Constipation Symptoms In Kids
Everybodys bowels are different, which can make it hard toknow if your child is constipated. Some kids need to go multiple times a day others, every few days. In general, though, its a problem if your kiddo isgoing only a couple of times a week or less. Dry, hard stools especially ifthey are large in diameter or very small are also a sign of trouble.
Unsure if your child is going often enough? Keep an eye outfor these common constipation clues:
- Pain with pooping.
- Stomachache or bloating.
Home Remedies To Treat Constipation In Toddlers
Is your baby constipated? Constipation is an irritating and painful condition, not only for adults but for babies as well. It is very difficult to see your little one suffer and cry from this disease.Introduction of solid foods into babys diet, intolerance to milk proteins or allergy, consumption of dairy products and dehydration are some of the main reasons that lead to constipation. Here are some tips that can help you relieve it. Note, however, that constipation is less common than people think. We often think wrongly that our little one has a problem if he does not have a bowel movement every one or two days. However, its pace will gradually evolve as it grows and only medical advice will allow you to be really focused on what it needs.
# The belly massageMake your babylie on the back, gently massage the belly at the navel and fold the legs to the abdomen gently, one leg while the other remains extended and vice versa. The massage will only last a few minutes and your hands will go clockwise.Some tips for the massage session:- Ensure that the massage room is warm enough ,- Put a relaxing music,- Warm your hands,- Undress your little one,- Pour in your hands a special baby massage oil or a few drops of sweet almond oil mixed with a cream or vegetable oil to prevent any epidermal reaction.
# Hot bathUse hot water for your babys bath. While drying him, give a gentle massage. Hot water relaxes the muscles of the stomach and relieves constipation.
Signs Of Constipation In Children
- saying that it hurts when doing a poo
- showing signs of holding on such as crossing legs, running around, crying or refusing to sit on the toilet
- complaining of tummy pain
- Encourage your child to exercise more.
- Establish a regular toilet routine. Bowel training requires motivation and encouragement. Use a star chart system of rewards to help your child to go and sit on the toilet. This will help your child get used to doing a bowel movement at a similar time each day.
- Discuss the school toilets with the teachers if this is a problem.
- Limit the use of laxatives. They should not be used more than once or twice. They dont solve the underlying problem and may change the way your childs bowels work.
- Use laxatives that increase bulk and fibre in the gut, if you do use them.
- Try to solve the problem quickly the longer your child remains constipated, the worse it may become and the longer it may take to treat.
- See a doctor if constipation is a long-term problem.
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What To Know About Constipation For Babies And Toddlers
- Know the symptoms of constipation
- Understand why constipation happens at these ages
- Learn common dietary treatments for constipation
Constipation in children is defined as having fewer than two bowel movements per week and/or difficulty passing stools that are small, hard and dry.1 But every child is different. Pay attention to whatever seems regular for your little one, because any deviation from your babyâs ânormalâ can be unpleasant.
What causes constipation?
Inadequate hydration is the likely constipation culprit, along with eating a diet low in fiber.
It is important for babies and toddlers to drink enough fluids to keep their bodies properly hydrated and bowels moving regularly.2 And when increasing the amount of fiber in your childâs diet, it is important to keep increasing the amount of water to help process the added fiber.
How much fluid does your family need? Read more here: Hydration to Prevent Constipation for the Family
Is my infant constipated?
Healthy babies under 6 months are unlikely to experience constipation because they receive adequate hydration and nutrients from breastmilk or formula or a combination.
Remember that itâs very common for your baby to grunt, strain, and turn red while passing stool since their abdominal muscles are still weak so they must work harder to have a bowel movement. As they become older and their muscles get stronger, theyâll be able to pass stool much easier!
Reasons babies under 6 months may become constipated:
Is My Toddler Constipated
The average toddler makes a bowel movement once a day. Usually, a child who has a bowel movement fewer than three times a week , and whose stools are hard and difficult to pass, is constipated. Also, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, any child with stools that are large, hard, dry, and accompanied by painful bowel movements, soiling between bowel movements, or blood on the outside of the stool may have constipation.
Don’t be worried if your child has a bout of constipation — it’s perfectly normal once in awhile. But if your toddler’s constipation lasts for two weeks or more it’s called chronic constipation, and you should see your pediatrician.
