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  • Elenor MacGregor

Apple Purees? Do they cause constipation?



I have been getting a lot of questions about apple puree and constipatin lately. So here are the answers! Let me know what you think if and if you have had any confusion about this topic.


Can I give raw apple puree to my baby?


As long as your baby is at least 6 months old, can hold their head and trunk up well, is interested in food and isn't pushing food out of the mouth with their tongue (the tongue thrust reflex that babies usually lose between 4-6 months old) then it is safe to give your baby apple puree. 


Is apple puree constipating for babies?


I think there has been a lot of confusion around apple being possibly constipating because in the past doctors used to recommend apple as part of the BRAT diet for children with viral diarrheal illnesses. This diet consisted of banana, rice, apple, and toast. It's relatively bland and generally well tolerated by kids with upset tummies. I also get a lot of questions about apples because apples contain pectin. Pectin is a sugar and a soluble fiber that when heated makes a good thickener. Think jams! Soluble fiber attracts water and adds bulk to the stool (which helps diarrhea) and makes a stool easier to pass. However, insoluble fiber is what you really want to give if you are looking to speed up poop transit times. The apple skin contains insoluble fiber which is why eating a whole apple helps you poop. Obviously, we don't want to give young babies whole apples because they may choke. So, to help with constipation in young children I would recommend adding pureed beans, lentils and legumes to the diet, pureed berries (mindful of seeds!), and veggie purees like spinach and other dark leafy greens. Pro tip: If your child spits these out try mixing them with other foods your child already tolerates and likes such as spinach and pear puree. 


By the way, babies six months and older can have a little water too to help with constipation (around 4 oz at 6 months old). 


Is apple puree just applesauce?


When deciding whether or not to give your baby applesauce versus apple puree it's best to read labels and make sure there are no added sweeteners or other "extras" that might not be healthy for your baby. Making homemade applesauce at home might be a great way to avoid this problem. The environmental working group is also a great resource for specific product recommendations. 


What is the best time to give apple puree to a baby?


A six month old baby typically eats 1-4 tablespoons of fruit and veggies 1-2 times a day. Babies can eat apple puree during one of those times


Can I give my baby apple puree everyday? While you could offer apple puree daily, I think it's better to introduce a variety of foods to your baby overtime. Introduce 1 new food every 3-5 days and monitor for reactions. Vomiting, diarrhea or skin rash could be a sign of a food intolerance or allergy. As your baby develops a palate for a variety of foods, they will be able to take in all the nutrients they need for a healthy gut and healthy life. 


When making food choices for you baby it important to consider that for most kids a variety of foods and textures (as they are able to physically handle them) are great for the gut, development, and making your kiddo has enough micronutritients (read vitamins and minerals).


Even if your kiddo spits out a new food intially it may not mean that they don't like it. It can take up to eleven times of introducing a new food before your baby takes to it. So don't give up and keep offering choices.


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