December 01, 2018

Can Baby Formula Cause Constipation?

Constipation is uncomfortable for any baby. Can it be caused by the formula your baby drinks?

Constipation is troublesome for anyone, it is more difficult to see your baby uncomfortable because of less frequent bowel movements or hard, dry stools. There are some concerns that baby formula can cause constipation.

What Causes Constipation?

  • Constipation can be caused by a number of reasons.
  • Dehydration (often the case when you wean your baby off the breast)
  • A component in baby formula (sometimes attributed to the protein component)
  • Illness or food allergy
  • Transitioning to solid foods (first cereals such as rice are low in fiber and can cause mild constipation)

One item that is not on the list is iron. There is no evidence that iron causes constipation. While it can be a side effect for adults who take an iron supplement, the amount of iron that is in baby formula does not cause the same kind of problem. Iron is an important mineral that helps in the growth and development of babies.

How to Relieve Your Baby's Constipation?

If your baby is already on baby formula, you may be able to solve the problem by changing to another brand. Even though it may still be a milk-based formula, your baby may be reacting to the protein component. For example, if your baby is currently using organic Hipp formula, you may want to consider Demeter-certified Holle milk. While they are both organic formulas, there may be a different to your baby's digestive system between the different milk proteins. This is especially true if you switch to Goat Milk formula which is known to have smaller milk proteins that may be easier for your baby to digest.

When preparing any formula, make sure that you are following the instructions correctly. If it says “level scoop”, do not try to prepare it with a slightly heaping scoop. The ratio of water to powder is important, and the attempt to add an extra calorie or two to help with weight gain may actually be leading to constipation. Since this is the only thing that your child is drinking for the first six months, it is also their own source of hydration.

Don't forget the all-natural approaches to relieving constipation. If your baby is not crawling yet, lay your little one on their back and gently pump your baby's legs as if they were pedaling a bicycle. Belly massages can also encourage bowel movements.

If none of these methods are making a difference, be sure to speak with your pediatrician. They may recommend a stool softener or look further into illnesses that can be contributing to your baby's discomfort.

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