Your doctor may ask you to keep track of your child’s bowel movements — how often they occur, how big and hard they are, and if there is any blood in your toddler’s stool. You should also look for other symptoms that can occur along with constipation, such as:
- General crankiness
- Crying or screaming during bowel movements
- Avoiding the toilet
- Smears or bits of liquid stool in the diaper or underwear
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What Foods Should A Constipated Toddler Avoid
Many find that dairy can make constipation worse, as well as classic binding foods like rice, bread, and bananasyou know, the foods that youd give if your toddler was going too much! .
Aim for more produce and healthy fats than refined carbohydrates if possible. In the case of a dairy allergy or sensitivity, dairy can make constipation worsethough the probiotics in yogurt and kefir may actually help.
TIP: You can try taking a break from cows milk and cheese, but trying a few different yogurt options.
Ways To Help A Constipated Toddler
You should seek the advice of your doctor as soon as possible, as it can get more difficult to treat constipation, the longer it goes on.Natural ways of treating constipation in toddlers include:
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How Can Constipation Cause A Vicious Cycle
Constipation often starts after 1 hard poo has caused pain. The natural response to a painful experience is to try and avoid or escape it in the future. So, the next time your child feels the urge to poo, they ‘hold on’ in an attempt to avoid passing another painful poo. This results in the poo becoming firmer, larger and even more painful to poo out and your child becomes even more reluctant to poo in the future.
This leads to a vicious cycle:
The key to stopping this cycle is making the poo soft again. See Constipation treatment.
How Do I Know If My Toddler Is Pooping Enough
I figured that Id just cut right to the chase! Its helpful to remember that every kiddo is different and unique, so one child may go once a day or once every three days and another might go a few times a day.
TIP: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the important factors to know if you have a constipated toddler are whether stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass. Not the frequency of bowel movements.
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Include Fibrous Foods In His Diet
Consuming fruits and vegetables that have a substantial amount of fibre in them aids bowel movements. If rice cereal is a part of your childs diet, replace it with barley cereal. Along with barley cereal, you can also give a fruit juice to your tot, this will provide him relief from constipation. You should also include vegetables like beans, spinach, sweet potato, and broccoli, and fruits like oranges and apricots in your childs diet to keep constipation at bay. You can also give corn syrup to your child as it contains sugar-based proteins. These proteins also play a key role in stimulating the bowel movements in a child.
How Can I Help My Constipated Child Poop
If your child is constipated and you want to help them pass a bowel movement, fast, there are some things you can do that should offer fast relief. But, before you reach for the laxatives, keep in mind that kids and their digestive systems are more sensitive than us adults. Choose only kid-safe supplements and gentle home remedies for your little one.
- Hydrate! Start by giving your toddler or child water. Lots of water! Hydration is so important for healthy digestion, and when your kid is constipated, drinking water can help get things moving. When your kids are well-hydrated, so is their stool, and that makes it easier to have a healthy bowel movement. Throw an electrolyte Nuun tab into their water for even better hydration!
- Fill Em up with fiber: I know it can be tough to get your kids to eat anything that even seems healthy, but fiber doesnt have to be gross or unappetizing. Serve up a dish made with baked beans, sneak some flaxseed into your baked goods, or give your little ones a big bowl of fiber-filled fruit. Choose apples, pears, or bananas to help treat constipation in kids.
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How Do I Help My Toddler With Constipation
Keep your child hydrated
Keeping your child well hydrated will help prevent and alleviate constipation. Choose water as the main source of hydration and limit drinks such as fruit juices . And remember that in addition to fluids, fresh fruits and vegetables can also contribute to proper hydration.
Include lots of fiber in your childâs diet
The recommended amount of fiber for toddlers is about 19 grams of fiber per day.8For babies 6 months and up, simply aim to introduce veggies and fruit, in the texture your little one can handle, multiple times per day.
Include lots of vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains in your childâs diet to help meet this goal.
Examples of foods with fiber include apples and pears , berries, prunes, sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli, beans, oatmeal and whole grain bread or pasta. You canât go wrong with vegetables and fruits so offer a variety daily. The goal is one fruit or veggie at each meal and snack.
