Best first foods for baby to avoid constipation
Starting Baby on Solid Food | Longwood Pediatrics
You should generally start solid foods between 4-6 months of age. Starting solids earlier than this will not cause your baby to sleep longer at night and may cause digestive problems. For your baby’s first year, breastmilk or formula is the most important part of her diet. As you introduce solids, make sure that she is still drinking adequate amounts of formula or breast milk.
Feed your baby all solids from a spoon. Putting cereal in the bottle is not a good idea, and part of learning about solids is learning to eat with a spoon. You may want to start solids at a time when your baby is hungry but not starving, such as after he has had a little formula or breast milk, but not after a full milk feeding when he is not at all hungry.
Try to introduce new foods with enthusiasm, but do not force your child to eat something. If your child is not interested in a new food, put it away and try introducing it again later. When introducing new foods, there should be an interval of 2-3 days between each new food so that you will know if your baby is having a reaction to a new food.
If your baby develops vomiting, rash, or diarrhea, please do not give that food again and discuss this reaction at your next visit. If your child develops hives or breathing problems, please call the office.
What foods to introduce
- Feeding suggestions for your baby (download)
Somewhere between 4 and 6 months old, you may begin to introduce first foods such as infant cereals, pureed fruits, pureed vegetables, and pureed meats. Start with about one or two tablespoons of food once or twice a day. It is important to make sure that some of your infant’s early foods contain iron, which is important for all babies’ health. Iron-rich foods include iron-fortified baby cereals, meats, and beans.
Once your child is about 8 months old and sitting up well, you may introduce finger foods such as biscuits, Cheerios, pasta, soft bread/toast, small pieces of soft vegetables or fruits, and shredded chicken or meat.
A note on constipation: Sometimes when a baby starts on solid foods, he will become constipated (hard stools). If your baby becomes constipated, use whole wheat or barley cereal instead of rice cereal and avoid bananas and sweet potatoes, which are constipating. All the fruits which begin with “P” (prunes, plums, pears, peaches) will help soften your baby’s stool, so give them often if your baby is having hard stools. If your baby is constipated, you may also give him 1 ounce of prune juice mixed with 1 ounce of water every day or two.
For the whole first year, breast milk or formula should be your baby’s primary beverage. Typical amounts are listed in the table at the end of the sheet. Fruit juice tends to be high in sugar and fills up babies so they eat less nutritious food. We do NOT recommend giving juice to your baby in the first year.
Food sensitivities and allergies
While food allergies seem to be more common among children than they were in the past, no one knows the reason for this. We do not recommend restricting any specific foods for babies because of concerns about allergies, but if you have food allergy questions or a family history of specific food allergies, please discuss this with your provider.
Citrus fruits and tomatoes may cause a rash around the mouth in young children, but this is not a true allergy and is not dangerous; if it happens, you may want to cut back on these types of foods and try them again at a later time.
Peanuts and peanut butter
Recent research suggests that early and continued eating of peanut products decreases the chance of developing a peanut allergy. Some children will still be allergic to peanuts, but introducing peanuts at 4-6 months can prevent peanut allergy for many children. If your child has other food allergies or severe eczema, (or if your family history causes you to be concerned), please discuss blood testing for peanut allergy before you introduce peanuts.
Other infants should begin eating peanut products at 4-6 months. You can mix a small amount of smooth peanut butter into your infant’s baby cereal or pureed food. Bamba, a peanut puff product (available online and in the Israeli or Kosher food section of some grocery stores) can be crumbled into baby cereal. Give a small amount the first few times, and if it is tolerated without hives continue to feed peanut containing products 3 times a week. Older infants and toddlers should continue to eat Bamba or smooth peanut butter (spread thinly on bread or cracker) 3 times a week.
- Nuts, whole grapes, spoonfuls of peanut butter, round slices of hot dog, hard raw vegetables, popcorn, hard candies, and ice are all choking hazards and should not be given to your child until at least 4 years old.
- All foods you give younger children should be soft and in small pieces.
