One of the biggest worries for mommies is when their little ones experience pain or discomfort. And, constipation is one such condition. It can be really heartbreaking for a mother to watch helplessly as her little one struggles and cries out in pain. However, by using the right kind of foods, you can help soften your little one’s stools and keep constipation at bay, naturally. Before that, though, you need to know what exactly constitutes as constipation in babies and toddlers.
What Is Constipation In Babies And Toddlers?
On an average, a breastfed or formula-fed baby will poop one or more times a day. At times, though, babies can go without a bowel movement for a day or two, and even up to a week. This can happen especially if you’ve just started your baby on solids. However, if the baby is active, gaining weight, and eating well, then there’s nothing to worry about (1).
Some toddlers have a bowel movement every day while others can go without pooping for 2, 3 or more days. But, it is not a sign of a serious issue and could be related to diet changes or the toddler unwilling to give in to the urge. So, an average of thrice a week is still normal for a healthy and active toddler.
However, you’ll actually need to be concerned if your baby or toddler is pooping less than 3 times a week (or the regular schedule), passing hard, large and dry stools, has painful pooping, soiling in between pooping, or strains of blood in stool (2).
Best Foods To Soften Hard Stools, Quickly And Naturally
Here is a list of foods that will help soften your baby’s or toddler’s stools:
- If your baby is constipated, mix a spoonful of prune juice in the breast milk or formula.
- Increase fluid intake by continuing breastfeeding. Some formulas which contain casein can also cause constipation, so you can consider changing it as well.
- You can also give 4 – 6 ounces of apple or pear juice once a day to your baby. However, make sure that the juices are 100 percent pure and not diluted.
- If your baby has just started on solids, then replace whole wheat or whole grain cereals with white or refined cereals like white rice cereals.
- Include high-fiber fruits or vegetables to your baby’s diet like mashed sweet potatoes, pureed apricots, peaches, or plums, and pureed or fully cooked vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and peas.
- Avoid giving banana or carrots. Also, do not give apple sauce instead of apple juice as the sauce does not contain fiber and can lead to constipation (3).
- Increase fluid intake in your toddlers by encouraging them to drink more water.
- Since milk can also cause constipation in toddlers, limit the intake of milk to just 16 ounces a day.
- Add high-fiber fruits and vegetables to your toddler’s diet. Fruits such as mango, pear, and prunes contain sorbitol, which is a mild form of laxative.
- Vegetables such as beans, peas, broccoli, and whole-wheat bread and cereals also contain a good amount of fiber (4).
Treating constipation in toddlers can be a tad different as their digestive system is more advanced. Due to this, fruit juices might not be too helpful to them. So, it is preferable to feed them fruits instead of juices (5).
Other Ways To Decrease Constipation
- Giving a warm bath.
- Keeping your baby or toddler physically active. Play with your baby whenever he/she is awake.
- Make sure your toddler gets some physical activity of at least 30 minutes every day by playing outside.
- You can also encourage your toddler to use the bathroom regularly. Inculcate regular toilet habits by making him/her sit on the toilet seat for a few minutes every day. You can also fix a routine for it like a few minutes after a meal or soon after returning from daycare.
- Medications: Last but not least, if you feel that the problem refuses to go, consult a doctor. In all probability, the doctor will prescribe a mild but good laxative to help your baby out.
We hope that these tips help in mitigating your baby or toddlers painful condition. Do you have any of your own tips? Then please share them in the comments below to help fellow mothers as well. Thank you!
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