Feeding your baby low fiber foods like eggs, cheese, pancakes and white rice can disrupt the natural flow of regular bowel movements. Transitioning from breast milk or formula to cow's milk at 12 months can also lead to constipation, explains the website Ask Dr. Sears. You don't have to stand by helplessly watching your constipated baby's distress. Fortunately, a variety of healthy foods can help normalize your baby's bowel movements.
What's Fiber Got to do With It? Plenty!
Fiber-rich foods can help soften your 12-month-old's stools by luring water inside of them, making bodily waste virtually effortless to pass. Apricots, pears, plums, peaches and prunes are a natural and nutritious alternative to a laxative. Apples, oranges and bananas can also help get things moving in the right direction, notes Mayo Clinic. Barley cereal, oatmeal, whole grain bread and high-fiber veggies like beans, broccoli, spinach and peas can help prevent and relieve constipation and its accompanying discomfort.
Keep the Water or Juices Flowing
Complementing your 12-month-old's regular feedings with at least two to four ounces of water can help restore regular bowel movements. Offer your baby fruit juice if water isn't doing the trick or if she turns her nose up at the bland taste of H20. Apple, cherry, grape, pear and prune juices can be effective at relieving constipation, points out MedlinePlus, a website published by the National Institutes of Health. As with water, two to four ounces of juice is typically recommended.
When to Consult With Your Doctor
Talk to your doctor before giving your 12-month-old enemas or laxatives or any other type of over-the-counter remedies -- such as glycerin suppositories -- to jump start constipation relief. Also, notify your health care provider if you've tried every dietary adjustment in the book yet your baby's constipation persists or he becomes increasingly irritable or starts vomiting.
Grumble, Groans and Gravity
Grunting sounds accompanied by a disgruntled red face doesn't necessarily mean that your 12-month-old is constipated. It's normal for a baby to strain and moan when trying to excrete a stool while lying on her back because she isn't getting any help from gravity, explains Healthy Children, a website published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Straining or pushing for less than 10 minutes or passing hard, dry stools is also considered normal as long as your baby isn't forced to strain for prolonged periods.