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No parent likes it when their child is uncomfortable or in pain and while constipation is normal for most toddlers it can definitely cause your little one extreme discomfort. Watching their stools and looking for any sign of straining during bowel movements can help you identify the beginning of constipation and react quickly to right the situation.
You might first start to alleviate constipation in toddlers, home remedies are a great option. Maintaining a balanced diet appropriate for toddlers can also help reduce the incidents of constipation. Keeping a close eye on their daily habits and routines will trigger you to any changes before it gets to troublesome.
How to Tell if My Toddler Constipated?
The average toddler will usually have a bowel movement once a or more a day. Usually, a child who has a bowel movement less than three times a week and whose stools are hard and difficult to pass, is considered constipated. Also, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, any child with stools that are large, hard, dry, and painful may have constipation.
You should not be to concerned if your child has a short bout of constipation as it’s perfectly normal once in awhile. But if your toddler’s constipation lasts for two weeks or more you should see your pediatrician.
Symptoms that can occur along with constipation, might include:
- Stomach ache or Nausea
- Loss of appetite
- General crankiness
- Crying or screaming during bowel movements
- Avoiding the toilet (possible of fear of having a painful movement)
Why is My Toddle Constipated?
The number one reason toddlers become constipated is usually diet. There are many times during your child’s life that they will become picky eaters. If they do not get enough fiber or eat poorly, they can easily become constipated.
A few days at grandma’s with nothing but cheese, ice cream, and sugar treats can definitely put a kink on the ole daily bathroom habit. Going on vacation and being away from their normal toilet can make some toddlers unwilling to go to the bathroom.
Medications can also be another cause for constipation so be sure to review any new medications, vitamins, or supplements your child might be ingesting.
Gentle Ways to Relieve Constipation in Toddlers with Home Remedies
There are a number of common sense remedies that are gentle and can help relieve your child’s constipation and get them back to feeling great once more. Here are a few tried and tested methods you can do that have proven to be effective particularly in toddlers.
Reduce foods that may lead to constipation
Children who eat too much cheese, processed foods, and sweets may have more trouble with bowel movements. By reducing the amount of these food in your toddler’s diet you can help relieve the constipation now and help prevent it in the future. Milk can also be a trigger for constipation so if you suspect something is going on, try limiting milk for a few days.
Some children simply do not drink enough fluids to keep their stools soft. Hard stools are difficult to pass and the strain it causes may make your child try to avoid having a bowel movement. By increasing the amount of fluids your child drinks each day you can help the stools remain softer and pass easier.
However, don’t make the mistake of offering them soda or overly sugary juices or even mils, as they’re a bad choice for their health and may make constipation worse. Water works best but if they are adverse to drinking plain tap water, you can use sparkling water with natural lemon or lime flavors. Caffeine free fruity teas can work well as does herbal one.s The health benefits of mint have been proven to ease digestion and other ailments. If you child enjoys warm beverages a nice cup of tea and a tea party might be the perfect answer.
Whole grain cereals with help give your child more fiber as will juicy fruits. Certain veggie and fruit juices are good as well (Homemade is best). In fact, juices are a great way to increase your child’s fiber and fluids at the same time. Try pear, nector, or prune.
A good option for high-fiber foods includes beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Toddlers (1-3 years old) should get approximately 19 grams of fiber each day. Below are some snack ideas for toddlers to help increase their fiber.
- 1 sliced small apple with skin (3.6 grams of fiber)
- ½ cup of edamame (3.8 grams of fiber)
- 1 sliced medium baked sweet potato with peel (3.8 grams of fiber)
- 1 whole-wheat English muffin (4.4 grams)
- 1 medium pear with skin (5.5 grams of fiber)
- ½ cup of raspberries (4 grams of fiber)
- ½ cup cooked kidney beans (6.2-9.6 grams of fiber)
- 1 medium banana (3.1 grams of fiber)
A light massage may also help to get those bowels moving and relieve your child’s constipation. Try gently rubbing your child’s stomach or lay him on the floor on his back with his legs straight out. Then gently lift his legs and bend his knees to his chest. Repeat this 5 times two or three times a day.
You can also use lotion to rub on their tummies and gently massage the intestines in a circular motion clockwise. This is good to do to check for any sensitive areas on the stomach as well. Be sure to report any findings to the doctor.
Exercise may also help to relieve your child’s constipation. While most toddlers may be incredibly active some children prefer to sit most of the day looking at books or watching television.
Try taking your toddler for a walk a half an hour after each meal or play a game of chase with him in the backyard. Moving more can actually help your child’s bowels work more efficiently.
Give Prune Juice a Try
Prune juice seems to be especially effective for relieving constipation quickly. However, many children don’t like the taste of prune juice so combining it with apple or a other juices may make it tastier for your child. Often times constipation in toddlers home remedies can eliminate the problem and prune juice is close to the number one treatment.
Drinking prunes can aid the digestive system and decrease the time between bowel movements. This effect may be due to the fruit being rich in fiber and containing high levels of sorbitol, which is a known laxative. For children 1-6 years old, try giving four to six ounces of prune juice- unfiltered juice is best
Constipation in Toddlers, When to Worry
In most cases for constipation in toddlers, home remedies work wonders in relieving the problem. You can try one or more of the home remedies above to make your child more comfortable and help the situation.
If your child is straining hard during bowel movement often or if they consistently have less than 3 bowel movements a week regardless of how many home remedies you try you need to consult your pediatrician and have your child examined thoroughly. It is better to be safe than sorry and she may be able to give you some additional advice that will help.
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