Constipation is a common problem among kids starting solids. And not surprisingly, it can make your little one pretty cranky. This article covers how to detect and deal with baby constipation after starting solids.
As a new parent, you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of poop. And if you’ve just started your baby on solids (or you’re just about to), be prepared for poops to get thicker, darker and stinkier. On the plus side, your baby will should poop less often as they transition to eating more food, which means fewer diaper change for you!
Normal vs. abnormal baby poop after starting solids
Normal poop after starting solids is:
- Brown or dark brown
- Thicker than peanut butter but still soft
- Stinky and;
- Sometimes contains partially digested food
Conversely, red, white or black poop, is abnormal and warrants a conversation with your pediatrician. The same goes for diarrhea for more than 1-2 days, consistently seeing undigested food in your child’s poop, and any of the above accompanied by a fever.
Signs of constipation in babies after starting solids
Constipated babies poop less than usual, however, that’s not the only sign that their pipes are backed up. Other indications of constipation in babies include:
- Hard, dry stools
- Spitting up more often than usual
- Blood in stools
- Distended belly
- Straining with bowel movements
Strategies for short-term constipation in babies after starting solids
Fluid, fiber and gentle movement can help relieve constipation in babies. If none of these strategies produce a bowel movement within 24 hours, consult your pediatrician.
Gently bend you babies legs toward their abdomen to relax the muscles of the pelvis or gently move their legs in a cycling motion. Sometimes this can release a bowel movement.
Adding fiber-rich foods to your baby’s diet can help promote laxation. Fiber-rich foods include mashed or soft-cooked fruit, veggies, whole grains such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa, and legumes. These foods can be served alone or mixed into other dishes to prompt a bowel movement. Avoid fiber supplements and increase fiber intake gradually. Too much fiber too soon can cause gas, pain, and diarrhea in your infant.
Inadequate fluid intake can contribute to hard, pellet-like poop that is difficult to pass. Breastmilk, formula, or water (with meals) can be used to increase fluid intake and relieve baby constipation after starting solids. After 12 months, cow’s milk can also contribute to hydration.
100% fruit juice (specifically apple, pear, or prune) can also help relieve clogged pipes in babies 6 months and older. Start with 2 tbsp of 100% fruit juice and go up from there, for a total of no more than 0.5 cups per day. Like fiber, too much fruit juice can lead to diarrhea.
When to see a doctor
Baby constipation after starting solids can often be relieved with movement, fiber, and/or fluid. However, occasionally constipation can be a sign that there’s something else going on with your child. Consult your pediatrician if:
- Constipation lasts more than a week;
- Hard stools are accompanied by blood and/or;
- Small tears develop around the anus
- Baby constipation after starting solids is common and can often be relieved with movement, fluid, and/or fiber.
- Poops become thicker, darker, and stinkier as kids transition from a liquid-only diet to soft solids.
- Red, black or white poop, diarrhea for more than 1-2 days, and/or fever are abnormal after starting solids and warrant a conversation with your pediatrician.