I experienced one of the worse weeks ever a few months ago! Jocelyn had been constipated for four days! This is not the first time either. My daughter suffers from constipation quite a lot – It starts with her in her walker or whatever she is doing, and she just starts screaming as she tries to push her poo out – this then turns to sobs, and I take her in my arms and try to position her to push it out. I have twice brought her straight upstairs and took her cloth diaper off, and my heart broke when I saw how stretched her little bum was. The poo was half out and half in, and I had to get a baby wipe on my hand and feed the rest of the poo out. Her bum looks very red after this, and I feel so sorry for her.
I decided to do some research, and after reading thirty or so articles online, I think we finally have a handle on the poo-problem! Here’s what I found out during my research and what actually worked for us.
Our Pediatrician told us to purchase Movicol pediatric sachets, and I have to say I don’t know what we would have done without it. We had tried everything with her; anything I read about we would give it a try, and nothing seemed to work. Movicol has been a godsend!
What worked for me, may not work for you so let me share with you some of the information I have learned about over the past few months. Hopefully, my many hours of research will help you identify the cause of your poo problems and help solve them too!
Toddler Constipation – Symptoms & Causes
Every toddler has his own schedule for bowel movements; he may have one after every feeding or wait a day or more between. It all depends on what he eats and drinks, and on his activity level. You should be attentive to the regularity of your toddler’s bowel movements, to pick up on eventual constipation.
The following are a couple of symptoms that might indicate Toddler Constipation:
- Less frequent bowel movements than normal.
- Hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
- Blood-streaks in the diaper.
- Hard Stomach.
- Relief after a bowel movement.
Now that we’ve looked at how to identify possible constipation let’s have a peek at some possible causes for your toddlers’ poo problems. This will allow us to find a way to deal with this challenge and prevent it from happening again in the future.
The following are some possible causes of constipation in babies:
- Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding a baby will rarely get him constipated because breast milk is more easily digested. It has the perfect balance of fat and protein that helps with the softness of the stool. Babies that breastfeed, also have helpful bacteria in their large intestine that help to break down the proteins in milk. As a result, their stool becomes softer, and the bowel movement is easier.
- Formula: Bottle-fed babies are more likely to suffer from constipation because formula milk is hard for them to digest. The toddler that only drinks formula milk will characteristically have fewer bowel movements than their breastfed counterpart. Additionally, their stools will have a thicker consistency and be of a more greenish color. If your toddler is on formula and is constipated, you should consider changing brands.
- Solids: Your baby might become constipated after introducing solid food. This often happens after they are started on rice cereal, which is usually the first food given during the transition period.
- Dehydration: Not hydrating your toddler enough can lead to constipation too. The dehydration will make your baby’s system absorb more fluid from food, drinks, and from the stool itself. This results in dry bowel movements that are problematic to pass.
Natural and safe toddler constipation remedies
The very basic remedies for toddler constipation include improving your child’s diet like adding more fluids and fiber in his food. Fluids and fiber make the stool softer and easier to pass. Avoid foods that contribute more to constipation such as fatty food and milk products. Fruit juices are also excellent constipation remedies and have been proved quite effective in the long run. Grapes, apples, and pears are especially beneficial in easing out constipation. Diet for a constipated toddler should include vegetables like brown rice, cereal, granola, oatmeal, wheat bread which are a great source of fiber. While feeding oatmeal to your toddler, make sure that you are mixing it with sliced vegetables and fruits for adding more flavor. You may also add prunes since they are natural laxatives. There are also other foods that you can give a try like spinach and broccoli. High fiber foods like cereal and grains are equally good too. Conducting a quick internet research can give you a wealth of natural foods that help with easy bowel movement. Dietary supplements and natural remedies that can aid in preventing constipation include:
- Garlic- destroys harmful bacteria present in the colon.
- Vitamin E- helps to heal the colon.
- Chlorophyll Liquid- eliminates bad breath and toxin.
- Vitamin C with Bioflavonoids- has amazing healing and cleansing effects.
