How can I ease constipation for my formula fed baby?


Shannon asks: My baby seems constipated after introducing formula last night. Any suggestions?


Breastmilk is naturally rich in certain enzymes making it highly digestible, so it is not uncommon for babies to experience digestive upset, such as constipation when introducing formula. Establishing healthy gut bacteria is key to reducing the risk of digestive upset for babies, as well as other things like colic, eczema, food allergies or even asthma.

Some formula companies are including probiotics in their formula, however, according to Dr. Katherine Erlich, MD, testing done on many brands of formula claiming to contain probiotics, frequently proves them to be dead and therefore of no benefit whatsoever. 

Consuming a probiotic supplement provides healthy gut bacteria, making nutrients more absorbable and available to your little one. Probiotics also boost your baby’s immune system, by becoming the first line of defence against pathogens in the gut that enter through your baby’s mouth from the outside world.

We recommend a probiotic that is specifically designed for formula fed babies - Baby F by Genestra. It contains 4 strains of bacteria, including bifidobacteria, which are important in supporting the lower gastrointestinal tract and prebiotics, which the good bacteria feed off of, helping your baby grow a healthy gut garden! With respect to general digestive support and constipation, we would avoid any probiotic that doesn't contain bifidobacteria, as they are critical for the lower digestive system. BioGaia would be an example of a common probiotic lacking in these important bifidobacteria strains. 

Sometimes massaging the baby's tummy or doing bicycle baby legs can help encourage bowel movements. 

If the constipation continues, you may want to consider trying a different formula. The brands we recommend are Hipp and Hollee. 

If these suggestions do not work, please feel free to connect with us on our Little Warrior facebook group to discuss additional strategies for your specific situation. 

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