Can Eating Peas or Squash as a First Food Cause Severe Constipation in Babies?

Person spoon feeding baby in high chair
Can Eating Peas or Squash as a First Food Cause Severe Constipation in Babies? (Image: Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images)

A high-fiber content means that both peas and squash should make healthy first foods and neither should result in constipation. That said, when starting any new solid, remember to introduce it at intervals while maintaining your baby's liquid diet to avoid complications.

Signs of Constipation

baby having his nappy changed
Your baby might well be constipated if he is having dramatically fewer or more bowel movements than normal. (Image: Rayes/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Your baby might well be constipated if he is having dramatically fewer or more bowel movements than normal, according to HealthyChildren.org. Look out for stools with a pebblelike consistency or with streaks of blood on them. He may be constipated if he's excessively fussy or strains for more than 10 minutes without being able to pass stool. In addition, a constipated baby may experience some tenderness in the abdomen.

Peas and Squash

Eating high-fiber solids such as peas and squash should help your baby avoid constipation and provide nutritional benefits. The high-fiber content draws in water, filling out the stools but at the same time keeping them soft. Carrots, sweet potato, yams, parsnips and rutabagas should all be similarly beneficial.

Introducing Solids

Salat
Squash should be peeled and chopped into pieces and any seeds should be removed. (Image: micha_h/iStock/Getty Images)

First foods should be steamed or boiled until soft and then puréed. Squash should be peeled and chopped into pieces and any seeds should be removed. At this stage, your baby's gastrointestinal system is delicate and ready only for easily digestible foods, breast milk or formula. For this reason, you should introduce first foods one at a time, with a week's grace between each of the first three or four foods while you monitor the reaction of your baby. Introducing solids – even the correct solids – too rapidly can be a cause of constipation.

Maintaining Liquids

Peas
Introduce first foods midmorning, so as not to disturb your baby's pattern of breast or bottle feeding. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When starting on solids, it's important to maintain your baby's intake of liquids. High-fiber solids such as peas and squash must be able to draw in plenty of water to play their part in building soft but substantial stools. If they can't, constipation can result. With this in mind, introduce first foods midmorning, so as not to disturb your baby's pattern of breast or bottle feeding.

Keep Baby Happy

Baby drinking from bottle
Use breast and bottle feeding to reinforce a sense of comfort and familiarity. (Image: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Constipation in babies can be a result of emotional upset, so don't force solids on an unwilling baby and provide plenty of smiles and encouragement at the early feeds. Moving onto solids represents a big change in your baby's life, so use breast and bottle feeding not just for nutrition but also to reinforce a sense of comfort and familiarity.

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