- Do not give your baby honey until he is over 1 year old (honey can carry botulism spores that are dangerous for a young baby but not for older children or adults).
- Do not home prepare beets, turnips, carrots, spinach, and collard greens while your child is an infant. These can be high in nitrates when prepared at home, but are safe if given as store-bought baby food.
Are There Baby Foods that Help with Constipation?
While parenting brings many surprises, one of them is likely how much you’ll think about poop, or lack thereof, especially during that first year. But here you are worrying about your baby’s digestive tract and convinced that they’re constipated.
If you’ve recently introduced your baby to solid food, then your worries may be on target: solid foods can put a strain on your baby’s developing digestive tract and cause constipation. But there are things you can do to help!
Before you begin treating constipation you should determine if there is really an issue at all. So here’s the scoop on poop and how to tell if your worries are founded and your baby is constipated.
During the first few weeks, you’ll find yourself changing diapers with alarming regularity. Figure in every feed or so.
But don’t despair, because by the time your baby reaches 6 weeks old, they may have a bowel movement only once or twice a day. On the other hand, they may have one only every 7–10 days. (Yep, the frequency really can vary that much.)
The poop is yellow, soft, runny and sometimes lumpy and the smell isn’t unpleasant.
A newborn, formula-fed baby typically poops up to five times a day. At about 6 to 8 weeks, this may decrease to around once a day.
Formula-fed babies have poop that is a camel to brown color with a thicker consistency, more like paste. Most likely, the less-than-aromatic smell means you’ll hermetically seal soiled diapers before you toss them into the garbage.
Signs that your baby is constipated
You’ve noticed that your baby’s tummy isn’t following the schedule that you got used to. Could it be constipation? Here are the signs that could confirm your suspicions:
- You notice that they cry or fuss while they’re trying to have a hard bowel movement.
- The poop, when it does come, is like hard pellets.
- You notice streaks of red blood in the hard poop.
While it’s not easy for a baby on a liquid diet to become constipated, trouble can start when you start introducing your baby to solid foods at around 6 months. Here’s why:
New food types
Think of it as a learning curve: Your baby’s body is learning how to cope with a new kind of food to digest as they move away from their full liquid diet and you need to soften the learning curve. (Pardon the irresistible pun.)
Changes to fluid intake
Decreased fluids will make your baby’s poop harder and more difficult to push out. If they’ve started solids, they may need to up their fluid intake to offset the solid food. And if your baby is teething or feeling unwell, it can also lead to them taking in less fluid than usual.
Lack of fiber
Even though they’re just starting out, babies’ tummies work like ours. While initially the move to solids that have fiber (from breast milk or formula, which don’t) can cause temporary constipation, their tummies will adjust.
Make sure to monitor your baby’s fiber intake and pair it with plenty of hydration for a smooth ride the same way that you monitor yours.
OK, so you’ve confirmed that your baby is constipated. The next step is helping to alleviate the strain on their developing digestive system.
Remember that you can keep offering these foods as your baby develops into a toddler and beyond. In fact, there is little research or evidence to support specific foods (including high fiber ones) in treating or preventing constipation in infants. Most of these recommendations are based on evidence for older adults and children.
Keep in mind that good practice when introducing solids is to introduce foods as single ingredients. That way, if your baby is allergic to certain foods, you’ll be able to more easily trace the source.
If your little one hasn’t tried these foods before, don’t rush the process. Test out one at a time and then introduce combinations once you’re confident they’re well tolerated.
- Back to basics. Give your baby’s digestive tract a break by feeding them mashed avocado or sweet potato purée. These are easy to digest and may give your baby the kick start they need.
- B vegetables. Think broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and beans. Purée these for a meal filled with fiber.
- P fruits. Your grandmother was right — bring on the prunes for quick work. A purée that includes a mix of prunes plus pears, plums, or peaches should work magic. Try subbing the prunes with dates for a change.
- Bring on the fiber. If your baby is over 8 months, you can offer them whole grains like oatmeal, fiber-rich cereals, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice.
