How to help constipation in kids is actually quite easy. Constipation in young children is often the result of poor eating habits and laxatives for elimination. The easiest way to help a constipated child is to maintain a regular routine of stool softening agents and liquids to support normal bowel movement. If your child has occasional constipation, it’s important to see your doctor since it could be a symptom of colic or crying diarrhea.
Poor diet and insufficient fiber intake are among the leading causes of constipation. There are a number of foods that cause constipation, including beans, refined grains, processed meats, dairy products, and sugar. In addition, there are a number of health issues that can cause constipation. These include dehydration, iron deficiency, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), food allergies, inadequate water intake, and a dysfunctional digestive system. Often times constipation is also a symptom of another problem that needs to be treated.
Some of the things that cause constipation are also the ones that cause bloating. In addition to eating a poor diet, the lack of fiber in the diet will often cause constipation. The lack of fiber also increases the risk of developing hemorrhoids or developing irritable bowel syndrome, which can cause bloating. When children have a tendency to bloat, they usually eat a large amount of dairy products. Children who drink enough water are less likely to develop constipation.
The consumption of cow’s milk is a major contributor to constipation, but other dairy products can cause constipation as well. For infants, formula-fed breast milk is a common culprit. Formula fed breast milk contains little fiber, which is not helpful for the digestive process. Formula fed breast milk also contains too much protein, which can be a hindrance to lactose digestion. For formula-fed babies, it is best to choose soy or goat’s milk over cow’s milk, especially formulas that are soy based.
Other ways to avoid constipation and to treat it are to provide plenty of water, fiber, and protein to a baby. Infant formulas that are enriched are better for babies, as are those that are casein-free. One way to make sure a baby receives all the nutrients necessary to ensure proper digestion is to bottle-feed him or her formula that has been approved for digestive purposes. A doctor can determine if a baby needs additional nutrients based on the ages of the patient and the symptoms that a baby is presenting. If the doctor determines that the baby needs additional vitamins, protein, or fluid, the pediatrician may recommend a special formula that will ensure the right ingredients are included.
Some babies may be prone to developing bowel problems because they have certain abnormalities in their digestive tract. A baby with only one of the large bowel types, the mucous cell type, is more likely to develop constipation than other babies. Abnormalities in the large colon of a baby, or one of the adenoids, can affect its ability to form a stool, which can lead to constipation. A baby whose anal canal is shaped differently (longer, wider, or with more bumps or protrusions) may also be prone to developing bowel problems, as well as frequent crying and irritability. Such babies usually have diarrhea, although sometimes they do not have constipation.
It helps to know how to help constipation in a toddler. Toddlers should receive ample amounts of fibre, both to help promote regular bowel movements and to prevent hard stools. Softened or ‘less sweetened’ fruits and vegetables also help the digestive tract and intestinal muscles relax. For example, bananas are softer stools, but you would not want to give your baby bananas directly from the fridge! Babies should also be given extra fibre occasionally through pureed vegetables, especially if the toddler has a sweet tooth. In addition to a small amount of fruit or vegetable juice, pureed vegetables can be given in a special baby food that contains fibre.
Other ways of knowing how to help constipation in toddlers involve the careful observation of common symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include regular crying or wailing when having a bowel movement, a great deal of pain when having a bowel movement, or pain on the lower abdomen after having a bowel movement. Sometimes the baby may even refuse to eat solid foods or nurse for a period of time. If your little one exhibits any of these symptoms, contact your pediatrician right away. Your baby’s health and well being could depend on it!