 plenty of milk feeds, and introducing cooled, boiled water after they are 6 months.
Undigested foods appear
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.
Managing constipation once your baby starts solids
Introducing all these new foods to your baby is exciting, but it can wreak havoc on their little digestive systems 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.
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 known constipating foods such as rice, bananas (especially green or underripe ones) and cereal – also keep an eye on dairy products such as yoghurt.
- Ensure they are getting plenty of fluids: Milk 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)
- Warm bath
- Tummy time
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 eating an array of foods with little fuss!