What Causes Constipation In Toddlers
Intolerance to cow’s milk is the most common cause of baby constipation. If digestive issues continue into toddlerhood, experts might blame insufficient dietary fiber, exercise, or water intake. Indeed, any change in dietincluding the introduction to dairy products or other new foodscan cause a toddler to get backed up. Too much processed foods may also be to blame.
Constipation in toddlers can also be caused by a refusal to use the bathroom. Kids might hold in poop if they can’t be bothered to stop playing , if they’re wary of public restrooms, or if they’re scared of the toilet. The journal Pediatrics once reported that a 3-year-old boy became terribly constipated after seeing a single television commercial, in which the toilet bowl turned into a monster and the toilet seat was a chomping mouth. Along those lines, some kids are so constipated that every poop is painfuland as a result they avoid going at all, which makes the situation worse.
Bouts of constipation can be triggered by other stressful events in a child’s life, like the birth of a sibling, parental conflict, or toilet training too soon. Toddlers might also get backed up from uncommon conditions like spinal-cord defects, celiac disease , lead poisoning, or thyroid trouble. Finally, certain illnesses or medications can also trigger constipation in toddlers.
How Do I Know If My Toddler Is Constipated
First, it is important for parents to note that most toddlers do not stool every day. While this is normal for teenagers and adults, this is not a requirement for children before they start school. Some of the most common signs of constipation include:
- A toddler that has fewer than three bowel movements in a seven day period
- A toddler who complains that his or her poops are hard and difficult to pass
- Blood on the surface of the stool
- Small strings of liquid, pasty stools
- A fear of pooping due to pain
Any toddler who experiences the symptoms above should be treated for constipation.
But I Dont Need To Go Potty
A toddlers drive to play and engage in the world can overwhelm their developing brain when it comes time to choose between sitting on the boring, old potty or playing with cool trucks.
This is one of the most common potty training problems.
Seconds after sitting down, a toddler will leap off the seat and say Im done as matter of factly as if theyve been potty-ing for years.
While I admire their gusto, its important to set a firm but loving expectation that your child will sit for a period of time on the potty, especially if you suspect they need to go number two.
Pediatricians recommend your child sit on the potty for just 3-5 minutes at a time to avoid making the potty seem like a punishment.
While you should always consult a pediatrician if you have any concerns about your childs health, at-home treatment for constipation is possible. Natural constipation in toddlers remedies include a healthy diet, exercise or movement, and a supportive environment for potty learning.
The stress of a constipated toddler is REAL. Which of these constipation in toddlers remedies worked best for your little one?
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Hope For Kids With Constipation
Figuring out whats causing your childs constipation will be helpful in overcoming it. It will likely take time for your childs intestines to shrink back to their regular size in the mean time.
If something is working in your house that I didnt list here, PLEASE share so that it can help others! Be sure to check out more ways to ease constipation from The Constipation Gurus, a brilliant physical therapist and dietician team that are working to help kids suffering with constipation.
Toddler Constipation Can Cause Plenty Of Pain And Discomfort For Your Child These Expert
Toddlers normally poop at least once per day, although some healthy children have bowel movements every few days. Stools that are hard, painful, or very large might signal constipationa common condition that’s often misunderstood, says Steven Hodges, M.D., a pediatric urologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the coauthor of It’s No Accident and Bedwetting and Accidents Aren’t Your Fault.
Keep reading to learn more about why some kids get backed up, with tips for how to help a constipated toddler.
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How To Treat Constipation At Home
Try these tips to help babies who have difficulty passing poos:
- If your baby has infant formula, always measure the water first before adding the formula powder this helps ensure that the ratio of water-to-formula is correct.
- If your baby is old enough to drink water, offer extra drinks .
- Gently rub their stomach to help stimulate the bowel your baby might also feel better with gentle massage to help manage the pain of constipation.
- A warm bath can help calm and settle your baby and relieve discomfort.
If your baby is older than 6 months, add some extra fruit and vegetables to their diet to boost their fibre intake.
If your child is older than 9 months, adding stewed prunes or apricots to their meal may help. They can have up to 3 tablespoons, 3 times a week. Cereal that has bran may also help mild constipation. Older babies can try prune juice diluted with water . Start slowly, with 10 millilitres. Increase as needed until they can do a soft poo.
