Introducing solid foods to your child’s diet can make significant changes to their bowel movements. Just as with adults, smell, consistency and color can all vary depending on what we eat – a child is no different. Digestion moves much quicker when your child is consuming liquids exclusively vs. when solids are mixed in. That in combination with the body still developing and learning how to function can reduce the frequency of bowl movements, even skipping a day. Tell tale signs of constipation include excessive straining, hard or pellet-like stools, a hard belly or lack of appetite.
As a parent, you want to do whatever it takes to reduce your child’s pain. When you bring your baby in for constipation, I have some suggestions to help their pelvis move better. Here are three things to relieve constipation and prevent it from reoccurring:
Solid food is replacing some of the milk/formula your child has been eating, so you’ll need to supplement with water to balance things out.
Depending on when you are introducing solid food, your child may or may not be mobile yet. If they’re already mobile, that’s great! Keep them moving and implement some of the following methods. If they aren’t, move their legs as if they are pedaling a bicycle. You can also try abdominal massage to get the intestines moving. Start on the lower right and work in a clockwise direction, moving up towards the midline then continuing to the bottom left of the abdomen.
If the sacrum and pelvis are not moving appropriately, it could be prevent bowel movements from occurring easily and regularly.
A diet high in fiber can help keep water in their stool, making them softer and easier to pass. Fiber is most easily found in fruits and vegetables such as peaches, prunes, plums, pears, broccoli, sweet potatoes, avocado, and beans. However, it’s recommended to reduce consumption of bananas and applesauce.
If your child is taking any iron supplements or you are feeding them iron enriched foods, this may contribute to constipation.
As always, I recommend talking to your child’s pediatrician and health care team when you have any concerns about introducing solid foods. They may have recommendations tailored specifically to your child.