While I’m sure Sophie is going to kill me for writing about this, for now she’s too young to know so I’m going for it! Soon after introducing solids to Sophie, she became really constipated. In chatting with my mama friends, it sounds like constipation in babies is super common as their little tummies adjust from just breast milk or formula to real food. That being said, while it’s common, it doesn’t have to be something that persists for a long time. If it does persist, it’s worth looking into the below factors.
You can read more about food sensitivities here, but one of the symptoms of a food sensitivity is that it can slow down your digestion. We’ve noticed that if a client has an egg sensitivity, constipation is often a main result. One thing with babies that is really useful is to introduce a new food one at a time, particularly if it’s a common allergen food. For Sophie, we did this with most foods (but I got lazy after a while and didn’t if it wasn’t a common allergen) and left three-four days between a new food. That way, if something changes with the baby’s digestion, it is really obvious what food it was.
Reflecting back (I didn’t realize this at the time) when we moved away from purées to more truly solid food, that was when there was the biggest difference. I tried to give her as much extra liquid (bone broth and water) as possible, but she wasn’t super interested in liquids other than breastmilk. Either way, make sure you’re offering extra liquid.
We’ve got so much content on probiotics on our site, so feel free to do a quick search above for more on probiotics, but when it comes to digestion, probiotics can be really helpful. For Sophie, she was born C section and had a major round of antibiotics at 4 months old, so I knew her beneficial bacteria was lacking. We used probiotics from the get go, including Bio Gaia (which I didn’t notice much of a difference with), HMF Baby B, Infant Gut Pro and most recently Klaire Labs Infant Probiotic. The best result I found was with the Klaire Labs.
Coming back to the notion that baby’s tummies are so immature and teeny tiny when they start getting solids, castor oil belly rubs can be an awesome and natural way to help increase circulation and stimulate digestion. A word of warning: this is NOT to be ingested by the baby. I found good instructions on this blog that you can follow, but essentially you are starting at the top left of the baby’s stomach, just below their rib cage and making a circular motion, clockwise. You use about a dime size of the oil, so not much and just massage around and around. This will stain their clothes the way oil does. We would do this right after Sophie’s bath, and then zip up her onesie so that her hands didn’t get in it and put her to bed for the night.
I cringe to recommend juice but will admit that we used this for a short time with Sophie and it really helped. (It’s not recommended to give juice to a baby under one, FYI). For us, it was such a small amount she drank and such a short amount of time, you do what you have to do! This works because the prunes have a high sorbitol content, which has laxative properties.
Something we continued for longer was a combination of prune and apricot purée. I took dried apricots and prunes and soaked them in hot water overnight and then put them in the food processor, without the water and made a chunky purée. You could also blend in the blender for a smoother purée.
At the time of Sophie’s constipation, she wasn’t yet crawling, so she really wasn’t very active. Just like with adults, movement helps keep things moving! Bicycle legs was a good way to get her digestion going and would often result in a poop very soon after we did it!
Last but not least, I suggest you go gradually with the food introduction to let their little stomachs adjust slowly. I remember feeling like there were so many foods I wanted Sophie to try so early on, but in retrospect, there is so much time. Their taste buds change too, so foods they don’t like one minute they love the next and vice versa.
You might not be surprised to see that many of these are similar recommendations for babies as adults. After all, babies are just mini humans, right? If you are struggling with constipation, please book a free call with us to learn more about working 1:1 with us.