Home Remedies For Constipation In Children
13 July, 2022
Constipation in children shouldnt be treated with the conventional laxatives that adults take.
These drugs have an irritating effect on the intestine that can impair its function, especially if theyre abused at an early age.
In todays article, well give you 13 natural and home remedies for constipation in children that prevent no risks to their health.
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What Simple Measures Can I Try First For My Child’s Constipation
- increase the water your child drinks daily – give them water at each meal time and extra water when it is hot
- increase the fibre in your child’s diet
- increase fruit and vegetables in your child’s diet
- try giving your child 1 glass of undiluted apple juice or KiwiCrush daily – do not give juice to infants under 12 months of age
- encourage your child to sit on the toilet regularly
- for bottlefed infants, consider experimenting with various infant formulas to see if there is one that makes the poos softer and easier to do
- encourage exercise
Fruit juice , and some of the medicines used to treat constipation, are high in sugar. Make sure you or your child brushes their teeth after the juice or medicine.
Check If Its Constipation
It may be constipation if your child:
- is irritable, angry or unhappy
- soils their clothes
- has poo like ‘rabbit droppings’ or little pellets
- strains or has pain when they poo
- bleeds during or after having a poo, because their poo is large and hard
- has stomach pain that improves after they poo
If you are breastfeeding your baby, they may go a week without having a poo.
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Potty Training Challenges: Natural Constipation In Toddlers Remedies
If there is one thing Ive learned from years of oversharing information about my own bodily functions, its this:
Adults are really weird about poop.
We have a hygiene-obsessed culture in the U.S., leading to a lot of stigma around poop and digestion issues in general.
If you arent regularly pooping in front of your child or talking about poop at home, its possible its still a bit of a mystery to them.
When your child is learning to use the potty, it is often just as nerve-wracking for them as it is for us. If your child has a really painful poop experience or feels a lot of pressure to perform, going to the bathroom can be stressful and scary.
Keep the potty learning process as chill and low-pressure as possible. This can help your child relax and release those bowels. W this is much easier said than done.
Jamie Glowacki in her book Oh Crap! Potty Training: Everything Modern Parents Need to Know to Do It Once and Do It Right has a lot of wonderful tips for how to help your toddler feel supported and included during the toilet learning process.
P Is For Poop And Also Prunes And Pears
As mentioned previously, if your toddler loves his carbs and hates his veg and fruit, constipation is a highly possible consequence.
Of course, incorporating high-fibre foods into his diet from the get-go should help ward off constipation in the first place. But because we know this can be tough, especially with picky eaters, there are some fruits that can bring about almost instant relief for toddler constipation.
- Prunes: These work like magic on almost all constipated toddlers. Try soaking and then mashing several prunes up into a juice. Or chop prunes and add them to oatmeal. If your child will eat them whole, then offer a couple. While you can buy bottled prune juice in the supermarket, remember that natural is always best.
- Pears: Considered to be natural laxatives, pears can work wonders on your toddlers poop problem. Offer them whole or make them into a juice by simmering cut pears, then pureeing.
Keep in mind that any stone fruit are generally recommended to ease constipation in children.
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Foods To Avoid For Quick Relief Of Kids Constipation
As a feeding therapist, I hate to tell kids there are foods they cant or shouldnt eat. At four years old, I did begin to explain to my son that these were foods we could only eat sometimes because they made it much harder for him to poop cant say I liked doing that, but he gets it. None of these things are totally off limits, but I do limit them as much as possible.
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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Do Bananas Cause Constipation In Toddlers
Green bananas can cause constipation in toddlers. Green bananas have more starch. The starch is difficult to digest, which can make constipation worse. However, there is some contradictory evidence regarding green bananas.
Ripe, yellow bananas and brown bananas can help loosen stools. The reason for this is that as a banana ripens, the amount of starch breaks down. Bananas contain soluble fiber which absorbs water. This makes stools easier to pass.
What About Toddler Stool Softeners And Laxatives
If natural remedies for constipation dont work or dont work in the long term or theres a blockage that needs to be cleared, see your doctor. They may prescribe a laxative like Miralax which can help some kids.
TIP: Be sure to ask about the plan to decrease the dosage to get off of it when the constipation is resolved.
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Need More Help For Kids Constipation
Preventing constipation is the key to avoiding this issue and that begins with a healthy diet.
