When constipation strikes an adult it can cause a lot of discomforts but parents are able to understand what is going on and the need for remedial action. Toddlers have far less understanding of the cause of their discomfort and the need for them to take medication or make changes to their diet. For this reason, dealing with constipation in toddlers can be really difficult for parents and child.
When attempting to treat constipation the aim is to turn hard stools, which are difficult to pass, to soft stools that make it easy for the bowels to open.
Encourage Toddlers to Drink More Fluids
Constipation is very common among toddlers and the most usual cause is lack of fluids. According to the article “Constipation” on the Parents First for Health website run by Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in the UK, it is recommended that toddlers drink at least 900mls of fluid a day; most children’s beakers hold about 150mls so this would mean six of these a day. If children are living in a hot climate then a higher intake will be required to prevent constipated toddlers.
Make Sure to Include Plenty of Fibre to Ease Bowel Movements
In order to avoid constipation in toddlers, it is important for them to have plenty of fiber in their diet. Fiber is not digested and has no real nutritional value but it is important for healthy bowel movements. Fiber can be found in vegetables and fruits as well as many other food products. It can be hard to get children to eat a certain type of foods but experimentation should allow parents to find high fiber food that their child enjoys.
Beware of Medications That Cause Constipation
Parents need to be aware that certain medications can bring on constipation. It is a good idea that all medication is checked for side-effects and parents discuss their concerns with their pediatrician or pharmacist.
Other Tips for Dealing with Constipated Toddlers
Young children can find potty training a challenge and may respond to it by holding their bowel movements. It may sometimes be worthwhile to delay potty training until the child is ready.
It is strongly advised that parents never give their child laxatives unless they have first discussed this with their doctor. In most instances there will be no need for this type of medication and natural methods will prove successful.
Dealing with constipation is something that most parents will need to deal with more than once as their child grows. Prevention is always better than cure and ensuring that a child gets enough fluid and fiber will usually be enough to prevent it from occurring in the first place.Parents should avoid giving laxatives to toddlers unless prescribed by a doctor and may need to delay potty training if the child is not ready.