- Water intake. Until 6 months an exclusively breastfed or formula-fed baby doesn’t need to drink water. Above this age, you can introduce small amounts of water.
Plums and pears with cinnamon
Cut 2 or 3 pears and plums into small pieces. Place in a saucepan with a small amount of water and simmer until soft. Add in a sprinkle of cinnamon. Blend thoroughly.
Sweet potato with apple and peach
Cut half a sweet potato, one apple, and half a peach into small pieces. Place in steamer basket and cook until tender. Blend until smooth.
Spinach and apple purée
Chop two apples into small chunks and cook in saucepan with about 1/2 cup of water. When they’re tender, add about 1 cup of spinach and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Purée until smooth. Can be seasoned with cinnamon and ginger.
Some sources suggest prune, pear, and apple juices help to increase the water content in poop and can ease constipation.
However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends steering clear of fruit juice for children younger than 1 year old. You can stick with these fruits as purées for similar effects.
What is it about prune juice? The high levels of sorbitol and phenolic substances in prune juice and dried plums act as a laxative and diuretic properties. So if your child is over 1 year old, you can use small amounts of prune juice to encourage their system to run.
Some studies show that constipation may affect as much as 30 percent of children. If your child is part of the unlucky statistic, here are some foods that you may want to give them smaller amounts of until it passes:
- dairy products such as cheese and yogurt
- low fiber foods like white rice, white bread, and white pasta
If you’re like most parents, you’ll be up for whatever you can try to help your baby get comfortable fast. Here are a few tricks that you can use to ease your baby’s constipation:
- Warm baths. These can relax those abdominal muscles and get them working.
- Exercise. Lay your baby on their back and push their legs alternately as if they’re cycling a bike. Alternatively, hold their knees and feet together and push their feet towards their belly.
- Massage. Use your fingertip to draw clockwise circles on your baby’s stomach.
If you see that despite your home remedies, your baby still is having hard stools or hasn’t pooped after 2 or 3 days from their last hard stool, then contact your pediatrician. Especially if you consistently notice blood in their poop or your baby is extremely irritable and appears to be in pain.
While dealing with your baby’s toilet issues may seem a tad unsavory, you’ll soon be so used to it, that you’ll find yourself sharing your insights over coffee with other parents. And don’t be shy about sharing the yummy food combinations you discover to keep things moving.
Constipation in children under one year old
Usually, parents of babies are worried about the exact opposite problem - too frequent stools. Therefore, not everyone immediately understands what to do if a baby under one year old has constipation.
Gastroenterologist, hepatologist at GMS Clinic Sergey Vyalov gave an interview to the Internet portal parents. ru and spoke about constipation in children under one year old.
Constipation, also known as diarrhea, stool retention, discolia, caprostasis, difficulty in emptying the bowel is not a universal condition with unambiguous characteristics. Each person, including a child, has his own indicators of the norm and deviations from it, associated with age, intestinal microflora, diet, state of mind and hormonal background, concomitant diseases. Yet there are a few common points of reference.
What is constipation?
Specialists diagnose constipation if the baby does "big" things:
- regularly and without problems, but passing dry and hard stools;
- with difficulty - the child has to push, the feces do not come out on the first try;
- less than 5 times per day.
In the first six months of life, constipation is a rather rare occurrence, rather, on the contrary, in the period from 0 to 6 months, 6-10 bowel movements per day are considered the norm. Breastfed babies have more frequent bowel movements, while artificial babies have less.
Up to 6 months constipation is rare
Usually, parents of babies in the first months of life are alarmed by the condition opposite to constipation - too frequent bowel movements. But in a baby, regardless of whether he eats breast milk or formula, the intestines should work exactly like this - in a mode that is considered diarrhea for older children and adults.
There should be no other option, at least until the introduction of complementary foods at 4-6 months. After all, the baby receives mostly liquid food, the waste products of which have the same consistency and leave the intestines without encountering any obstacles on the way - the baby has not yet learned to control the sphincter that restrains the release of feces.
