Toddler Constipation

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Toddler constipation is a problem many parents will face sometime during their child’s first years.

How Do I Know If My Child Is Constipate?

Many toddlers have bowel movements daily, but some do not. Just because a child doesn’t have daily bowel movements doesn’t mean he/she is constipated. Here are some signs of  constipation in toddlers:

  • Dry, hard, large stools
  • Bowel movements are painful
  • Less frequent bowel movements than normal
  • Stools are difficult to pass

What Are the Causes of Toddler Constipation?

There are several causes of toddler constipation:

  • Not enough fiber in diet
  • Not enough liquids
  • Child ignoring the urge to go (Reasons vary. Can be because child doesn’t want to stop doing what s/he is doing, can be because it hurts to go, starting to potty train, etc.)
  • Change in routine (Sometimes not being around a familiar potty can cause a problem, like when a family is on vacation)
  • A medical condition (check with your doctor if your child continues to suffer from toddler constipated)

There are a variety of solutions to constipation in toddlers. Some solutions (like stool softeners or enemas) are best discussed with your toddler’s doctor. This page focuses on helping your constipated toddler by improving the child’s diet.

Helping Toddler Constipation Through Diet And Fluids:

There are two ways to combat constipation through a toddler’s diet: by increasing fiber, and by increasing fluids.

Ways To Increase Fiber In a Child’s Diet:

Use 100% whole grain breads and tortillas

Include toddler’s favorite fruit at breakfast

Serve oatmeal

Eat more beans: As a side, in a burrito, in soup, whichever way your little one likes them

Use fruits as snacks: Fresh fruits, dried fruits, even frozen fruit blended into a smoothie

Use vegetables as snacks too: Incorporate some dip if it helps! Don’t choose fried vegetables!

Eat high fiber foods too: Eat with your child and show them how much you love high fiber foods!

Add a side of guacamole: Many toddlers enjoy it!

Use brown rice and whole wheat pastas

Serve High Fiber cereals

Serve higher fiber alternatives to your child’s favorite foods: Ex: Blueberry pancakes made with some whole wheat flour and topped with fruit instead of plain pancakes with syrup.

Ways To Increase Fluid In A Child’s Diet:

Take a sippy cup in the car: some toddlers who don’t drink a lot on their own will drink in the car simply because it’s something to do.

Take water to the park.

Offer prune, apple, pear, or grape juices: 100% juice, not cocktail

Encourage drinking at mealtimes and snacks

Give your child shaved ice to suck on

Give a little drink morning and night after brushing toddler’s teeth

Let your toddler pick out a special cup to drink from

In many instances, simply adding more fiber and fluids into your toddler’s diet will get things moving again (bowel movement wise) and help alleviate toddler constipation .

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