For reference, half a cup of cooked beans has about 6-9 grams of fiber, 1 small apple with skin has about 3 grams of fiber and half a cup of broccoli or greens has about 3 grams of fiber.
Check the nutrition facts panel on whole grains to determine the amount of fiber they provide.
Avoid too many low fiber foods
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What Is Normal For Children
Normal bowel habits for children vary. Most children have a bowel movement at least once every 2 or 3 days, but some may go up to 3 times a day.
Your child is constipated if they are doing hard poo or have trouble pushing poo out. If your child is constipated, they probably arent pooing regularly either.
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How Will You Know That Your Toddler Is Constipated
If your child has a bowel movement fewer than three times a week, then it is a sign of constipation. Some other symptoms of constipation include stomach ache, nausea, loss of appetite, and bloating. If your child cries or screams while pooping, then he might be having a hard time pooping, and no doubt, it is a sign that he is constipated.
How To Prevent Constipation In Kids
Wondering how to help prevent constipation in the first place? There are lots of things you can do to support your kids digestive wellness. Of course, a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to help prevent constipation in kids. But, I know its not always easy to convince a finicky toddler to eat all their veggies. Here are some other ways you can help your kids have frequent and healthy bowel movements.
- Make probiotics an everyday staple: It can be tempting to only reach for probiotics when your kid is constipated. But, adding them to their everyday diet is a great way to help prevent constipation in kids. They deliver healthy bacteria that support overall gut function and help ensure your childs digestive tract is balanced and healthy. I give them to my kids every day, and if one of them is constipated, I bump up the dose and give them two a day until theyve pooped.
One of my favorite kid-friendly probiotic supplements is Gryph & Ivyrose Childrens Chocolate Probiotics. Theyre packed with 3 billion live bacteria per servingand theyre chocolate flavored. If I forget their daily probiotics they remind me!
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Causes Of Constipation In Babies
- formula is too strong if your baby is bottle-fed, make sure the formula is made up correctly, so that there is not too much formula powder for the amount of water
- using a different formula changes to the milk formula
- not enough drinks in warm weather, bottle-fed infants require extra fluid such as cooled, boiled water between formula feeds. Breastfed infants may require more frequent feeds
- solids that are not right for the baby use the correct solid foods for the age of your baby. Be aware that excessive use of legumes and high fibre cereals are not appropriate for young infants
- difficulty passing poo sometimes a hard poo can cause a little tear or crack in the skin around the anus and this can hurt the baby. The baby seems to know that it hurts to do poo and so holds on. Then the poo becomes even harder and will be more painful to pass.
How Much Water Do Kids Need To Drink Everyday
For toddlers, the goal is 16-24 oz., 4-8 year olds should aim for 56 oz. and 9-13 year olds should be getting more than 70 oz. of fluids each day. Thats A LOT of water. About 20% of these fluid recommendations can come from foods, but the rest should be from a beverage, preferably water.
Water rich foods can also help your child reach his goals. Offer things like lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.
Give this hydrating slushie a try:
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Treating And Preventing Constipation
Its important to act if your child is constipated since it can make them very uncomfortable. Constipation can also cause problems such as faecal incontinence.
You can help your child by teaching healthy bowel habits, such as not holding on, and getting them to sit on the toilet after every meal. Reward them when they go and talk to them if they are worried about going to the toilet.
Make sure your child eats high fibre foods. You could give them a natural laxative such as prune juice. To make the it taste better, try mixing it with another juice, or freeze it to make icy poles.
Read more on laxatives here.
Changes In Routine Environment Or Added Stress
Moving, starting a new school, re-starting school, travel, or difficult relationships are just some of the everyday life occurrences that may throw some children off of their normal stooling pattern.
If constipation is untreated, it may get worse, leading to a need for regular medications or an enema to eliminate stool and relieve constipation.
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Foods That Ease Constipation
First, make sure your little one is eating non-binding, low-fat foods that are high in fiber like potatoes, raspberries, whole-wheat pasta, avocado and pears. Because fiber is ingested, but not digested, it adds bulk to the stool that makes it pass through the digestive system more easily. And, of course, theres always prune juice. At the first hint of constipation, we would give my boys organic prune juice/apple juice, which we jokingly called crapple juice. But, hey, it did the trick!