My program, The Nourished Child Blueprint, helps you set up a food system that is healthy and full of fiber.
Ive discussed constipation on my podcast, as well.
Lastly, dont forget to keep your eye on the end goal: Raising a healthy eater.
How To Prevent Constipation
- Make sure your child has plenty to drink offer breastfed babies who are not eating solids yet plenty of breastfeeds. Formula-fed babies can have extra drinks of water between their formula feeds. See more advice on drinks for babies and toddlers.
- Give your child a variety of foods, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, which are a good source of fibre. See what to feed young children.
- Encourage your child to be physically active. For more information, read the physical activity guidelines for children aged under 5 years.
- Get your child into a routine of regularly sitting on the potty or toilet, after meals or before bed, and praise them whether or not they poo. This is particularly important for potty-trained boys, who may forget about pooing once they are weeing standing up.
- Make sure your child can rest their feet flat on the floor or a step when they’re using the potty or toilet, to get them in a good position for pooing. ERIC, The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity’s leaflet, Children’s Bowel Problems shows this position.
- Ask if they feel worried about using the potty or toilet some children do not want to poo in certain situations, such as at nursery or school.
- Stay calm and reassuring, so that your child does not see going to the toilet as a stressful situation you want your child to see pooing as a normal part of life, not something to be ashamed of.
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How Do I Know If My Toddlers Constipation Is Serious
If your toddler is pooping less than three times a week, is clearly in pain when they do go, has abdominal pain, fever, vomiting, blood in the stool, or any of these other symptoms, call your doctor.
It can also be helpful to think through whether what your child is experiencing is normal for themor if its a totally new issue.
Assess how bothered by the issue they seem, or if its more that you are preoccupied by how little they seem to be going.
Rome Iv Diagnostic Criteria For Chronic Constipation
To objectively identify chronic constipation, healthcare professionals look at the Rome IV diagnostic criteria, which were established by expert consensus:
Your child has suffered for at least 3 months with at least two of the following symptoms:
- lumpy or hard stools in more than one out of four bowel movements
- straining during these movements
- a feeling that there is more stool to pass but he is unable to pass it
- a sense of blockage preventing the passage of stool
- needing help to remove stool
- less than 3 spontaneous bowel movements per week
- rare instances of loose stools
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Why Is My Baby Constipated
One of the main causes of constipation in babies is a change in diet. A change in diet may include:
- changing from being formula-fed
Learn more about your baby’s poo.
In extreme cases, rare illnesses can cause constipation such as:
- problems with nerve endings in the bowel
- problems relating to the spinal cord
- thyroid deficiency
- other metabolic disorders
All babies are checked for these conditions, so this is usually not something you need to be concerned about. But if you are worried about your baby or are notice that pooing is painful for them, seek medical advice.
How To Treat Your Child’s Constipation
If you think your child may be constipated, take them to a GP. The treatment for constipation depends on your child’s age.
The longer your child is constipated, the more difficult it can be for them to get back to normal, so make sure you get help early.
Laxatives are often recommended for children who are eating solid foods, alongside diet and lifestyle changes.
It may take several months for the treatments to work, but keep trying until they do. Remember that laxative treatment may make your child’s overflow soiling worse before it gets better.
Once your child’s constipation has been dealt with, it’s important to stop it coming back. A GP may advise that your child keeps taking laxatives for a while to make sure their poo stays soft enough to push out regularly.
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Eat A Normal Amount Of Fiber
Dont overdo it just because your child is constipated. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a normal amount of fiber for a constipated child. Just what is a normal amount? They recommend two easy-to-use strategies.
- Eat 5. If your child is eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day along with other foods with fiber in them, there is no need to count grams of fiber.
- Add 5. If you do want to track fiber grams, add five grams to your childs age. For example, a 3-year-old would need to eat about eight grams of fiber per day.
- Medium apple with skin = 3.5 grams
- Pear with skin = 4.6 grams
- 1 stalk of broccoli = 5 grams
- 1 cup of carrots = 4.6 grams
- 1 cup of whole wheat cereal flakes = 3 grams
- 1 cup of raspberries = 5.1 grams
In general, eat fruits and veggies and avoid high-fat overly-processed foods. Its the same general diet guidance as for anything else. While toddlers need healthy fats to grow, if they are dealing with constipation they can temporarily cut back on higher-fat foods.