Constipation Remedies for Kids

August 24, 2017

constipation remedies for kidsWhat is “constipation”? Everyone seems to have a different idea of what constipation means and there are many different “norms”. Infants can have a bowel movement after every feeding. Babies that are breastfed tend to have fewer bowel movements because they absorb most of mom’s milk so there is less to poop out. Children under 2 years old typically have 2-4 bowel movements per day. And at about the age of 4 children can have 1 bowel movement per day. 

Constipation can be caused by lack of fluid, diet, medications, and other physical conditions. Constipation can also develop during potty training when children begin to associate bowel movements with pain, creating a cycle.  It is first important to determine the cause of constipation, including the rule-out of physical reasons, before proceeding with treatment.

Diet: Lack of Fiber

One way to make sure children (and adults!) are getting enough fiber is to have half the plate filled with fruits and vegetables.  It is NOT recommended to give children over the counter fiber supplements. Find foods they will like or ask you doctor for help and suggestions.

Food Sensitivities

Sometimes the foods we think are healthy are just not agreeable with our bellies. One example is that diary can be constipating in some children, just as it can induce loose stools in others. Removal of dairy for 3-4 weeks can sometimes help with the resolution of constipation. Parents should not worry about losing out on calcium from removing diary as calcium can be found in many other foods such as vegetables (which are good for fiber!).  Cow’s dairy can also lead to iron deficiency anemia which is problematic developmentally even leads to behavioral problems or ADHD. If dairy is not a problem in your child it could be a different food. Other common food intolerances include gluten, eggs, yeast, soy, and corn.

Fluid

When increasing fiber it is also important to increase fluid, otherwise it can make constipation worse. Children should drink 4-8 cups of water per day and sometimes more to help constipation improve.

Probiotics

A 4 week study showed that probiotics helped to increase bowel movement frequency from 2 to 4 per week, there was a decrease in the number of fecal incontinence episodes, and abdominal pain decreased in frequency from 45% to 25%. Probiotics help to stimulate normal peristalsis, the movement in the intestines pushing food down and out.

Back to Blog Home

REFERENCES:

  1. Naturopathic Pediatrics by Dr. Jared M Skowron
  2. Bekkali NL, Bongers ME, Van der Berg MM, et al. The role of probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study. Nutr J. 2007 Aug 4, 6:17.