When starting with solids, constipation is common, especially among breastfed babies. But a baby’s pooping habits can change without necessarily being a situation you must do something about.
So, if your baby hasn’t pooped after starting solids, here is how to assess the situation and how you can handle it.
My baby hasn’t pooped after starting solids, and I am getting worried!
I have a 6-month-old breastfed baby who normally has a bowel movement 3-4 times per day, but now she has not pooped for 2 days. We recently started for the last 1-1/2 weeks on rice cereal, and then she has been on sweet potatoes for the last 3 nights.
Anyway, she has not pooped in over two days, and I know this is normal for some babies, but mine usually goes 3-4 times per day. Should I be concerned, or could she be constipated?
She is not acting any differently or is fussy.
Bowel Movement When Introducing Solid Foods To Baby
In this article:
How the Poop Changes When Starting Solids
I can totally understand that you are worried if your baby is not pooping after starting solids! Introducing solid foods to our babies is quite a big step, especially for their little tummies.
But it is not uncommon that a baby’s bowel movements change after starting solids, and the lack of poop doesn’t have to be a big problem:
When breastfed babies start eating solid foods, their bowel movements often change drastically.
Suddenly, the baby has more solid poops, less frequent (or sometimes more frequent, since some breastfed babies only go once per week!), and with a completely different color and smell! The poop may also include pieces of undigested foods.
These changes are completely normal, but the breastfed baby will often become constipated with the introduction of solid foods. Their digestive systems are not used to any solids at all. It is possible that the introduction is somewhat easier for formula-fed babies (many parents seem to experience that), but I haven’t been able to find any research to back up that claim.
What to Do if Baby Hasn’t Pooped After Starting Solids?
No discomfort, no change
Now, if your baby hasn’t pooped after starting solids, it is a sign that the food is harder (than the breastmilk) to digest for your baby. But is it something to worry about or act on?
As long as your baby doesn’t seem uncomfortable or in pain and shows no obvious signs of constipation, you can wait her out for some time!
If your baby continues eating, she will need to poop quite soon. And then, you’ll notice if her bowel movements have simply just changed due to the new foods or if there is something you need to do because she really is constipated.
With my youngest son, I had to stop introducing solid foods three times due to constipation and pain.
Discomfort – change the diet!
If the poop is hard or your daughter is in pain when passing stools, you need to act.
The best you can do is to cut down on foods that tend to make stools harder and focus on introducing foods that tend to soften the stools.
Also, go very slowly with the introduction.
With my youngest son, I had to stop introducing solid foods three times and wait a couple of weeks for his body to be prepared for the transition. And I really had to take it in baby steps. Neither of my other kids had these problems, so it really varies.
So, if you notice that your daughter really is constipated, reduce the solid foods you give her and increase the share of breast milk for a while.
Remember that this is a transition period that some children don’t even need, while others have tummies that need a longer adjustment period.
If your baby turns out to be very constipated and in great pain, you might need to use a glycerin suppository or a baby laxative as a one-off. But in most cases, breastmilk and the right foods will do the trick.
This video provides additional tips on how to mitigate your baby’s constipation:
Foods to avoid if your baby is constipated after introducing solids
When choosing what foods to introduce and in which order, make sure to start with foods that soften rather than harden the stools.
Rice cereal is a common cause of constipation, and you might want to switch to oatmeal.
On the other hand, avocado and peas are both great first foods since they are easy to digest.
Prune puree is a very efficient way to mitigate constipation.
For a list of foods to give your baby and what to avoid, read this post. The list includes foods that will soften your baby’s poop and also which foods can make constipation worse.
I have also listed a few books below on baby poop that might be helpful.
I hope this helps,
- Evaluation and treatment of functional constipation in infants and children: evidence-based recommendations from ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN
- Aguirre, Andrea & Vítolo, Márcia & Puccini, Rosana & Morais, Mauro. (2001). Constipation in infants: Influence of type of feeding and dietary fiber intake. Jornal de pediatria. 78. 202-8. 10.2223/JPED.831.
Parents, who else’s baby hasn’t pooped after starting solids? What did you do, and how did it go? Share your thoughts and questions below!
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing are based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians who assist in reviewing and writing articles.