- Ginger- stimulates the digestive system and helps to pass food smoothly through the intestines.
- Aloe Vera- cleans and heals the digestive tract and softens the stools.
- Flax Seed- crush flax seeds and add them to your toddler’s food.
Another essential measure you need to take is to engage your toddler in physical activity which will keep him active and healthy throughout the day. If you can allow at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, then the bowels would become regular. You would also be enhancing your baby’s defenses by strengthening his immune system. In severe cases, if your child is suffering from acute constipation, then you may consult a pediatrician.
What foods will help a toddler poop?
Researchers have claimed that on increasing the fiber intake in your kid’s diet can help you to get rid of your toddler’s constipation problems. Merely 12 grams of fiber intake on each day can prove to be the best laxative and supplement for constipation. It is also essential to understand that there are two types of fiber namely soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can absorb water for producing soft stools while insoluble fiber acts towards increasing the bulk of stool. Such kinds of fiber can be easily obtained from various plant foods that have been mentioned below.
- Prunes- Most doctors recommend parents to provide prune juice to constipated toddlers. It is a popular and effective home remedy and is considered to be one of the finest laxatives. Prunes have vitamin A, potassium and fiber in them and the best thing about it that the fruit is easy to avail.
- Flaxseed- Seeds obtained from flax plant are abundant in vitamins, fiber, minerals, good fatty acids, and omega-3 acids. Ground flaxseeds can also be taken for relieving constipation. You can mix the laxative in juices or other foods as desired.
- Pears- An excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, pears are common natural remedies for constipation. They are known to have insoluble fiber that adds bulk to stool and is quite effective in treating toddler constipation.
- Fruits- Give your toddler two to three servings of fruit every day for keeping away constipation problems. Just avoid apples and bananas as they can produce hard stools. However, apple juices contain pectin which is another popular cure for toddler constipation and helps in easy bowel movements.
- Whole grains- They contain plenty of fiber and speed up the colon activity for increasing the frequency of bowel movements and stool output. Make sure that you include rice cereals, whole wheat bread, oats and various other kinds of whole grain foods in the diet for a constipated toddler.
The main cause of constipation is often the child’s diet. If a toddler is often constipated, It is best to make changes in their diet by giving them food that helps with constipation. Their young bodies are still too delicate, and it is often easy to upset their constitution. Luckily food that helps with constipation are often cheap and easily accessible.
One of the main food that helps with constipation is those that are rich in fluids like fruits and vegetables. The stool is largely composed of fluids, and the lack of water in the body would often lead to constipation. It is a good idea to start adding more fruits to your child’s diet to help prevent constipation.
Probably the best food that helps with constipation are the ones that are high in fiber. Fibers help promote good bowel movement not only for toddlers but adults as well. Fiber has a lot of positive benefits for the body. It helps children with their digestion and helps ease the pain. It also lowers the risk of constipation among children.
What Foods To Avoid
Milk is good for kids, but it is also one of the foods that cause constipation. It is best not to give them too much. The same is true for other dairy products like cheese and yogurt. Carrots and bananas are also seen as a cause of constipation and are to be avoided as well.
What helps constipation fast for toddlers?
Dehydration is one of the major reasons that cause toddler constipation. Thus, if your kid isn’t taking in the adequate amount of fluids, the chances are that their stools may become quite dry and hard which would be difficult to pass. So working towards keeping your toddler well hydrated would definitely help in preventing constipation.
Another challenge faced by toddlers is low fiber intake. Without sufficient intake of fiber, your toddler has an increased chance of getting constipated all the time. Most favorite and common childhood foods such as milk, peanut butter, and cheese are known to be constipating. Encourage bulky fiber foods like whole grain, fresh vegetables, and wheat bread to help your toddler reduce risks of constipation. Other foods rich in fibrous content are prunes, pureed pears, and barley cereal.
