At the end of 2015, a momma emailed me about constipation and fluids. Last month, I covered techniques to help ease your baby’s constipation. And this month is all about fluids.
While you might hear that fluids and constipation have a cause-and-effect sort of relationship, they aren’t always related. For example, your baby may be perfectly hydrated but still constipated. From my experience, this can be because there’s too much bread, cereal, or potatoes in your baby’s diet. I’ve also seen constipation in babies who drink a lot of pasteurized cow milk.
Hard, dry stools generally have less to do with hydration and more to do with microbes living in your baby’s gut. These microbes are the reason why some fruits and fibrous foods speed up your baby’s bowel movements and relieve constipation. (Anyone have a blowout after a box of raisins?) They’re also the reason why the introduction of solids can sometimes sloooow everything down, leading to constipation.
Basically, constipation does not always equal the need for more fluids. And when constipation is related to dehydration, you will see other signs that your baby needs more fluids such as:
- Dry, red lips
- Fewer wet diapers
- Dark yellow urine
True dehydration can happen during a fever or following vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sweating. This is when it’s critical to make sure your baby is getting enough fluids.
A Note About Water: Avoid offering your baby plain water with meals. Water can make your baby feel full, meaning he’ll eat less food + take in fewer nutrients. Water with meals can also interfere with the activation of digestive enzymes, making food harder to break down and absorb.
For the first 12 months, breast milk or formula keeps your baby hydrated. But that doesn’t mean outside fluids are off-limits! Below you’ll find a printable list of what your baby can drink from 6 – 24 months.