The baby's intestines have just begun to "get acquainted" with microorganisms that come from mother's milk, from her skin (the baby licks the nipple), from the environment. Far from all new "partners" are accepted: there are rejected ones, those who have not taken root, and so on. Checking and rejection are accompanied by loose, unstable stools.
Too frequent bowel cleansing does not need correction and treatment if the child is gaining weight and developing properly. Normal appetite and sleep, gas, absence of fever and other signs of illness indicate that parents have nothing to worry about. If the mother of a baby, tired of changing diapers 10 times in one day, wants to change the situation and asks the doctor to prescribe fixing medicines for the baby, then, unwittingly, she will doom her baby to chronic constipation.
Not according to the rules
And yet, in the first 6 months, constipation in infants is not excluded. It can be called:
- microflora transmitted from the mother;
- insufficient fluid volume;
Let's say a woman has too many methane-producing bacteria in her stomach and intestines that cause constipation. They grow rather slowly, ferment, releasing carbon dioxide, which contributes to flatulence and bloating. With this deviation, the woman lives, adapted and learned to solve the problem with the intestines in one way or another. Noticing the same thing in a child, she decides that the baby has inherited her features and "saves" him with the same means, making a mistake. Babies should not be given laxatives, especially those containing senna. The baby's body gets used to such drugs too quickly and without them it can no longer cleanse the intestines.
Constipation in a baby up to 6 months is also provoked by a lack of fluid and hormonal fluctuations. At 6 months, the baby should receive a lot of moisture - about 140 ml per kilogram of weight per day. A breastfed child gains this rate from mother's milk and does not need additional sources of liquid (but only if there is no predisposition to constipation). Little artificers are soldered from the moment they switch to a mixture.
If a woman is tense or nervous, then her level of the stress hormone cortisol rises. Through breast milk, saliva or sweat, the substance enters the baby's body and also provokes constipation.
Even if the mother does not breastfeed the baby, the constipating microorganisms sooner or later get to the gastrointestinal system of the crumbs and make negative changes in it.
Constipation after introduction of complementary foods
The kid is growing, improving his skills, and it's time to introduce him to new foods. These circumstances, on the one hand, help to establish peristalsis, and on the other hand, increase the risk of constipation.
By six months, the baby is already trying to control defecation, because he realized that after it there are unpleasant sensations - itching, burning and other discomfort in the areas where the feces get. In order not to experience discomfort, the child tries to restrain the urge. At first, he does not succeed, because the rectum has already learned how to work - reflexively contract and push out waste. And after a couple of months, everything works out, the baby wins and enters the path leading to chronic constipation. To get the baby out of this vicious circle, the mother must minimize the duration of the baby's skin contact with feces and expand the baby's diet by mastering complementary foods.
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates that are part of the products are absorbed in the small intestine, and do not reach the large intestine, where feces are formed. What can not be said about fiber. While the baby is drinking breast milk or formula, this component of the dishes is not familiar to him. Even if a nursing woman herself consumes a lot of plant foods, the baby does not get anything. Fiber, as already noted, is not absorbed in the intestines, does not enter the bloodstream, which means that it is not in breast milk. For the first time, a baby gets fiber with complementary foods by trying its first 25 grams of mashed potatoes from zucchini, carrots and other vegetables. Plant fibers literally attract all waste to themselves, as a result, fecal masses are formed, which help the intestines to master the correct peristalsis. There are a lot of muscles in this section of the gastrointestinal tract, in the intestines, they must learn to consistently contract - tighten and relax in order to squeeze waste out.
The next new product should be introduced one month after the previous one. The novelty is likely to cause more frequent and loose stools at first. If it does not have a green color and does not foam, there is no need to run to the doctor and ask to prescribe fixatives. Be patient, after a while the innovation will be mastered and will bear fruit. Instead of liquid and shapeless yellow-white feces, you will see brown feces that have formed.
There are other causes of constipation in babies. Unfortunately, they are much more difficult to deal with, since these are developmental pathologies, diseases, and injuries.