Avoiding the urge to defecate is a common problem in toddlers which makes constipation problem even more worse. Kids are often busy playing and are not bothered to take out time of their busy schedule to go the toilet. It can really become a major issue if they are experiencing pain with bowel movements since kids may want to ignore the next urges for having bowel movements.
You need to make it a point that your toddler’s toilet time is comfortable and enjoyable. Regular use of natural laxatives can help your child to defecate regularly.
You need to make it a point that your toddler’s toilet time is comfortable and enjoyable. Use of laxatives can help your child to defecate regularly., however, these chemicals can be habit forming! I only use laxatives for when my child is chronically constipated! Laxatives for a chronically constipated toddler works in two prime ways:
- Softeners which help in softening hard and dry stools.
- Stimulants that help bowels to push out the stools.
Sometimes, toddlers require laxatives for a few weeks or months. Natural remedies have to be utilized as soon as you notice changes in your toddler’s stool and bowel movements. The best kinds of remedies for baby constipation other than the intake of fluids, fiber, and exercise include lifestyle and dietary changes. Natural remedies are quite simple and highly efficient. For toddlers below six months, it’s recommended to consult a pediatrician before introducing any medications or oral remedies. Work with your toddler’s pediatrician for ensuring that you have an effective management plan designed for your child by keeping in mind his health and food requirements.
General Relief Tips For Toddler Constipation
Although the best ways of relieving constipation in your toddler are by finding the cause and countering it, there are a few general ways that can provide ease and relief to toddlers during constipation.
- Warm bath- Let your baby sit on a bathtub with lukewarm water that reaches around chest height. The idea is to let the muscles relax around the rectum area and stomach of your toddler. A warm bath eases the muscles and relieves cramps that are usually linked with constipation. Relaxation of muscles helps in an easy passing of stools.
- Tummy massage- Start at the belly button of your toddler and move clockwise outside gently in a circular motion. This will help in the stimulation of muscles required for moving stools and producing a smoother bowel movement.
- Consume lots of water- Ensure that your toddler intakes adequate water, about 8-10 cups daily. However, fluid requirements generally vary and depend on their activities, the size of their body and weather. For ensuring that your toddler drinks enough water, offer them more during the hot weathers.
- Fibrous foods- The diet for a constipated toddler should include more fiber such as vegetables, fruits, and grains that can help to relieve constipation. More specifically, brown rice, raw almonds, mangoes, raisins, apples, grapes, papaya, and apricots will do the magic for your kid. If your toddler cannot chew, you can add magnesium supplements in his drinks since magnesium is an excellent laxative.
- Fruit juice- Juices of fruits like prune and apples are said to be effective toddler constipation relief remedies. Give them undiluted fruit juice daily for one or two times. Experiment with smaller quantities first as too much of fruit juices can result in diarrhea as well.
- Physical activities and exercising- Ensure that your toddler has enough physical activity during the day, at least for around 60 minutes. Physical activities would move the body, thus making the bowels moving.
- Laxatives- This is usually recommended to be the last effort and probably the fastest way for bringing toddler constipation relief. Since there are numerous over the counter supplements and medicine for a constipated toddler, be sure to discuss with your pediatrician first before administering them. Laxatives are used only when your toddler is experiencing chronic constipation. Be careful to use them as directed, since overuse can result in decreased bowel movement function. One of the best laxatives recommended by pediatricians for the cause is glycerin suppositories.
Help Ease Your Toddler’s Pain with Suppositories for Constipation
Suppositories for constipation are relatively simple to use and are very effective.
Prolonged bouts of constipation are hard on a toddler. It is often painful and highly uncomfortable for them. There are times that a simple change in the child’s diet does not seem to do the trick. In these cases, you might want to consider using suppositories for constipation.
Advantages of Suppositories for Constipation
Suppositories for constipation offer the advantage of quick relief that is also gentle on the child. They are generally safe to use on toddlers, and they are not that hard to administer. Unlike oral medication that is often difficult to give to a child, suppositories are rectal which should be relatively easier to administer.
