Baby Constipated After Starting Solid Foods? Why It Happens And What To Do

Baby Constipated After Starting Solid Foods? Why It Happens And What To Do

It’s normal for babies to struggle with their bowel movements! But if your baby is constipated after starting solid foods, you might wonder why, and what you can do about it! 

Babies are still growing, and their digestive systems are no exception! A switch to solid foods marks a big change for their growing tummy, and while it’s surely exciting, this may come with its own set of challenges to overcome. 

Looking to find out more, and maybe even what to do to help solve this commonly reported occurrence? Read on and we will tell you everything you need to know!

Table of Contents

Signs Of Constipation In Babies

Unfortunately, constipation is common in children. Every child will be different, but with their extra sensitivity and still underdeveloped digestive systems, infants are much more likely to become constipated than adults. This is especially true when a change is introduced to their diet! 

In the first month, your baby is likely to pass a stool once or more per day. After around a month or two, however, the frequency should decrease. During this time it is more likely that the baby could become constipated, and after introducing solid food, later on, the likelihood is even higher. 

Some signs of constipation are: 

  • Fussiness
  • Hard dry poops 
  • Pain during bowel movements 
  • Blood in the stool or toilet paper 
  • Belly pain 
  • Bloating 

Not all children will have a bowel movement on a regular schedule or every day, so before assuming your child is constipated, try to make sure that the symptoms are in line with what you are thinking. 

What Is Constipation?

To get a better idea of how to help relieve constipation, it’s best to first have an idea of what it is exactly, how it is caused, and generally how it works. Starting from the most basic details, constipation is when stools become hard and difficult to pass, leading to discomfort and other complications. 

While your baby does not need to poop every day, if things have become inconsistent, or you have noticed a large gap between poops, constipation may be to blame. But even then, the real determining factor behind constipation is the baby’s ability to pass stool easily. 

What Can Cause A Baby To Be Constipated?

There are plenty of reasons why a baby might become constipated. Babies are quite sensitive to anything put in their bodies, and beyond that may run into digestive issues for no apparent reason at all. Still, there are some common causes that parents can look out for. 

Some of these are: 

  • Dehydration 
  • Change in diet 
  • Medication 
  • Allergies 
  • Premature potty training
  • Change in routine
  • Transition to solid food

One of the main culprits behind constipation after switching to solid food comes from lack of fiber. This is because your baby will need a lot more of the stuff in order for their digestive system to process food the right way. Without adequate fiber the stools will be hard and difficult for your baby’s still weak digestive tract to take care of, resulting in constipation. 

Stress, along with changes in routine can also be partially to blame for instances where your baby is having trouble pooping. As is true for anyone, when they are stressed out a baby’s whole system can get thrown out of whack, and because they are transitioning to solid food, they may be experiencing some constipation related to all of the change going on. 

Helping A Constipated Baby

Luckily there are some ways you can get some sweet relief for your young one. There are various different home remedies and tricks to pick up to get around this common issue. To give you one less thing to stress over (we understand parents have plenty) we’ve collected some popular tricks and trustworthy home remedies for you to try!

Identify The Issue

Before setting out to fix something, in every instance it is advisable to be sure of what it is you are fixing in the first place, and how. Constipation can be caused by lots of different things, and so approaching a solution based on assumptions or haphazard guessing is not the best way to go about doing things. 

To help identify what is causing constipation it can be useful to simplify your baby’s diet, narrowing things down to serving them only one solid food to start. Then you can slowly introduce other solid foods individually every other day. By doing it this way you can start a process of elimination so you’ll know precisely which food(s) are triggering constipation!

Fiber Rich Foods

A lot of the time constipation is caused by a lack of appropriate fiber in the baby’s diet. This can quickly lead to hardened stools and constipation, especially as your baby’s stomach is still adjusting to digesting solid food in the first place! 

To help ease their digestive process, you can try introducing fiber-rich foods to their diet. A rule of thumb that is sometimes taught by pediatric dietitians is to remember that most fruits beginning with the letter “P” tend to be high in fiber, and can be first in line in your toolbelt for fighting back against your baby’s constipation. 

Some popular “P” fruits that are given to babies for constipation are: 

  • Prunes 
  • Peaches 
  • Pear
  • Plums 
  • Papaya 
  • Pineapple

Prunes are notoriously packed with fiber and are a super efficient option for getting this problem solved fast. A popular trick for moms (chances are you’ve been subjected to it yourself) is to feed constipated babies prune juice to loosen them up. Try mixing an ounce of prune juice with water and giving it to the baby every few days, moms swear by it, so you know it’s gotta be good. 

There are also some other foods (not with P this time!) that are packed with fiber and can be suitable for babies like: 

  • Apricots 
  • Berries 
  • Nuts (be careful, some of these are a choking hazard)
  • Beans 
  • Whole grain 
  • Kiwi

Foods To Avoid For Baby Constipation

While introducing your infant to new foods it’s always recommended to start with simple foods that are easy to chew, and that is also, of course, tasty for babies! This leads to lots of soft meals with applesauce, cereals, bananas, and potatoes. These foods are surely delicious, and even good for babies, but can actually cause problems with constipation! 

These foods are great to give to your baby while introducing them to solid foods, and we are by no means suggesting cutting them out of the diet of your infant. It remains true, however, that if your child is currently experiencing constipation, these may be foods you want to avoid. 

Baby Belly Massage

Stimulating the baby’s digestive system with a light massage can sometimes be useful in encouraging a poop. Try rubbing near their belly button in a light circular motion with your hand. This can help to relax their stomach muscles to help ease the process of pushing the digested food down the tract. 

Performing a light belly massage can also help to alleviate some of the discomforts that your baby has been experiencing as a result of their constipation. This can help to relax them and lower their nerves, providing another side benefit to this easy trick. 

Probiotic Food/Supplements

Probiotic foods are a great choice not just for a constipated baby, but for anyone looking to improve their gut health. Probiotics are naturally occurring bacteria that are found in the stomach. These bacteria work to help break down the waste and promote regular healthy bowel movements. 

Introducing probiotic foods to a baby can be slightly complicated because many of them contain other things that might contribute further to constipation: cheese is probiotic but has milk, as is the same for yogurt products. 

While there are some other options like pickles, tempeh, and various other fermented foods, if you are trying to keep things simple you could instead consider giving them a probiotic supplement, like one provided by many brands commonly available in drug stores! 

Water

It can be beneficial to your baby’s digestion to start introducing some water each day. You can try giving them around 4oz of water to help aid in their hydration. This should help to soften the stool, and make it easier for your little one to get the deed over with. 

Introducing water this way does not mean replacing formula or breast milk entirely. Your baby is still getting essential nutrients from the breast milk that they need for proper growth, and the water really only is needed to help in relieving their constipation. 

Conclusion

Starting a baby on solid foods is an exciting achievement and a mark of the growth of your little one, but it comes with its own share of challenges. With their young and sensitive bellies eating solid food for the first time can be a lot to handle, sometimes leading to constipation. 

As a parent, it can be hard to figure out what to do when you already have so much on your plate, but we hope that knowing some of the tricks listed above helps you in understanding why your baby might be constipated, and what you can do to help them. 

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