Constipation is bad enough when you are a grown up, but for little ones it can be miserable.
Constipation can occur for all sort of reasons; sometimes it is because of diet, some children have a sensitivity to foods and their bodies reaction is to experience a stool firming effect – constipation and for some little ones it is not what they eat but for example too little fluid intake. However it is common and in most cases, easily resolved.
How Holle can Help – when you are what you ‘Holle eat’!
Certain foods can have a stool firming effect, whilst others can have a stool loosening effect. If your little one becomes constipated avoid feeding constipating foods for a while or feed them only in small quantities.
Rice Porridge can have a firm stooling effect, in which case, you can happily swap to Holle Millet Porridge (gluten-free) or Rolled Oats Porridge which are both stool regulating.
Carrots, bananas and raw apples can sometimes cause constipation in babies and complicate their digestion. Good alternatives are parsnips, pumpkins and cooked apple and pear.
As in all aspects of parenting, there is always an element of trusting your instincts – and those of your baby. If your little one refuses to eat a certain porridge, or fruit, or vegetable, they might well be instinctively self-selecting – telling you what they don’t need, and that may well help you find what they do need in order get themselves comfortable once again.
The beauty of Holle is that the company and their nutritionists, understand this completely – both scientifically and instinctively – and have produced a good selection of Demeter quality foods to support your little one’s needs. For a helpful and handy list of all the Holle Jars and their guide to introducing solid food take a look at the Holle Nutrition Guide.
How can I tell if my little one is constipated?
If your little one is straining to do a poo, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are constipated. When it comes to a baby’s bowel movements, there is often no normal number or schedule. Similar to adults, babies’ bowel movement patterns vary. Poo can also change in texture from day to day.
If you’re concerned that your baby may be constipated, look out for these signs:
• Crying and discomfort, irritability or pain before doing a poo
• Dry, hard, pellet-like poo that she has trouble passing
• Fewer than three bowel movements a week
• Foul-smelling wind and poo
• Loss of appetite
• A hard belly
• As odd as it sounds, very liquid poo can be also be sign of constipation. Liquid poo can slip past the blockage of hard poo in the lower intestine. If you see this, don’t assume it’s diarrhoea. It may be evidence of constipation.
What causes constipation?
There are several possible reasons why your baby may be constipated:
• Formula milk. A formula-fed baby is more prone to constipation because formula can be harder to digest than breastmilk, causing poo to be firm and bulky. A breastfed baby is unlikely to get constipated. Breastmilk produces poo that is almost always soft, even if a baby hasn’t done a poo for a few days.
• Introducing solids. Babies often become constipated when they start solids, as their bodies learn how to manage new foods. Low-fibre foods and not enough fluids also contribute to constipation.
• Dehydration. Your baby may be refusing milk because she’s teething, or is poorly with a cold; Your older baby may not be drinking enough milk or water with her solid foods. Whatever the reason – if your baby isn’t getting enough fluids, she may become dehydrated. This can cause dry, hard poo that is difficult to pass.
• A medical condition or illness. Occasionally, constipation can be a symptom of a food allergy, food poisoning, or a problem with the way the body absorbs food, known as a metabolic disorder.
• Worry – maybe about a big change such as moving house, starting nursery or the arrival of a new baby.
For more information and advice click here NHS
Babies who haven’t been weaned
If your baby is constipated but hasn’t started to eat solid foods, the first way to treat them is to give them extra hydration between their normal feeds. The Holle Nutritionists recommend for little ones’ the Baby Tea which contains the herbs fennel, aniseed, caraway and camomile, which together act effectively to relieve wind and support and encourage healthy digestion.
The Tea can be taken either on its own, or if your little one is still drinking Milk, the Tea can be mixed in with your Holle Infant Formula by using 1/3 Holle Tea and 2/3 water. Do not use more water than recommended on the packet when you make up the bottle.
“Absolutely love this milk started my baby on it at one week old for a top up with my breast milk as I found it too hard to express breast milk! My baby girl took to it instantly and has had no negative side effects, although I found she was constipated (this is normal for breastfeed baby’s as they absorb all milk) although I did email ulula to ask if they had experienced anyone else having constipation, there customer services was incredible and suggested making the formula with 30ml of their kinda tea and they sent me some samples to try! Instantly this relived my baby’s colic and constipation! She LOVES the milk so much that TBH would chose the formula over the breast lol but she is happy with both! I would highly recommend both these products!” Vicki
“Hi, We we’re giving breast milk & bottle but now only give bottle milk & our 4month old was getting constipation. I read somewhere to give him a tsp. of juice which worked but I didn’t want to be giving him so much sugar all the time, I read a review on this website from the goats milk that said they use this tea. I ween him off the juice now & his poo it great. I use little tea pot & get three bottle from one tea bag. It works fine & saves me some money. Thanks Holle x” Charlotte
Constipation in children
Constipation is common in childhood, particularly when children are being potty trained. As well as infrequent or irregular bowel movements, a child with constipation may also have any of the following symptoms:
• loss of appetite
• a lack of energy
• being irritable, angry or unhappy
• foul-smelling wind and stools
• stomach pain and discomfort
• soiling their pants
• generally feeling unwell
If your child is constipated, they may find it painful to poo. This creates a vicious circle: the more it hurts, the more they hold back. The more constipated they get, the more it hurts. Even if pooing isn’t painful, once your child is really constipated, they will stop wanting to go to the toilet altogether. The Weleda Nappy Change Cream is a must for sore bottoms.
Ways to help prevent and relieve constipation in babies and children:
• Make sure your baby/child has plenty to drink – this includes breastfeeding and formula milk feeds.
• You may want to try gently moving your baby’s legs in a bicycling motion or carefully massaging their tummy to help stimulate their bowels.
• Once weaned successfully, give your child a variety of foods, including plenty of fruit and vegetables which are a good source of fibre.
• Encourage your child to be physically active – it really helps.
• Get your child into a routine of regularly sitting on the potty or toilet, after meals or before bed, and praise them whether or not they poo each time. This is particularly important for boys, who may forget about pooing once they are weeing standing up.
• Make sure your child can rest their feet flat on the floor or a step when they’re using the potty or toilet, to get them in a good position for pooing.
• Ask them to tell you if they feel worried about using the potty or toilet – some children don’t want to poo in certain situations, such as at nursery.
• Stay calm and reassuring, so that your child doesn’t see going to the toilet or mealtimes as a stressful situation. You want your child to see pooing as a normal part of life, not something to be ashamed of, and food and eating as their friend, not something that ultimately hurts them.
If your little one’s constipation is not getting better don’t struggle on alone; do please consult your GP or Health Visitor for support.