Starting Baby Cereal--now Not Pooping!

Updated on November 10, 2010
M.E. asks from Collegeville, PA
14 answers

For the last couple weeks, I've been starting my almost 5 month old on baby cereal. I started with rice cereal, and most of it was on his bib and face, not in his mouth. But he made progress quickly and now actually eats it. I thought it seemed like he wasn't pooping as much, but I wasn't too worried. Then, I switched to oats because the doctor recommended to try each type of cereal for several days. After a couple days, I was pretty sure his belly was bothering him because he wasn't pooping as often and I stopped the oats in case it was related. After a few days, I started again. He loves to eat his cereal now. He eats all I give him (up to over 2 tablespoons mixed with water). Today I switched to barley. But he was really cranky yesterday and today. And he hasn't pooped since Wed. night overnight (into Thurs.). Now it's Sat. evening. He usually poops at least once a day, sometimes more. So I think it's weird he hasn't gone in so long. And since he's been cranky, I'm concerned that he's uncomfortable. I don't think he's in terrible pain because he's more whiny than anything else. I exclusively breastfeed (and have since birth) other than this introduction to cereal. What do you thi nk? He has a well visit on Tuesday, so I will ask the doctor, but has anyone had this experience. Should I stop the cereal? I feel bad because he seems to love eating it now. He's a pretty big boy--over 16 pounds at 4 months.

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answers from Erie on

try some diluted prune juice. i would switch to straight oatmeal cereal (my sons had issues with rice too...too binding i guess) if you feel you need to give him cereal. he may be big, but i agree iwth PP about their digestive systems...take it easy with the solids. their systems are still developing and this is their way of telling you that they can't handle this yet.

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answers from New London on

slow down on the cereal and increase the fruits like pear and prune. at 5 months he should only be introduced to foods not eating so much of it. Constipation with cereal is normal, especially rice cereal, but don't let it go on for too long. Mix the cereal with fruits. I didn't even give my 2nd child rice cereal because it was too constipating with my first. Also, with my second, she didn't really eat any babyfoods until 8 or 9 months mostly just breastfed. Every baby is different. You don't have to listen to what your doctor says about introducing certain foods by certain ages. Do what is most comfortable for you and your baby. Some babies can handle cereal at this age and other can't. A little milk of magnesia (half a teaspoon) in the morning will help with the constipation and get things moving again.


answers from Denver on

Barley is a binder. I'd go back to the rice cereal with just apple or prune juice.

He's uncomfortable because he's bound up and gassy and nothings moving. Barley is also a wheat product so hard to tell if he has a wheat allergy.

Try to get some prune juice in him. It should help stimulate a movement.



answers from Providence on

They have oatmeal cereal with added apples and banana flavor but has added fiber i have always given that between the regular oatmeal and rice cereals seemed to help and of coarse fruits I was taught anything that begins with "P" helps them poop! Pears,peas . peaches etc.



answers from Dallas on

With your doctor's permission, switch to oatmeal cereal, and put pureed prunes in it. If that won't make your baby poop, nothing will!



answers from York on

I did the same exact thing with my son. Breastfed, went through the cereals starting with rice for three days, then oats, etc... I was following all those healthy recommendations to the T. My son was so constipated from the rice that he didn't poop for 5 days! He was uncomfortable, and what a mess when he finally went! So don't worry- your little one will poop eventually!
We quickly got rid of the rice and stuck with the oats. We didn't mess with any other cereals until we tried whole wheat months later on. I started working in pureed fruits and veggies mixed with the oats shortly after the constipation ordeal. I started with veggies, because that's what all the books said to do so the baby wouldn't get too used to the sweets. However, if you are looking to get your little one to poop, you might want to start with pureed sweet potatoes or pears. They were excellent for producing poop!
I was such a stickler for all the rules and read everything I could with my son. For baby number two, I'll definitely skip the rice cereal completely and not worry about whether I start with fruits or veggies first. My son loved every flavor I gave him (even those pureed meats) regardless!
(Just read a couple of other replies. I did breastfeed before giving solids, which worked well for us. He stayed hydrated, I had no supply issues, and we made it to 13 months before weaning. We did start solids (last October) when my son was 5 month. That was a month after my doctor told us to start them. So don't worry you're starting too early! Prunes weren't very effective for my son. The poop that came out was really tar like. The sweet potatoe poop was colorful, but by far the best in terms of texture and ease of pooping. You might have thought that you paid attention to his poops before- now poop is about to consume your every waking minute!) Food is so much fun- enjoy it!



