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If you are new parents, discussing your baby’s pooping habits must be a regular thing now. You’ll be surprised at how much you think, discuss, and worry about your baby’s poop schedule. If your baby has a hard time passing stool or passes a lot of gas, then without a doubt, you will worry and might think of ringing doctors at odd hours. We understand your concern, but there is no need to panic. Your little one might be suffering from constipation, and it is common in babies and toddlers.
The food that a baby consumes directly influences his pooping habits. There are some foods which tend to constipate babies, especially when you start giving solid foods to them. Read on to know about the various food substances that cause and relieve constipation in children, and find out how you can ensure that your child has a good bowel movement.
Foods That Cause Constipation in Infants
If your child has just started eating solid foods and he is having difficulty in passing stool or has dry and hard stool, then it is a sign of constipation. There are many causes of constipation in babies, but it primarily depends on your baby’s fluid intake and diet. If you are checking your baby’s diet plan, then keep in mind this list of foods that may cause constipation in babies.
1. Milk Protein
Milk protein can cause constipation in babies. Milk proteins other than in the breast milk can cause this problem, and as a parent, you need to be careful once you start giving formula milk to your baby. Sometimes, babies may even develop an allergy to the protein present in breast milk, which may result in constipation.
2. Formula Food
Babies are often fed formula in their early years. Formula food consists of ingredients that are difficult to digest, which might result in constipation. Even formula milk contains complex proteins that cause hardening of the poop.
Rice and porridge are the two solid food for babies that most mothers think of giving as the first food to their children. But some babies may find it hard to digest rice and may feel constipated.
Carrots, when given raw or in the form of juice, is usually good for babies. But, if you feed steam-cooked carrots to your baby, then he might feel constipated. Steamed carrots tend to solidify the poop making it difficult for babies to excrete.
5. Raw Bananas
Babies are often fed raw bananas, as cooked vegetable, or as a porridge made out of sundried raw banana powder. Although giving a ripe banana is good, unripe banana is not. If you give an unripe banana to your baby, he might feel constipation and have gastric problems. Under-ripe or unripe bananas have starch in them, which can be hard for a baby to digest.
Apples are known to harden the stool. and consuming apples is one of the the best home remedies for diarrhoea. But steamed apples, a popular baby food, can cause constipation in babies. You should also avoid giving applesauce to your baby as it contains pectin protein, which hardens the stool.
Cheese is an excellent source of many essential vitamins and minerals and is a superfood for babies. It is usually given to babies as a snack. However, cheese is low in fibre and can cause constipation.
8. White Bread
White bread, made with all-purpose flour, is a processed form of grain and is low in fibre as compared. Fibrous foods are known to improve digestion. However, white bread lacks fibre in substantial quantity and can cause constipation in babies.
Tubers are high starch vegetables that give babies the energy to grow and function. However, most of the tubers, except sweet potato, are low in fibre and when consumed, can make it difficult for babies to pass stool.
Yoghurt contains good bacteria that facilitate digestion. But, it also has a binding effect on food substances and sometimes may cause constipation in children.
Foods That Help Relieve Constipation in Infants
So now you know which foods cause constipation in babies, you should obviously avoid incorporating them into your baby’s diet. But if your baby is already suffering from constipation, then include these high-fibre foods in your baby’s diet. These foods will not only relieve the condition but also prevent it from occurring in future.
Prunes are rich in fibre and a great source of multivitamins. Prunes also help in curing constipation. Being a good source of fibre, they can ease and speed up the bowel movements. Prunes can be soaked overnight and given to babies first thing in the morning, or you can also give them prune juice. Prunes and prune juice are an excellent remedy for constipation.
Beans are one of the cheapest fibre-packed foods that you should include in your baby’s diet to aid his bowel movements. Beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which help in digestion and help them excrete properly.
3. Green Peas
Fresh green peas available in winters are loaded with fibre. Peas can be given as a simple snack by just boiling and seasoning. Infants can be given boiled peas in pureed form to aid bowel movements.
Apricots are another seasonal fruit used for treating constipation. It can be given raw or in the form of juice. Dried apricots are also available in the market, which can be soaked overnight and given to babies.
Oatmeal, a common and widely preferred food for babies, is an excellent food for children with recurrent episodes of constipation. Oatmeal provides babies with much-needed fibre and prevents stool from hardening.
Pears are rich in fibre and Vitamin C. Both fibre and Vitamin C aid in proper digestion and relieve constipation. Babies can also be given a few drops of fresh pear juice to cure constipation.
Broccoli, a superfood for babies, is a rich source of protein and fibre. Broccoli is also a good source of fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folate. Green vegetables like spinach and broccoli add weight to stools, making them easier to pass through the gut. You can give small steamed broccoli florets to your baby as finger food. Broccoli also contains sulforaphane, which may protect the gut and aid digestion.
8. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes, unlike other tubers, are one of the best baby foods and they do not cause constipation. Sweet potatoes can help in relieving constipation and provide with a lot of essential nutrients and carbohydrates for growing babies.
Berries are rich in antioxidants and are an excellent food for babies and toddlers. They are also high in fibre, which makes them a must-include food in your baby’s diet. You can give berries to your baby as raw or in pureed form. By eating berries, your little tot won’t complain of constipation.
10. Whole Grain Bread
Whole grains foods have high fibre content in them, which is good for the heart as well as for the digestive system. You can give whole wheat bread to your baby – it is high in fibre and will prevent constipation in your little one.
1. How Will You Know That Your Baby is Constipated?
If your baby is constipated, he obviously won’t be unable to communicate that to you. So watch out for these signs of constipation in him –
- He will have three or fewer than three bowel movements in a week.
- His stools may be hard and dry.
- He will have a hard time pooping.
- He might cry and have a stomach ache.
2. How Can You Prevent Constipation in Babies?
To prevent and treat constipation in babies, here’s what you can do:
- If your baby has crossed the six-month mark, you can make him sip water in small amounts. Before six months, he will get all the hydration he needs through breast milk. Later, you can start with foods that contain water and fibre as these will help move stools easily through his intestines.
- Include high-fibre foods in his diet. Make prunes, berries, whole grains, and pulses in his diet as they are high in fibre content and aid digestion.
- Get your child into the habit of pooping. Once he is ready for potty training, make sure you make him sit on the toilet seat for at least 10 minutes at about the same time daily. It will get him into the habit of going to the toilet.
Many times, parents go through a lot of stress when their babies suffer from constipation. If your child is constipated, don’t worry. By making slight changes in his diet and regular physical activity (however, small) can cure constipation and other stomach-related problems in him. However, if the problem persists and your baby doesn’t feel better, consult a doctor.
Also Read: Indigestion in Children