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Guide to Dealing with Constipation in Children

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Childhood is all about exploring and learning new things every day. As a person ages, there are normal yet important milestones to achieve from taking their first steps to eating their first solid food.

With that said, it’s inevitable for everyone to go through potty training. This phase will be a challenging one for parents, but especially for their toddlers too. It’s necessary for the child’s health specifically their digestive system.

Some children don’t go through this stage as smoothly as other children do. Sometimes, it may even go as far as stomach pains that require a visit to the nearest urgent care facility. Get to know what the signs are for constipation to prevent this from escalating.

Signs of Constipation

For better guidance, here are the signs of constipation in children: less than two bowel movements in a week, a history of painful bowel movements, bloating, wetting during the day and night, evidence of stool in their underwear, and blood in stools. Be observant and receptive to your toddler’s complaints about body pain. That should be a sure indication of their discomfort.

Common Causes of Constipation in Children

Knowing the possible reasons behind the irregular bowel movement and discomfort gives parents some insight into how this can be corrected and avoided in the future.

Transitioning To Solid Foods

Needless to say, a diet change means a great adjustment, especially for the body. Sometimes when a child starts to transition to solid foods, constipation is expected to follow. The digestive system is being introduced to a new kind of food, and understandably so, it’s going to take some time to get used to. But the body was meant to eat solid foods after all, so it won’t be much of a learning curve for it. The true and stubborn problems will most likely lie in the child’s attitude towards defecating.

Not Enough Fiber-rich Foods

One study showed that children with better fiber intake than another group were shown to have better defecation patterns. Fiber softens and adds weight to stool, making it easier to pass through. Fiber, which absorbs water and provides volume to the stool, may help to solidify it if you have loose, watery stools.

Forming the Habit of Withholding

This is a common habit many children form for many reasons. Being immersed in their playtime or still being uncomfortable with using the toilet are among some of these. Another reason is issues in toilet training that are yet to be resolved. The act of using the toilet is an alien experience, so although the transition will take time, it’s a necessary one.

Forming the habit of withholding can even snowball further as bowel movements become more painful over time. Because it’s a painful experience for the child, it may reinforce them to continue not listening to their bodies.

What Baby Foods Can Help With Constipation in Toddlers

Considering how young a toddler is, it’s best to seek professional advice about their dietary and nutritional needs. Consult with a doctor about what diet changes and additions should be done. Take this opportunity to discuss meal plans and alternatives. The doctor should advise the parent of the fiber intake appropriate to the child’s age. Some good sources of fiber include whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

High-fiber Cereals

As we’ve gathered by now, fiber plays a big role in a person’s regular bowel movement. But generally, it helps in the overall health of a person’s digestive system. A basic and easy way to introduce more fiber into a toddler’s diet is through high-fiber cereals. Cereals are generally easy to prepare and easy to consume.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas may not seem like a fun food per se, but it offers a decent amount of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they also offer fiber and protein. One cup of chickpeas contains 12.5 grams of fiber.

Berries

berries

Blackberries, raspberries, and other berries are a sweet yet helpful treat to get some fiber in a picky eating toddler’s system. Raspberries contain eight grams of fiber per cup, while blackberries contain eight grams.

Beans

Another food that’s filled with vitamins and minerals is green beans. Again, it’s not a fun food, but it’s one of the go-to greens. A cup of raw green beans contains 2.7 grams of fiber. But when boiled, they can contain 4 grams of it. Some fiber in boiled green beans is soluble fiber, which helps combat bad cholesterol, contribute t the heart’s health, and reduce inflammation.

Carrots

Carrots are often pegged as the vegetable that’s good for the eyes. Although this is a fact, carrots contribute to other things too. They promote bone health and convert food into energy, among other things. Carrots contain 2.8 grams of fiber too. All of these sound important to have for an energetic toddler!

Peanuts

This crunchy snack contains 8.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams. They’re accessible, little to no preparation required, and an easy snack! Peanuts can be added to different dishes too. Although it would ultimately fall under preference, it’s a good food to introduce a toddler to.

With patience and attentiveness from parents, a child can become comfortable sharing and signaling to their parents any discomfort they feel during the potty training process. Parents should be receptive enough to recognize this, so they can address it accordingly. Although constipation is a common thing among children, and even in adults, it’s still something worth avoiding. Not just because of the discomfort and pain that a child can feel, but their overall health can be affected, too.