So, we all like to talk about Poo right? No? Come on, I am certain that we all do? Poo is a common subject in our household. The subject always comes up when chatting with friends (do I need new friends?!) and some how, I have no idea how, but the topic of conversation always seems to arrive at POO? Jess can back me up here.
Baby poo… most recently, is most definitely at the top of the conversation list (oh dear I need to get out more, clearly). The conversation swings from how many times a day, to how many times a week, what does it look like and give me strength, what does it smell like. What ever you do, don’t google it.
So, with all this in mind I’m going to jump to the point of this post.
Now before I get started, this is my first ‘baby coaching’ post. I hope to do many more to help new mums through the joyous roller-coaster and uncertainty of parenthood. My opinions are based on my own research and experience and my learnings as a health coach, which I have applied to my own family with much success. Take from it what you will, but always seek professional advice if you are concerned for the health of your little one.
Now, back to Poo.
It Is very common for breastfed babies starting solids for the first time to experience constipation. My recommendations below are based around this scenario. Think about it. Your baby has had nothing but the exact food that their little digestives systems are developed for. The highly nutritious, easily absorbed and digested mothers milk. It does not get much better than that. So when food in the form of solids comes along, there are most likely to be some issues, and this is generally the norm.
Just like adults, our little baby’s digestive systems are all unique and need to be looked after. What works for one baby may not work for another. I have developed a protocol which you can follow to work out what works and what does not for your baby, establish the cause of constipation, and treat this, rather than just treating the symptoms. I’ve also included some symptom reliever’s as there is nothing worse that watching your wee one struggle or get upset when trying to have a poo!
1. Establish the Cause
a. Lack of Fluids? The most common cause of constipation in babies is a lack of fluids. At 6 months you can start to introduce cooled boiled water in a Sippy cup. Water should not replace milk feeds, but should be offered with meals and made accessible throughout the day.
b. Constipating first foods? Are you feeding foods which commonly cause constipation? These are Banana, Apple, Cereals, High Iron Foods, Dairy, Carrots, white foods, high starch foods. Minimise these foods and monitor the effects they have on bub.
c. Has your diet changed? Have you increased your dairy intake? What you eat flows on to your baby so consider limiting the above foods from your diet also.
2. Adopt the Wholefoods philosophy
a. Limit commercial baby food: Stick with real, whole, nutrient dense food: The most nutritious and tummy friendly foods for baby are not found in a jar. Sorry. Organic or not, additives, preservatives and high sugar are just a few of the issues here and while convenient, given too frequently they can really take a toll on baby’s gut.
b. Avoid Cereals, breads and Grains: Two points here 1. Our little one’s digestive systems are not mature enough and have limited enzymes to digest these foods causing irritation, and 2. These foods are not nutrient dense, there are so many better options (so no white pasta, farex, rice cereal or toast!)
c. Fats and Protein: Baby’s gut from day one is designed to easily digest protein and fats, since 50-60% of the energy in breastmilk comes from fat, and it is close to six times the cholesterol that an adult human consumes. From 6 months you can incorporate the following:
- Organic duck or chicken liver
- Fish eggs
- Pureed meats and fish
- Bone broths
- Egg Yolk (introduce very slowly)
- Coconut Oil (small amounts)
- Organic Grass Fed Butter or cream (small amounts)
- Bone Marrow
- Cod liver Oil
d. Complex Carbohydrates and Fruits:
- Peaches, Apricots, Pear, Berries – ideally cooked and served with a good quality fat (butter or coco oil)
- Kumara/Sweet Potato
3. Track It
a. Slowly does it: As you introduce new foods to your baby, it is important to go slowly. Only introduce new foods once per week and monitor the effects on your baby’s digestion.
b. Monitor the poop! How often or not often! Look back at foods given within 48 hours of constipation to establish if these are effecting your baby.
c. Eliminate: Let that gut instinct that every mother has kick in! Based on the poop, or lack of, and what you have been feeding your wee one, you will start to get a clear picture of what is effecting him or her. Remove these culprits from your baby’s diet and monitor the difference.
It can take time to work out exactly what is causing the constipation, so in the mean time and to relieve your wee one from any pain, I have summarised some go to natural and healthy remedies for you to try. Be sure to only use one at a time, and not continuously. If symptoms continue speak to your GP.
Homemade Prune Juice
o Remove any pips from 3 organic dried prunes. Soak in boiling water for 1 hour. Whizz up in a blender and offer 2-3 tsp
Homemade Chicken Broth
Add ¼ tsp to hot water and gelatine, offer 2-3 tsp
Recommend these: BabyBiotics 0+yrs Available from Health 2000
Artemis Liver Detox Tea
Safe for baby’s 0-12 months – 5-10mls up to 3 x daily
Rosemary, Lemon, Peppermint, Digest Zen. Diffuse or mix with coconut oil and rub on bubs feet. Use only 1 drop.
Foods rich in magnesium
Green vegetables, fish, kefir, avocado
Cod liver Oil
Increase your own fluids
If still feeding and incorporate more of the following in your diet:
- Peppermint Tea
- Aloe Vera
- Liver Detox Tea from Artemis
Natrum muriaticum, Nux Vomica, Kali Carbonicum. (please consult a registered homeopath before selecting any homeopathic remedy for your baby)
If your baby is younger than 6 months, formula or breastmilk fed then the reasons for the constipation could be something more serious and I recommend to speak to you GP, Plunket or paediatrician.