Acute constipation. It develops for anatomical reasons, for example, due to obstruction of the large intestine, or during intussusception - the introduction of one part of the intestine into another, which causes blockage of the lumen. Against the background of complete well-being, the baby suddenly becomes restless, cries, refuses to eat. The attack ends as unexpectedly as it began, but after 3-5 minutes it repeats and intensifies: one or two times vomiting appears with an admixture of green bile. If the stool passes, then blood impurities are visible in it. After 5–6 hours, the stool stops, and bloody discharge comes out of the rectum. At the same time, the baby's stomach is soft. The temperature is usually normal. The child may even lose consciousness. With such symptoms, you need to call an ambulance.
Hirschsprung disease. It is based on a violation of the innervation of the large intestine - the central nervous system cannot control this section of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, processed food accumulates in the intestines. The picture of the disease is quite diverse. If only the short part of the intestine is affected, then constipation forms gradually, and it is possible to do without surgical intervention for quite a long time. When a longer segment is affected, the absence of stool is fraught with a serious condition and immediate surgical intervention is required.
infectious attack. If in the first months of life the baby suffered an intestinal infection, the nerve cells in the large intestine may die, which will lead to a delay in the act of defecation, accumulation of feces and the development of constipation. With dysentery, the so-called toxic megacolon is possible (a sharp expansion of the colon). The child develops impaired consciousness and repeated vomiting. The abdomen increases sharply due to a greatly enlarged intestine. The complication requires emergency surgical care.
Problems with the CNS. Injuries during childbirth and the syndrome of infantile cerebral palsy also affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, as they are associated with various complications, such as impaired swallowing, regurgitation, and vomiting.
Vasculitis. Vascular inflammation extends to the nerve plexuses and sensitive cells located in the intestinal wall.
Disorders in the work of the endocrine system. With hypothyroidism (lack of thyroid function), the movement of contents through the intestines slows down. With dysfunction of the parathyroid glands, constipation occurs due to a violation of mineral metabolism, with diabetes mellitus it becomes the result of damage to the nerve plexuses of the intestine or dehydration of the child's body.
Medical constipation. Before giving your child any drug prescribed by a doctor, carefully read the instructions. For example, anemia remedies containing iron can cause constipation. Observance of the rules of intake will help to avoid it - directly during meals, reducing doses of iron when introducing foods with a high iron content into the diet - buckwheat, apples, greens. Particular attention should be paid to constipation resulting from treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, neuroleptics, sorbents and antibiotics, which cause intestinal dysbacteriosis.
Diseases and conditions accompanied by constipation are not so common in infants. Many pediatricians do not immediately remember them. Before getting to the truth, they prescribe a lot of unnecessary drugs, forgetting about effective bowel examinations, such as x-rays.
Which porridge to choose for the first feeding | How to introduce porridge: how to cook, properly breed porridge for the first feeding
Your baby is growing up, getting stronger, gaining weight, and now there comes a moment when feeding only breast milk or formula is not enough for the full development of the crumbs. It's time to introduce complementary foods into your baby's diet. The question arises - where to start? Your pediatrician should answer it.
Today we’ll talk about how to properly introduce complementary foods with cereals. Let's talk about how to breed porridge, which one is better to choose for the first feeding, and how homemade porridge differs from store-bought.
Cereals for children under one year old
Porridge contains all the necessary set of trace elements, is perfectly absorbed, and has a beneficial effect on the digestive system.
Usually, cereals begin to be introduced into the diet of a baby at the age of six months. If the child is bottle-fed, it is permissible to start earlier, at 4-5 months. These are only approximate dates, in fact, everything is individual. It is necessary to take into account the pace of development of the child, his readiness for adult food and the tendency to allergic reactions.
Complementary foods with cereals are recommended for children who are not gaining weight well. Most likely, the baby simply does not have enough calories. In any case, before starting complementary foods, a pediatrician should be consulted. He will help you choose porridge, tell you in what quantities and how often to feed her child.
It is important that the first porridge be:
- Industrial production . Not only because the raw materials are sterilized and undergo rigorous quality control. But also because at home it is difficult to achieve such a degree of grinding cereals, as cereal manufacturers do. For example, Materna porridges consist of delicate cereal flakes, which form an absolutely homogeneous mass when brewed. If desired, they can be diluted to a thick mixture and offered to the baby to drink from a bottle.
