Prevent constipation in babies
Knowing that constipation in babies is common can ease the worry of seeing yours in discomfort. But knowing what you can do to help avoid tummy trouble in the first place is even better.
The importance of food
Just like in adults, diet is a key cause of constipation in babies. Take a look at our tips on nutrition to help keep your baby’s belly happy:
Follow the directions – Topping up with formula if your baby is partially or no longer breastfeeding is perfectly fine. Just make sure to follow the directions carefully. Too little powder might not provide enough nutrition, and too much can dehydrate the gut and cause a blockage.
Try new baby foods – After about seven months, it is recommended that you introduce new foods to your baby’s diet. You can start with a yummy vegetable or potato mash, continue with foods such as milky porridge, and include fruits like apricots, blueberries, grapes, pears and strawberries. All are great for providing a little fibre and developing a healthy gut. But be aware that introducing foods such as bananas and rice can also increase the risk of constipation.
Keep them hydrated – In addition to new foods, it’s important to make sure your baby is getting enough fluid to help their gut digest nutrients and create waste efficiently. A little water after foods like porridge can work great.
The benefits of playtime
While your baby’s digestive rhythm is still in development, it’s important to introduce a little exercise to their day. Encouraging them to crawl and romp can help them relax and stimulate the passing of stools.
Rock out – Baby bouncers and rockers work wonders. Set them up on a firm surface and you’ll help your little one start to develop the necessary muscle strength for future movement.
Learn to crawl – At around seven months, your baby might be ready to crawl. Help them onto their hands and knees, put your hand under their belly and coax their legs into a forward and backward action.
Ease the tension – You can also relax your baby with a little bit of massage. Press gently with three fingers under the belly button for around three minutes or softly rub your baby’s stomach in a clockwise direction. Alternatively, put them on their back and simulate up and down leg movements.
A good night’s sleep
Quality sleep can contribute to your baby’s general health and wellbeing.
Create the right environment – A comfortable bed and a cool, dark, well ventilated nursery is an ideal place for your baby to sleep.
Set a routine – It sounds simple but doing the same things regularly at bedtime can help prevent your baby getting that blocked-up feeling. Feed and burp them, put on their pyjamas, set their lullaby and say goodnight at the same time every evening.
Develop a daytime rhythm – Like all humans, babies benefit from being creatures of habit. Make sure they eat at regular intervals and settle them into regular times for their daily naps.
Making changes as your baby grows
At some point, babies stop being babies and grow into children. And, while their digestive system is still in development, it’s important to maintain a healthy approach to diet and exercise so that you can help them continue to avoid the tummy troubles constipation can cause.