Constipation in children may occur from time to time, and it can be a nerve-wrecking experience.
Just like adults, bowel movements in children may change due to several reasons. But if you see that your toddler is straining or crying whenever he or she is passing motion, it would help to address that soon to alleviate the discomfort.
Toddler constipation symptoms
How can you tell if your child is suffering from constipation?
Toddlers may exhibit the following symptoms, and parents can look out for these signs if you suspect your child might be constipated:
Screaming or crying during bowel movements
Loss of appetite
Sudden crankiness or avoiding the potty or toilet
Slight soiling on diaper or underwear (liquid traces of poop)
Slight traces of blood
What causes constipation in young children?
There are several common causes to constipation, and one (or more) of them may be taking place and hence resulting in constipation.
– Diet: insufficient intake of fibre and fluids, your child’s digestive reaction to certain foods, excess intake of processed food and sweets. Changes in diet such as the transition from breastmilk to formula milk, or switching from one brand of formula milk to another, may also result in constipation depending on the child’s body reaction
– Fear: If your toddler had a fearful bowel movement experience, there’s a chance he or she would be afraid to go to the potty due to the pain and discomfort.
– Medication and illness: If your child has started on a course of medicines and is experiencing constipation, you may wish to check with his doctor.
– Changes in toddler’s routine: some toddlers take time to adapt to changes, and that can include the transition from diaper to potty, or traveling to a new country. These new happenings are different from the usual routine so your toddler may need some time to adapt to the new changes.
Toddler constipation remedies
If your toddler is experiencing constipation, here are some treatments to help your relieve your child:
Diet: Monitor your child’s diet in the recent days leading up to the first sign of constipation. Some home remedies for constipation include eliminating Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast (BRAT), white bread and pasta in their diets. Instead, offer prunes, papayas, plums, peaches and pears, as well as plenty of vegetables such as broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables. Ensure that your child has sufficient intake of fluids throughout the day, especially when fibre-rich food is offered as insufficient intake of fluids coupled with a boost of fibre increases the likelihood of constipation too.
Medication: Laxatives and stool softeners for children may be recommended by the doctor, depending on the severity of the child’s condition. Probiotics can be helpful in regulating your child’s gut health too – offer yogurt or probiotic supplements to help.
Encourage potty time: If your child is afraid of going to the potty or toilet, he or she may need more positive reinforcement to allay those fears. Gently ask if your child needs the potty after meals, and consider using stickers as rewards for being a little champion. Elevate his or her legs by popping them on a stool when your child is seated on the toilet bowl or potty – this position creates a 35◦ angle at your child’s knees which is recommended as an ideal position for bowel movements.
Get moving: If your toddler is not getting his or her dose of exercise, it helps to get that body (and bowels) moving!
Battling those hard stools can be a painful sight for parents. If your little one is tackling constipation, give those healthy fruits a try by adjusting your child’s diet. A healthy diet plays a part in raising happy, world-ready children. If you are unsure about starting a treatment for constipation, always seek medical advice.
Does your toddler experience constipation too? Do share some of the treatments that worked for your child!