- Single component . To track down the cause of an allergic reaction if it occurs.
Dairy or non-dairy: with which cereals does the first complementary food start
Pediatricians recommend starting complementary foods with dairy-free gluten-free cereals. Gluten is a fairly heavy vegetable protein for digestion by a child's body. Its use can lead to allergies. Dairy-free cereals can be diluted with breast milk or your own milk formula to make them more nutritious and taste more familiar to the baby.
The first gluten-free cereals include: corn, rice and buckwheat.
How to switch from dairy-free to milk porridge
If no allergic reactions occur within 4-7 weeks from the start of complementary foods and dairy-free cereals are well absorbed, you can start offering milk cereals for children up to a year old to the baby, their energy value is much higher.
How to properly organize complementary foods with cereals
For the first acquaintance, you need to cook a five percent porridge, which means that for five grams of dry porridge there should be 100 mg of water. The resulting consistency will be ideal for a child who is not yet able to chew and swallow thick food.
The best time to feed is the morning meal. So you will have time to track the baby's reaction to a new product: if there are any allergies or stool disorders.
For feeding, a baby spoon made of safe material for the baby's delicate gums or a regular teaspoon is used.
As a first test, it is enough to give the child about half a tablespoon of liquid porridge. The kid should try out a new product, get used to the change in texture and taste.
Make sure the porridge is not too cold or hot, and does not contain lumps.
After porridge feeding, feed your baby his usual food - breast milk or formula.
Increase the volume of a serving of porridge only when you are sure that the baby eats it with pleasure, and he does not experience unwanted reactions.
Every day, increase the amount of porridge per spoon until the serving is 150 g for a six-month-old baby, 160-170 g for a child aged 7-8 months and 170-180 g for an age of 8-9months. Closer to the year, the serving volume will be about 200 g. And the five percent porridge is replaced by a thicker, ten percent one.
We remind you that these are only general recommendations, and the development of each child is individual and the dosage may differ from that described above. It is important not to change cereals at the beginning of complementary foods, your baby should get used to one cereal, and only after a successful debut, you can offer the next one - not earlier than in two weeks.
If you start experimenting ahead of time and give your child a different porridge every day, in case of an allergy, it will be very difficult for you to understand what exactly the child's body reacted to.
The child does not eat porridge
Toddlers refuse porridge for various reasons.
- Don't like the taste or texture.
It happens that children who started complementary foods with fruits and vegetables do not eat porridge, because their taste is very different and not so bright. Try adding an already familiar apple or broccoli to a new porridge. In addition, a child may not like the taste of some cereal today, but in a couple of weeks he will eat it with pleasure. Set this mess aside for a while and try again later.
- The porridge is too hot or too cold.
Check food temperature on the inside of your wrist. If you do not feel cold or hot, then the temperature is optimal.
- The child is not yet hungry. Set the plate aside for half an hour and then try again.
The main advice to parents is not to despair, and offer the same porridge many times in different combinations.
What kind of porridge to introduce into complementary foods first
Be sure to ask your pediatrician for advice on which cereal to give your baby first. After all, all kids are different.
The main types of cereals recommended for consistent introduction into the child's diet:
- Buckwheat porridge . It is considered indispensable in the diet of the child. Contains vitamins B1 and B2, iron, magnesium, protein.
- Rice porridge . Contrary to the common misconception of many parents, baby rice porridge will not cause constipation because it does not contain crushed rice. For the manufacture of these cereals, rice flour is used, which has a beneficial effect on the digestion of the child and is rich in healthy dietary fiber.
- Corn porridge . Such porridge is a leader among other cereals in terms of the content of potassium in its composition. Also contains a large amount of protein, iron and fiber.
- Oatmeal . No other cereal compares to oatmeal in terms of fat and fiber content. In addition, oatmeal is rich in vegetable protein and calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins B1, B2, PP.