If your kid often can’t ‘go’, he might be constipated. Here’s how you can help
When it comes to bowel movements, the word ‘normal’ has more meanings than who knows what. Is there a normal?
How’s your toddler doing on the can?
Some people–toddlers included–don’t ‘go’ everyday. Others ‘go’ two or three times a day. As your child gets to this stage in life, and his or her diet consists completely of regular foods and drinks, you will be able to establish in your mind what is normal for them. And in doing so, you will also be able to tell when ‘not going’ means constipation. The signs of constipation are:
- Resisting the need to go because it will hurt
- Crying or screaming during a bowel movement
- Loss of appetite and even nausea
Don’t be too alarmed
You might be surprised to know that constipation in a toddler is actually normal. Their little digestive systems are adjusting to a diet that consists of solids with liquids being the supplement instead of one that is just the opposite.
Not being alarmed, however, is not code for ignoring the situation. When your toddler experiences bouts of constipation, you need to take action to help them be relieved of this painful situation. Otherwise, your child may end up having greater difficulty in being toilet trained, may resist releasing their bowels (causing more problems) or even tearing their rectum.
All in all, a toddler will usually have a bowel movement once a day–one that is easy to pass. Bowel movements that are hard, difficult to pass and are tinged with blood are constipated stools. If this describes your toddler’s fecal matter, you need to take preventative measures and give them some relief, as well.
How to help
Helping your toddler avoid the problem of constipation is usually simply a matter of diet.
- Make sure your toddler gets plenty of water to drink
- Make sure your child is getting plenty of the 5 P’s – papaya, pear, plums, peaches and prunes
- Add probiotics such as Biogaia Drops to his/her diet
- Avoid giving your toddler junk food such as chips, processed foods and candy which have chemicals that tend to constipate and little or no fibre
- Limit cheese and other dairy products
- Limit intake of rice cereal
- Get the BRAT (Banana, Rice cereal, Applesauce & Toast) out of your toddler’s diet. These are foods that are known to cause constipation.
- Take your toddler to the bathroom on a regular basis throughout the day to encourage regularity. Sit with them–reading, singing, talking–to help them relax and take their mind off the matter at hand. If a toddler thinks it’s going to hurt to go, they’re going to tense up and resist going.
- Exercise is important. Making sure your children get plenty of time to run, walk, climb, jump and move around–these are important to keeping their systems working properly.
- Glycerin suppositories may be necessary in some cases to relieve the situation. But this should not be the ‘go-to’. Children can become dependent on such things.
Everyone needs a little help now and then–isn’t that what the old laxative commercial used to say? This includes your toddler. Just make sure ‘now and then’ isn’t very often.