Experts Say: A Rough Start to Solids

Category: Newborns

Need help with introducing your baby to solids? Read on.

 

Ever since I started my daughter on solids, she has been having constipation. I’ve tried cutting down the amount of solids I feed her and have even changed the texture but it does not seem to be working. Is there any way to make this easier for her? 

 

Young children usually have bowel movements several times a week. Your child may go after every meal, or she may wait a day or two in between.

 

Constipation may occur when starting solids for your baby as his or her body is learning to digest new foods. Low-fibre foods and not enough fluids also contribute to constipation.

 

Offer more fluid. If you’re breastfeeding, try to nurse a little more; if you’re bottle feeding, offer an extra bottle. You can also offer small amounts of water in your baby’s bottle or cup. If your child becomes dehydrated, his system will respond by absorbing more fluid from whatever he eats or drinks – and also from the waste in his bowels. The result is hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.

 

To help keep your child's stools soft, increase the amount of fluid she drinks. Water is your best choice, but a little juice mixed with water can help. Some fruit juices, like apple juice and prune juice, are natural laxatives. Start small — offer 30 to 60ml of diluted fruit juice (fruit juice mixed with water) in your baby’s bottle or cup. Limit juice intake though since it can increase the risk of tooth decay and a feeling of fullness.

 

Boost your child's fibre intake such as fruits and vegetables. You can serve these to your baby alone or mixed into other foods, like baby cereal. 

 

Get physical. Movement seems to help improve constipation. Bicycle his legs while he's on his back, and if he's ready for it, give him more space and time to crawl, cruise, or walk. Gentle massage to the tummy may also help alleviate constipation.

 

Constipation in children usually isn't serious. Take your child to a doctor if constipation lasts longer than two weeks or is accompanied by fever, weight loss or painful tears in the skin around the anus. Furthermore, painful bowel movements caused by large, hard stools also may lead to withholding. If it hurts to poop, your child may try to avoid a repeat of the distressing experience.

 

 

Question answered by:

Sarah Sinaram

Dietitian

Mount Alvernia Hospital

Thanks for sharing!