Changes in toddlers’ diet or bowel habits can wrack parents with worry. Is something wrong with their digestion? Can their milk cause constipation in toddlers? Parents will often ask themselves dozens of similar questions. Constipation in toddlers is rarely serious and often can be easily corrected.
Home Remedies For Constipation In Toddlers Every Parent Should Know
Knowing the Signs of Constipation in Toddlers
Young children are not always able to communicate when there is something wrong. Kids’ bowel patterns are also very individual; one kid may go potty a couple of times a day while another waits for a day or two in between bowel movements. If you are worried that your toddler may be suffering from constipation, whether it be severe toddler constipation or just an acute case, you should be on the lookout for the signs below.
- Hard and dry stool that looks like it’s uncomfortable to pass.
- Pooping less often. This is an especially important sign if she has not gone for at least four days and it looks uncomfortable when she does.
- Watery stool. While this can also be a sign of diarrhea, it is also a common sign of constipation. More watery stool can get past harder stool that is staying stubbornly stuck. It is more likely to wind up soiling her diaper or if she’s potty trained her underwear.
- Blood on the outside of stool. This is a sign that it is extremely hard and causing friction.
- Nausea, stomach ache, or a bloated belly.
- Crankiness or avoiding using the bathroom. Signs of this can include crying, clenching her buttocks together, or crossing her legs.
What Can Cause Constipation in Toddlers?
Constipation in toddlers usually is not a sign of any serious medical condition. Your toddler’s constipation probably has a simple cause that can be easily remedied.
The most common cause of small children’s constipation is diet. Kids will often fixate on one food for a period of time and refuse items that were favorites just a few weeks ago. A diet with too many processed foods and too little high fiber items like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains can be the culprit. Not getting enough to drink can also cause stool to become hard and dry. If your child is refusing to drink enough or if they are sweating more due to playing outside during hot weather, this can be at the root of the problem.
Sometimes small kids will ignore urges to use the bathroom. They may be too engrossed in a game to want to interrupt it to use the toilet. Or, they may feel uncomfortable using public toilets while you are out.
Changes in routine can cause constipation in anyone, including small children. Being away from home on vacation, for instance, can make it harder for them to go potty. The longer they hold it in during travel, the harder it is to get back to a healthy routine.
Finally, a lack of exercise can be a common cause of constipation. Regular physical activity helps keep the digestive systems moving. If your child is engaging in less active play than usual, this could be the cause.
What to Do When Your Toddler Is Constipated?
There is usually a home remedy for constipation and it does not require a doctor’s care (but do consult your healthcare provider if you feel you should). There are a few tricks you can try to get your child’s bowel movements back to normal and to help her feel more comfortable in the bathroom.
Start by increasing her fluid intake each day. Stay away from sugary options like juice and soda. Instead, focus on water, which is more hydrating. Adding a small amount of prune juice can help. See if she can get at least 32 ounces of liquids (aside from formula) each day.
Encourage her to keep active. Depending on her level of development, a little time cruising, walking, or running can help keep the blood flowing. This can, in turn, keep her bowels more regular.
Bump up her daily fiber intake. Fruit with the peel still on is a sweet treat to help keep her healthy and regular. You should also include plenty of vegetables and whole grains on her plate.
Avoid any foods that can be binding while constipation is still present. Cooked carrots, winter squash, and bananas should be limited. You should also limit the amount of fresh milk, cheese, and ice cream he or she consumes.
Watch this video from Dr. Paul to get more insight into constipation in toddlers:
It can be nerve-wracking to watch your child suffer the discomfort of constipation. Understanding that it is something often easily remedied can help. Try the tips above to ease your child’s discomfort and help get her back to her usual self!
Did any of these remedies of constipation in toddlers help give you a little peace of mind? Let us know in the comments section below.