A lot of mommies have been writing to me asking about constipation and changes in baby’s stool once they start on solids. And while I’d like to remind you guys that I’m not a pediatric professional or an expert in the field whose advise should not be taken as a rule but more as a guide, here is what I know and can share.
Once solid food is introduced to your little one, his or her poop will change. It’s quite natural and more formed food will usually mean more formed poop while runnier food will mean looser stools. Also because the intestines are more mature after 6 months and baby’s body takes much longer to process food, it is able to compact things and hold on to them for longer, which means you’ll see less bowel movements in a day.
But if your baby’s stools become harder, infrequent and seem to be painful to pass it could be the fault of foods such as apple, banana and rice cereal. Cooked carrot and squash are also known to cause constipation as do potatoes and certain dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt. Low-fiber foods such as white rice, white bread and pasta are also cause for concern.
And if it seems like your baby is constipated or is struggling to pass stools, then fiber is the best way to go. Anything containing bran, known for it’s high-fiber content, should help loosen your baby’s stool. Whole-wheat pasta and brown rice will also help.
Fruits such as papaya, mango, plums and pears are known to create softer stools. So do peaches, apricots and prunes if you can find them here. Try oats instead of cereal and include peas, sweet potato and spinach in your child’s vegetable servings.
Hydration is also key in alleviating constipation so don’t forget to offer the breast (formula may worsen constipation) and sips of water often.
However it is very important to keep in mind that although it maybe tempting to cut out constipation-causing foods altogether, your baby will need the nutrients and benefits of these foods to grow and develop healthily. So unless he or she is quite constipated don’t cut them out of their diet completely.