Constipated toddler is one of problems that most of parents have to deal with. Some of inexperience parents even panic when they have to deal with it and find constipation relief for their toddler frantically. Before we talk more about toddler constipation relief, let’s see what AAP say about toddler constipation. AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) said that children may constipated, if they had painful bowel movements and the stools condition are hard, large, and dry.
There are several ways on how to relieve constipation on toddler.
General Toddler Constipation Relief Tips
Although the best toddler constipation relief is to find the cause and counter it, in general there are few ways that usually use to ease and relieve toddler constipation.
- Warm bath for constipated toddler.
Give your toddler a warm bath to help relieve the constipation. Have your baby to sit on their bath-tub with warm water around chest-high. The idea is to relax your toddler and relax the muscles in the stomach and rectum area. By relaxing the muscles, a warm bath can also ease and relieve cramps that usually associated with constipation. Relaxing the muscles that keep stool inside the rectum may help pass the stools. Prepare for a bit messy condition.
- Tummy massage
A gentle tummy massage while your toddler take a warm bath can also help relieve the constipation. Do this only if your toddler fell comfortable with it. Start the message at your toddler’s belly button and gently move outwards clockwise in circular motion. This will help to stimulate the muscles to move the stools and produce a bowel movement.
- Consume enough water
Make sure that your toddler get an adequate water intake, it is about 8 – 10 cups daily. But fluid requirements vary depend on their activity, the weather (air temperature) and the size of their body. To make sure your toddler receive an adequate water, offer them more water when they have more activity and in hot weather. Adequate water intake is an important factor to prevent or relieve toddler from having constipation problem.
- Eat more fiber
Give your toddler more high fiber foods, such as whole grain, vegetables, fruits can help relieve the constipation.
- Fruit juice
Giving your toddler fruit juice is also good to help relieve the constipation. Apple and prune juice are said to be an effective toddler constipation relief. Give them one or twice daily undiluted fruit juice such as prune juice will help relieve the constipation. “Experiment” with the amount of fruit juice, try small amount first like about 0.5 Tbsp (7 mL) to 2 Tbsp (30 mL) of prune juice, and increase the amount slowly over time. Too much prune juice can result in diarrhea.
Make sure that your toddler have enough physical activity, at least about 60 minutes a day. Physical activity move the body and that wil also make the bowels moving.
- Squatting position.
If you do not use special potty and use regular toilet, make sure you use child’s step stool to support their feet. Raise their knees into squatting position when they sit on the toilet will ease them on passing the stools.
This one recommended as the last effort. And even though this is probably the fast way for toddler constipation relief and there is many over the counter laxatives, make sure you inform and discuss it first with your toddler’s pediatrician. Laxatives usually use only when the toddler having a chronic constipation. Use it carefully, because overuse it can result in dependency and decreased the natural bowel movement function. Glycerin suppositories is one of the laxatives that might be recommended by pediatrician to relieve toddler constipation.
Counter the Cause – Toddler Constipation Relief
Like any other health problems, the right way to treat it is to first find the cause and counter it. It is the same with toddler constipation, the best toddler constipation relief is to find what is the cause of toddler constipation and find the solution that counter the cause.
Laxatives is perhaps the fast way for toddler constipation relief, but if the cause of toddler constipation is lay on their diet and habit or anything else, then soon or later they will get the constipation problem again. The fast solution is not always the right way to do. That is why first we must configure what is make the toddler constipated, and then find the relief according to that cause.
There are several things that can make toddler constipated:
- Diet.The most common caused of constipation including toddler constipation is not enough fiber in their daily diet. That is why one of the general tips on toddler constipation relief is to have sufficient fiber in their daily diet. Toddler these day consume too much sweets and processed food, and lack of high fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains. So to relieve and prevent the constipation give your toddler sufficient fiber on their daily diet.
Some toddler react differently to particular food. But as general low fiber foods such as cheese, meat, processed food, ice cream are the foods that should be reduced and add more high fiber food to relieve toddler constipation.
Also make sure they getting enough fluid, water especially because not getting enough fluid will make the stools harder and will cause toddler constipation.
- Lack of physical activity.Moving the body also make the bowels moving. Toddlers that watch television too much usually lack of physical activity, and that is one of the causes of constipation in toddler. So running around, outdoor playing is actually needed for toddler to prevent and relieve the constipation.
- Holding the bowel movement.Holding and ignore the urge to have bowel movements can cause toddler constipated. This usually happened when they are too busy playing, playing with their toys is much more interesting rather than spending their time in bathroom to have bowel movement.
Fear of discomfort or pain can also make the toddler hold back from having a bowel movement. And if the toddler keep ignoring the urge to have bowel movement several times, the stools begin to accumulated, more water gets absorbed from the stool, and that makes the stools bigger and harder and more difficult and painful to pass and the toddler become constipated.
To prevent this constipation from happening, you must pay attention to the toddler’s bowel movements. Train and encouraged your toddler to have regular time for bowel movement each day is also good to prevent constipation from recurring. Potty training will help your toddler to develop “the bowel movement” habit. Set a fixed time time for their potty-time, for example 10 minutes after their meals. Do not force them, make it the potty-time fun. Read a story or anything that make the potty-time fun and relaxing. That’s will help on relieving toddler constipation.
- MedicationSome supplement such as iron supplement and medication can cause toddler constipated. So if your toddler constipated after eat some supplement or medicine, simply change or substitute the medicine or supplement (do this after consult it with your toddler pediatrician) may be the best way to relieve the toddler constipation.
- Physical conditions.In some rare cases, an anatomical problem with the intestines, anus, or rectum can affect a child’s ability to go to the bathroom and cause constipation. Surgery or biofeedback may be an option for toddler constipation relief for this case.