For the past few days, your baby’s stools have not been as usual: they are harder, very dry and less frequent. Your little one has stomach aches, seems easily irritated… And you feel him push very hard when he poops. Yes, your baby is constipated. Before rushing to the pediatrician, you can relieve your child and help your child have a bowel movement more easily at home. And this, thanks to the food that is in your kitchen. With pediatrician Emilie Eyssartier, director of the Biloba medical assistance platform.
What vegetables and fruits to give a constipated baby?
Your baby’s diet plays a role in the shape, size and color of his stool. Also on their frequencies. It is for this reason that the pediatrician advises to adapt Baby’s diet in case of constipation. Indeed, certain foods help the proper functioning of the transit of babies. Especially fruits and vegetables rich in fiber. The pediatrician mentions several, to be given from 4 months for diversified babies, in the form of purees or compotes (with or without pieces depending on age). For vegetables, she advises giving green beans and leeks. Also lentil-type legumes. On the fruit side, apples, plums, apricots, and prunes. However, if there is one thing that will help your baby, it’s water! The specialist insists: “The first thing to do is to give your child something to drink.” Indeed, one of the first causes of constipation is dehydration.
For babies who have started food diversification, but who do not yet eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, the specialist advises giving them fruit juice. A glass of citrus fruit juice, suitable for children, that is to say, without added sugar or 100% pure juice, in the morning or as a snack. Very rich in fibre, orange and clementine juices, for example, promote transit. Same for prune juice. Vegetable juices, such as green bean, spinach or leek juice, can also be an alternative for babies who are not yet fans of the flavors of the vegetable purées you offer them. However, it should be given in moderation: no more than 100 ml per day, as they can attack the stomach. The specialist also adds : “Fruit and vegetable juices are a good source of hydration and can help ease transit for babies who are not water-loving babies.”
What foods constipate babies?
If certain foods are natural laxatives, others tend to dry out the stool and slow transit. Like bananas and carrots for example. You should also avoid starchy foods, such as rice and pasta. It is better to favor whole wheat starchy foods. For older children, aged 2-3 years, the specialist advises avoiding chocolate, foods that are too sweet and too rich in protein, which promote constipation.
Note that the beginning of food diversification can be a source of temporary constipation because babies’ intestines need to adapt to new foods. However, if constipation persists, do not hesitate to consult your pediatrician.
Anti-constipation meal ideas for babies
To help your baby have a bowel movement, offer meals containing green vegetables. To help you, here are some meal ideas perfect for constipated babies. The pediatrician offers the same menus for toddlers from 4 months, up to 2-3 years: “Since the new recommendations in terms of food diversification, which consist of introducing as many different foods as possible between 4 and 6 months, there are no age differences except for quantity and texture between menus for 4-6 monthsand the greatest.”
Even before starting dietary diversification, infants can also be constipated, even if they only feed on infant or breast milk. We can also notice it quite quickly, since an infant can poo up to 3 times a day when fed formula, and up to 6 times when breastfed. Therefore, if the diaper of your toddler under 4 months is empty for more than a day, he is certainly constipated. The infant constipation can occur when the baby does not tolerate the milk he swallows, explains the pediatrician. “In this case, an adapted milk can help, after having had a medical opinion”, she declares. Indeed, there are transit special milks, for formula-fed babies. For breastfed babies, the pediatrician advises feeding more often.
However, the specialist insists: the constipation of an infant is not to be taken lightly. “If a breastfed baby actually has constipation, and not just a scant bowel movement, it should be checked out. It is very unusual.”
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