answers from Chicago on

Ditto on the prunes and other fruit added to the cereal. You don't need to stop the cereal though. Congratulations on reaching another mile stone!



answers from Scranton on

The LL actually recommends that you don't feed any grains until after 1yo as they say that you should start with the fruits first. Baby's really don't need all those grains and carbs. Mostly because they don't have the enzymes to digest them well.
I exclusively breastfed and never found any benefit from feeding cereal so early.


answers from Reading on

I think the prune/apple juice is a good idea.

I am in the same boat as you, except that my son is 6 months. I've started giving him a little bit of water (about an ounce) after his rice cereal. He seems to be thirsty because he drinks it down right away.

I've also been told that introducing some stage 1 fruits and veggies might help (the kinds that don't constipate!) because of the natural water in them.

In addition, I've started drinking Mother's Milk Tea to help increase my milk supply and it's really helping! Best of luck!



answers from Chattanooga on

My DD stopped pooping so much when I started solids. She used to go at least once a day... When I started solids she started only going once every 3-4 days (she is breastfed). I started mixing a little apple/prune juice with the cereal (just a couple tablespoons worth...) and that got her going again. Now she's 6 months, still only pooping every other day or so... I have introduced a few fruits and veggies, but I try to feed her prunes for breakfast every other morning just to keep her regular. It's more solid than the straight "milk" poop, but not hard little balls so I'm not worried. (She's pretty big too ~17lbs 4oz at her 4 month checkup...)



answers from Portland on

Constipation can happen when you add food, with cereal you are adding a thicker substance to their GI tract and their body is learning how to work with it. I don't know how you mix it but with ours, I mix it with diluted prune/apple juice and that seems to do the trick of keeping him normal.



answers from Honolulu on

For starting cereal, it has to be 'single grain' cereal... which is easier for a baby to digest. Their digestive system is not even fully developed yet.
AND... you still have to breastfeed, ON-demand... 24/7.
For the 1st year of life, breastfeeding is a baby's PRIMARY source of nutrition... NOT solids and not other liquids.
Solids... for the 1st year, is ONLY an "introduction" to foods... not their primary source on intake.

And at this age, they do not have to, have 3 'meals' of solids per day. It is only an introduction... to solids. Having 3 "meals" a day of solids... is gradually worked up to.... over a span of months.

Your son may be constipated. Very much so.

ALWAYS breastfeed BEFORE solids... not after. Otherwise, a baby will 'wean' from breast and be too full, to nurse.
This is per our Pediatrician as well.

Do not switch around to different cereals too often... this is per our pediatrician as well. And it must be single-grain cereal.
We did not switch around cereals or other solids... until after about 1 month... of one type of solid. For example.

A "serving size" for a baby this age, is in terms of teaspoons.

I would... wait, longer... before giving him solids... or so much.
They have tiny tummies... and their digestive system is not fully developed yet.

My kids were big/long babies too... I did not give them solids until they were already 6 months old.
I exclusively breastfed, on-demand, 24/7... and more during growth-spurts... for at least the first year.

6 months is a growth-spurt period in a baby, and every 3 months is. So then he will need to nurse more and more often, they get hungrier, but that does not mean you 'replace' nursings with "solids"....

all the best,



answers from Scranton on

OMG! If he isn't pooping, you should take him in to the docs or emergency immediately. That's not good at all. He could die, if his food isn't going through him fast enough. After 2 days I would be worried.
The odd thing is that most docs would recommend feeding one kind of cereal, starting with rice for a couple weeks before introducing a new food. All these different cereals at once probably were too much for him. Maybe it's time for a new Pediatrician. :(
Here is a link for advice on healthier diet for you and your child.
In the future you should mix plums in with his food and use soy, almond,or rice milk with his cereal. Dairy and grains are constipating.



answers from Pittsburgh on

2 things.

1. Rice is a constipator.

2. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting solid food at 6 months of age, and not before. Even if baby is "big" they are not ready to be eating solids yet, as their digestive systems are immature. It is old school thinking that 4 months is OK.

My advice - go back to only breastfeeding (or formula, if that's the case). Wait a bit longer. It appears his system isn't ready for solids.

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