It is a common belief that all pregnant women suffer from constipation during those 9 months and is said to cause the expecting mother a lot of discomfort and troubles. However, not many people know that it is not necessary for all pregnant women to suffer from constipation and sometimes women who have no such issues during their pregnancy are often seen experiencing constipation and other digestive issues during breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a very crucial time for both a new mother as well as her child. It is no surprise that this is the time when your baby will get his/ her lifelong supply of nutrients as well as several other health benefits. So what exactly causes constipation during breastfeeding? Let us take a look at some of the possible causes of constipation as well as a few foods to avoid this condition altogether.

Causes of constipation during breastfeeding

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Less or no food intake – Some of the common reasons why new mothers may suffer from constipation are bowel movements during labour, enema or a very long labour without any food intake. In these cases, there is really nothing that the body can scrape out and hence women may suffer from constipation soon after giving birth and while breastfeeding as well.

Sleepless Night & Low Physical Activity – As now you have a baby so possibility are high that you are having sleepless nights as your infant keeps you busy whole night that disturb your biological clock too. Low physical activity due to weakness in body also cause constipation just after delivery.

Due to Caesarean – If you have given birth to your baby through C- section, then it will take 3-4 days for the body as well as bowels to start functioning properly once again; hence leading to constipation.

Fear of Stiches or Pain – Some women is also seen holding in their faeces due to worries about rupturing the stitches or pain. In these cases, it becomes difficult for the new mother to pass her stools and as a result, she suffers from constipation.

Foods to treat constipation during breastfeeding

  1. Consume fiber- rich foods

All the dietary fiber that we consume is not healthy and is very difficult to digest as well. As a result, these dietary fiber foods absorb maximum water for retaining water content in the body. This further helps in softening the stools and provides bulk on the intestines; hence generating the urge to pass stools as soon as possible. The consumption of fruits and vegetables helps in providing the body with dietary fiber and these are also rich in vitamins as well as minerals. Kidney beans, pinto beans, brown rice, garbanzo beans, lentils, whole- wheat pasta as well as bread are a few foods which help in relieving constipation during breastfeeding and also help in providing the baby with all required nutrients.

List of Fiber Rich Food Items (Source – BabyCentre)

Navy beans (cooked) 1 cup 19.1 grams fiber
Kellogg’s All-Bran cereal 1 cup 17.6 grams fiber
Black beans (cooked) 1 cup 15 grams fiber
Split peas (cooked) 1 cup 16.3 grams fiber
Lentils (cooked) 1 cup 15.6 grams fiber
Pinto beans (cooked) 1 cup 15.4 grams fiber
Chickpeas (cooked)
a.k.a. garbanzo beans
1 cup 12.5 grams fiber
Raspberries (frozen) 1 cup 11 grams fiber
Frozen mixed vegetables (cooked) 1 cup 8 grams fiber
Stewed prunes 1 cup 7.7 grams fiber
Blackberries (fresh) 1 cup 7.6 grams fiber
Kellogg’s Raisin Bran 1 cup 7.3 grams fiber
Frozen spinach (cooked) 1 cup 7 grams fiber
Oat bran (cooked) 1 cup 5.7 grams fiber
Medium-sized pear 1 5.1 grams fiber
Broccoli (cooked) 1 cup 5.1 grams fiber
General Mills Total Raisin Bran 1 cup 5 grams fiber
Strawberries (frozen) 1 cup 4.8 grams fiber
Carrots (cooked) 1 cup 4.7 grams fiber
Baked potato (with skin) 1 4.4 grams fiber
Oatmeal (cooked) 1 cup 4 grams fiber
Medium-sized apple 1 3.3 grams fiber
Banana 1 3.1 grams fiber
Dried prunes 5 prunes 3 grams fiber
Dried apples 5 rings 2.8 grams fiber
Dried apricots 10 halves 2.6 grams fiber
Whole-grain bread 1 slice 1.7 grams fiber
  1. Drink more fluids

Water gets absorbed by the intestines as it moves inside the body and keeps the walls of the intestines moist. This further helps in relieving constipation by adding water content to the stools. All new mothers should increase the intake of water and other healthy fluids also because it helps in kicking all the medicines and chemicals out of the body; hence ensuring great healthy and fitness of your baby.

Although new mothers are comparatively more tired and weak, they must not restrain from moving around as this also helps the body in functioning properly.