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Constipation and the solid foods!

Introducing solid food can be very exciting for Moms! Actually, yes it is because it is a new step towards independence!!!
But to tell you the truth, even though it is exciting, with multiples it is not so easy!

Maeva and Miya at lunch time!
Maeva and Miya at lunch time!

Introducing solid food means a lot for babies! Mine, they need to adjust to this new texture! They have been breasfed all the time so they don’t really know how to put something silicone in their mouth (I say silicone because my spoons are made with silicone 🙂 !)

It also means that their digestive system has to adjust too and that it is not so easy! Why? Because often introducing solid food means introducing constipation! Yuck… constipation!
So don’t be surprised if your little one is constipated or kind of constipated… It is not fun for you and baby, but it is normal!
And babies that are constipated or almost constipated can be distressing for Mommy and babies! This is the joy of solid foods… not so joy finally!
So my baby girls are kind of constipated and yesterday it was not a fun afternoon!
First let’s say the appearance and smell of their stools changed quite dramatically (it is normal when baby begin solid foods). But I think it is particularly noticeable in breastfed babies like mine because previously their stools were of a smooth, creamy texture with virtually no smell. But now it is completely different! It stinks and I even didn’t introduce meat yet… (yes, I am not in a hurry for meat also because the smell of the poo is completely disgusting!!)
What is kind of funny is that once baby is introduced to solids, the stools will often be the colour of the food they ate. So my girls who ate yams and buttersquash, it was kind of orange and now with zucchini it is light green!! Okay okay I know I am speaking about poo but it is important for babies!!!
So yesterday, both of my girls were screaming in pain because they couldn’t poo poo! In one way they were good because they waited their turn!! lol! So I didn’t have two screaming babies at the same time! But when I was finished with Maeva, it was Miya’s turn and again Maeva… I could feel their pain!
As I said, these are actually quite common reactions, as the girls’ bodies adjust to the new texture and firmness of their stools.
So I had to help them to poo because if they start to sub-consciously hold back their stools, it will increase the problem. why?  Their bodies will absorb the water from these stools, making them even harder, plus the large amount of stools in the intestine will cause even more discomfort and pain.
So I took off their diapers (actually I keep it under their bum!) and I started to massage their tummy gently, in a clockwise direction, starting at their navel and moving outwards. I could see Maeva having pain just by doing that! But I insisted because I know it will help her later on. I also moved their legs like they were biking (hold the legs and turn them gently, but quickly, in a cycling motion) This ‘Cycle’ baby’s legs exerts gentle pressure on their intestines by moving the muscles in their tummy. They liked it. I also push both legs at the same time to their tummy… and suddenly poo was going out… oh noooo they are pooing (I was glad I kept the diaper under their bums!!!)  It is not very fun because I had a screaming baby but I had to encourage her! I think Maeva had few tears on her anus because it was very red. She might have been screaming because of that! But I can tell you when both were finished, I could see two happy babies again…
But after all that I spent more than one hour and half. I had also to comfort them with a lot of cuddles. I put back a clean diaper and applied some greasy cream to protect their red skin.
Later on, even though it was over I gave them a warm bath and continued the massage technique to “get things moving” and relieve discomfort.
For Mateo, it happened when we were in France and as soon as I put him in a warm bath, he relaxed and felt better.
I didn’t have a good afternoon to tell you the truth. Because even though I know why they could be constipated, it is always difficult to watch a baby in pain. But at least they both had extra cuddles and that they like it!!!
Sometime, the massage, the cycling motion are not enough so there are different things that can help them to be relieved.
(hey remember I am not a doctor, It is from my experience with my first son. So please ask your doctor for advice!)
  1. First I stopped completely rice cereal until Mateo’s stools came back to normal. Actually I did the same with the girls. I gave them rice cereal for two days and the third day I introduced avocado (fatty food!!)
  2. I also offered some foods that help soften stools – these include pears (a gentle but effective option), peas, peaches, apricots, plums or avocado. Tomorrow I will introduce pears to my girls.
  3. I breastfeed more often but with the girls I am already every two hours so I continue. It hydrates them and helps to have a softer stool.
  4. And the last thing I did for Mateo is to give a little prune juice. I don’t like juice for babies but it can really help. My pediatrician advised me to dilute 1oz of juice in 4oz of water and if this didn’t help, dilute 1oz of the juice with 2oz of water. For Mateo I did once and it helped it very well.
Voila so even though it is exciting to introduce solid food, it is not 100% a joy!