When babies are introduced to solid food, their bodies undergo several changes. Although they are given solid food only after they are 6 months old, the digestive system takes time to get accustomed to it. If you observe that your baby’s bowels are hard, dry, and they experience pain while pooping, it may be a sign of constipation.
To prevent constipation, give your baby foods high-fiber foods like pears, plums, peaches, brown rice, oatmeal, and berries. Unlike low-fiber foods, they are not hard on your baby’s tummy. But, moderation is the key, as feeding your baby any food in excess can lead to problems with digestion.
Here are 6 foods that can lead to constipation in babies.
1. Unripe Bananas
While ripe bananas are good for relieving constipation, underripe or unripe bananas can be the reason for constipation. Babies cannot digest starch easily as their bodies don’t produce enough enzymes for it. Unfortunately, unripe bananas contain a lot of starch, making it hard for them to digest.
Bananas also contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber that draws water from the intestines, resulting in hard stools. So, even if you feed your baby ripe bananas, ensure that they don’t eat too many to avoid constipation.
Applesauce is nutritious and convenient but it contains pectin like bananas. It can cure constipation effectively and regulate bowel movement. However, too much of applesauce can make things worse by making the baby’s stools firmer. If your baby is already suffering from constipation, avoid applesauce.
3. Rice Cereal
Rice cereal is the popular first solid food given to babies. With this introduction to the diet, you may notice a change in their bowels as their bodies are used to breast milk that is easy to digest. Rice cereal is difficult to eliminate and causes pain and discomfort as it has a binding effect due to its low fiber content. So, introduce rice cereal to your baby’s diet gradually and moderately.
4. Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk does more harm than good for some babies. It has been linked with chronic constipation, which may be caused due to an immune response to cow’s milk protein.1
If you notice this reaction in babies, avoid yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products that have a binding effect on the stools. It is better to stick to breast milk for longer as formula milk can also lead to constipation in some babies.
Carrots are high-fiber foods and are rich in vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants. But, when boiled or cooked, the fiber content in carrots reduces. As a result, when babies eat boiled and mashed carrots, they are unable to digest it. Although it is not possible to give them raw carrots, it is better to avoid boiled or cooked carrots to prevent constipation.
Potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates like starch. They are either broken down partially or not at all during digestion. Sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes as they have a higher fiber content and can ease your baby’s digestive system.
Note: For easy bowel movement and overall health, ensure that your baby takes in enough fluids. Avoid giving them solid food before they are 6 months old as the food may enter the windpipe and increase the risk of choking. Due to constipation-induced pain, some babies might avoid defecating. In such cases, consult the doctor at the earliest.
|↑1||Dehghani, Seyed-Mohsen, Bita Ahmadpour, Mahmood Haghighat, Sara Kashef, Mohammad-Hadi Imanieh, and Mohammad Soleimani. “The role of cow’s milk allergy in pediatric chronic constipation: a randomized clinical trial.” Iranian journal of pediatrics 22, no. 4 (2012): 468.|