Your toddler’s digestion is nothing to joke about. There is just so much going on in the toddler years that could make your toddler constipated, from changes in nutrition (oh, how picky they can get!) to potty training (aka one of your biggest parenting nightmares). Luckily, there are a few tried-and-true toddler constipation remedies to help your little one.
That is, assuming your toddler is indeed constipated. While it can sometimes feel alarming, it’s actually pretty normal for your toddler to not poop for a day or two, as long as they don’t seem uncomfortable. So how do you know if your toddler is constipated? What are some remedies for constipation? And when should you see a pediatrician? Let us break it down.
How do I know my toddler is constipated?
According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the symptoms of constipation in a toddler:
- Time — They haven’t passed stool in three days or more.
- Discomfort — They seem uncomfortable and in pain when they’re having a bowel movement.
- Consistency/Texture — Their bowel movements are hard, dry, and difficult to pass.
- Bleeding — Blood presents when they’re passing stools.
What could cause toddler constipation?
So, why do toddlers get backed up in the first place? Myriad issues could be to blame. A few possible explanations include:
- Withholding — This especially happens during and after toilet training. Your toddler can be playing or in the middle of another activity, so they’re reluctant to stop and go to the bathroom. The pain related to constipation could also keep them from trying to go to the bathroom again.
- Too Much Milk — Toddlers love milk (and they can also be cheese fiends!), but all that dairy may be contributing to constipation.
- Not Enough Water — Hard and hard-to-pass stools can be caused by not enough liquids.
- Not Enough Fiber — All those bran commercials got it right; fiber does help you stay regular, and that applies to your kids as well.
- Too Sedentary — Movement helps bowel movements. If your kid isn’t getting enough exercise and activity, that could affect their ability to poop regularly.
What are some toddler constipation remedies?
Less milk and more high-fiber foods may help your toddler finally get back to a regular pooping routine. Prune juice is actually a great solution for kids with constipation, as it’s high in fiber and tastes sweet. You can also search-and-find easy recipes for constipation that you can add to your kids’ diet, like Greek yogurt, fruits, and other snacks that are full of fiber. No matter how old you are, constipation sucks. Here are some natural ways to give your baby relief and loosen those bowels.
- Don’t you just love avocado? This superfood is also a natural laxative, and its oils help to get things moving in the digestive tract.
- A spoonful of coconut oil can go a long way. You can cook with it or even add a teaspoon to a smoothie.
- Chia seeds are rich in fiber and are sure to loosen your baby’s bowels.
- Fruits are also a great and healthy way to get things going. Especially melon, berries, anything with citrus, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, and grapes. Make sure your kids are eating about two servings of fruits a day and leave the skin on, especially on plums, prunes, raisins, apricots, and peaches. They are chock-full of fiber.
- Prunes aren’t just for your grandma. In three prunes, this wrinkly snack holds about two grams of fiber. It also increases the water in stool which loosens up your system.
- Rhubarb is a plant that does an excellent job of moving your bowels. It has sennoside in it, which is known for being an herbal laxative.
- Kefir can be a real lifesaver when it comes to constipation. It is a fermented milk beverage and probiotic that comes from west Asia.
Gently remind and encourage your little one to drink water. Sure, toddlers don’t always love drinking water — but it really can help! Make sure they have a cup or bottle that they love (you can even go buy a special bottle with them). You can even motivate them by showing them that you’re drinking water, too. If your child doesn’t like water to the point of refusing to drink more, you can try cutting it with prune juice or opting for another healthy beverage.
You don’t need to take your toddler jogging! Just take them on a regular outing to the playground or some other space to encourage them to run around and play. Or go crazy and have a dance party for two! You can also go on walks to run fun errands together.
A Toilet Routine
You might need to start reminding your child to go to the bathroom regularly. How? Try establishing a routine: first thing in the morning, before and after daycare, and after dinner, for example. Make sure to remind them that whatever they are doing and playing with will be waiting for them after they’re done with the bathroom. You can even “tell” the toy and activity to wait for them.
Use Petroleum Jelly
Put a little Vaseline or petroleum jelly around your baby’s anus. This will help their poop come out smoother. Plus, touching their anus is stimulating and may make them want to poop.
Avoid Leaving Your Child on the Toilet
Kids will poop whenever they’re ready and having them sit on the toilet to “try” or until they do, can be harmful. Letting them sit on the toilet too long can feel like they’re being pressured, which may cause them to force themselves to use the bathroom.
For toddler constipation remedies, is Miralax OK?
You may be tempted to solve your toddler’s constipation with medication. We get it — you want to help your baby poop so they’re no longer uncomfortable. While Miralax may work wonders when you’re backed up, it isn’t recommended for toddlers. For that matter, Boston Children’s Hospital advises that you really only want to use medication to treat your child’s constipation if their doctor recommends it. So, if your toddler’s constipation isn’t aided by more natural methods or seems serious, go ahead and schedule a consultation with their pediatrician.
What does Pedia-Lax do?
Before treating your child’s constipation with any laxatives, talk to their doctor first. This should not be given to any child under the age of two. This medicine helps kids with their clogged booties by pulling water into their intestines, which helps softens their stool. Pedia-Lax comes in an oral supplement and comes in a suppository. It can take anywhere between 30 minutes to six hours to kick in.
If your child is having loose stool and diarrhea, this is normal, but let your doctor know if it persists. You should also call your doctor if your child seems fatigued, has an irregular heartbeat, slow breathing, dehydration, stomach pain, bloody stools, or rectal bleeding.
So when should I go see a doctor if my toddler is constipated?
You can definitely treat a mild case of constipation. It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor about your child’s constipation. But, according to Colorado Children’s Hospital, you should seek medical care if your toddler seems to be in a great deal of pain, if they throw up twice or more, have a swollen stomach, or if their symptoms persist after trying other remedies.
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