Hey Baby, let's get things moving



Changes in stool consistency and constipation are common problems amongst children of all ages. In our little ones, this is usually onset by the introduction of solids. This is due to the gut still maturing and adapting to digest the more complex food particles introduced.


Although discomfort is labelled as one of the most common signs of constipation, it could also be due to your little one’s abdominal muscles becoming stronger that makes it harder for them to pass a stool. Decreased bowel movements are something to keep an eye on. But this can also be due to the adjustment to solids rather than constipation. So what is constipation then and how do we identify it?


Constipation is when your little one’s stool starts to form lumps (mild onset) or comes out as separate hard lumps. These lumps are difficult to pass and cause crying and back arching, a sore or swollen tummy, and often a refusal to eat when severe or ongoing.  


Changes such as introducing solids affects stool consistency, but so does moving from breastmilk to formula or changing to a different formula. Try implement one change at a time and keep an eye on your little’s dirty nappy to be sure their gut has adjusted before introducing another change.  Older children between the age of two and four often experience constipation due to psychological or environmental changes,  known as functional constipation. This is usually also when potty-training starts.


Natural cures and strategies to get those tummies working ‘softly’ again include massage, gentle leg movements in a circular motion, cycling movements, a warm bath and ensuring your little one stays hydrated. For infants up until 12 months, it is important to ensure any extra water intake does not replace milk or meals and create a false effect of fullness. Generally, a few sips to start off with in-between or after meals and milk feeds is adequate and no more than 250ml or a cup a day.


Fibre is very important to ensure a happy, healthy gut. Keep your little one’s diet high in fibre with appropriate foods for their age to prevent and relieve constipation.  A variety of fruit and vegetables is key, specifically apples, pears, berries, prunes, dates, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli. Legumes are excellent especially for the maturing gut, and as well as the later introduction of wholegrains such as oats, barley, quinoa and brown rice. Ensuring all meal components are well cooked and 50:50 skin-on-skin-off will ensure the fibre is still intact with all the important nutrients required.  


Adding healthy fats to your little one’s meals, such as avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds (for example almonds, chia – and pumpkin seeds) will aid their gut and digestion. And last but not least, the addition of bone broth to meals is helpful. Bone broth contains minerals, fat and amino acids, especially proline and glycine that support gut health.


Probiotics are also beneficial throughout the first year of life to establish a healthy gut flora, and aids changes like starting solids, as well as when teething.  Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that grow and flourish in our gut. An imbalance leads to increased gas, constipation or diarrhoea.  


Prebiotics are as important, as they act as ‘fertiliser’ for the probiotics to flourish. The addition of probiotics has been shown to decrease the discomfort of colic and reflux and prevent constipation and diarrhoea. The gut is also a major role player in establishing a healthy immune system, which in turn puts the focus on pre- and probiotics to strengthen the immune system.  Other than breastmilk, both pre- and probiotics can be found in fibre-rich foods, plain yoghurt, banana, buttermilk or amasi, and fermented cheese such as ricotta.   


Our meals at Rooted Natural are not only nutritionally balanced but carefully prepared to ensure we provide your little one with adequate fibre and flavours that will make them love their vegetables and fruit. 


 Written and compiled by Nadia J van Rensburg and Kirby Van Rooyen

Rooted Flavours 

Stage 1

- Pear apple and date

- Apple and Clove

- Broccoli and Olive Oil

- Spinach, Cauli & Pea*

- Broccoli, Spinach, Avo and Basil

- Oats, Banana and Chia

- Millet Blueberry Apple and Beetroot

- Sesame Carrot and Chickpea*

- Pea, babymarrow, Avo & Mint

- Almond Cauli with Avo & yoghurt

- Minty Lamb with Pea and babymarrow


Stage 2

- Oats, Banana, Yoghurt and Pumpkin Seeds

- Millet Blueberry, Beetroot and Ricotta

- Millet Zucchini, Pea and Ricotta 

- Barley, Sweet Potato and Fresh Herbs*

- Avo and beetroot Hummus. (chickpeas)*

- Chunky Beans*

- Quinoa with roasted carrot & strawberry *

- Red Lentil *

- Chicken Roast Broccoli, Yoghurt, Brown rice and Chives (highlight that it has all of the above)

- Chicken, carrot, beetroot and cumin with Quinoa

- Curried Chicken, sweet potato & chickpea

- Lamb and Barley, Roast beg and Fresh Herbs

- Beef mince, roast aubergine, cauliflower and pasta shells (we use Chickpea pasta)


*meals also available with Added Bone Broth




M Waterham, J Kaufman, S Gibb.  Childhood constipation - Australian family physician, 2017 

L Khan.  Constipation management in pediatric primary care - Pediatric Annals, 2018

MM Tabbers, MA Benninga . Constipation in children: fiber and probiotics. BMJ clinical evidence, 2015 

Y Vandenplas, E De Greef, T Devreker et al. Probiotics and prebiotics in infants and children - Paediatric infectious diseases. 2013