The most common type is glycerin suppositories. These are considered safe to use on infants and toddlers. They work as stool softeners, they absorb fluids from surrounding tissues and allow easier passage of stool. They work fast, typically within a few minutes of being administered.
There are also other over the counter suppositories including ones that also have a laxative ingredient. It is best to consult with a physician before using other more powerful suppositories.
How do Suppositories for Constipation Work?
Most suppositories work by stimulating the rectal muscles to promote bowel movement. There are also other types of suppositories that contain ingredients that are meant to lubricate. These are meant to provide a smooth passageway for the stool so that they are easier to pass.
When using a suppository for constipation, make sure to use enough water-based lubricant. It is important to be as gentle as possible to make the experience as relatively comfortable for the young ones. It should be noted that suppositories should not be overused, the child might develop a dependence on suppositories for bowel movement if they are used too often.
Suppositories for constipation are a good way to relieve a toddler’s suffering. They are easy to administer and safe as long as they are not abused. It is also always best to consult with your doctor in cases of prolonged bouts of constipation, or before using suppositories for constipation.
Does Karo Syrup Help Infants With Constipation?
Giving dark corn syrup (also known as Karo corn syrup) for baby and infant constipation has been a folk remedy for hundreds of years. Today, you will find different views from doctors and parents about its efficiency, but you might have to try different things and see what works best for your baby. We tried it, and it did “help” but only while we continued to give it to her. Seeing how I didn’t want to contribute to my daughter becoming a diabetic, continued use was not a route we wanted to take. Once we stop giving the Dark Karo to her, constipation came back. We then moved on to Movicol. Karo works faster than Movicol, so it’s worth a try if you’re desperate.
How and Why Does Karo Syrup Help Constipation?
Dark corn syrup contains complex sugar proteins that help to keep water in the bowel movement, making the stool softer. This is how Karo works for constipation.
However, it is argued that today’s commercial preparation might not contain these type of chemical components.
Do not use the lighter versions of Karo syrup for infant constipation ( if you are using Karo syrup as a laxative – it won’t be useful at all)
Do I put the Karo Syrup in Formula or Water?
You will hear many stories about parents using it in water or directly in the milk bottles. Both techniques are used.
Some doctors will tell you that is better to put the Karo syrup the milk. (formula of extracted breast milk)
The reason for this is the dark corn syrup has to be digested with the milk. The baby will absorb the sugar he needs from the milk and all the excess sugar will help produce a little “sugar diarrhea.”
How Much Karo Syrup in Baby Bottle?
Start with very little: one-quarter teaspoon to one teaspoon (1.25 to 5 mL) in EVERY formula bottle or expressed milk bottle. See how this goes, and you can adjust accordingly. It is possible that your baby will need this for a few weeks and even a few months. When the bowels are soft enough, you can slowly cut down on the Karo.
Some parents will use the Karo syrup only when needed, like once a week.
What are Pediatric Movicol sachets used for?
Movicol is a type of laxative. It should help to produce a comfortable bowel motion (poo) even if your child has been constipated for a long time. The aim of treatment is that your child produces soft stools (poo) regularly.
What type of laxative is Movicol?
Movicol sachets and liquid contain macrogol (polyethylene glycol ‘3350’), which is a type of medicine known as an osmotic laxative. Movicol also contains sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and potassium chloride
Can you mix Movicol Paediatric with milk?
Yes, but it needs to be mixed in water first!
How long does Movicol take to work?
MOVICOL usually takes 1 to 2 days to trigger the first bowel movement.
[highlight background=”yellow” color=”black”]Now for the legal crap! (no pun intended!): This article is not meant to treat or diagnose your problems! This is a recollection of what has happened to us and what worked to alleviate our poo problems. Consult with your pediatrician for treatment procedures. The only time to use over the counter drugs like suppositories are at the prescription of a licensed professional. When you’re trying to relieve constipation fast, never do anything that you are not sure about on a child’s delicate body, you might end up doing more harm than good.[/highlight]
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