Soon after effectively toilet training my daughter, I thought we have surpassed the biggest hurdle. However, there have been occasions that she was really distressed because she was constipated. Children may respond in a different way to constipation, but younger ones are generally frustrated and unhappy. Constipation is common among children, and it can stem from various causes.
The common cause of constipation in young children is their diet. Insufficient fluid consumption and too much cow’s milk can bring about constipation. Likewise, too much consumption of processed foods can also lead to constipation. A kid who is so engrossed in playing may put off a bowel movement, which can also lead to irregularity. Lack of physical activity and a sudden change in the kid’s environment are also culprits. Rarely, constipation is brought about by medical conditions affecting the thyroid gland and the intestines. In order to prevent constipation, here are some basic recommendations:
1. Make sure that the child gets sufficient dietary fiber in his diet. Add more fruits, veggies, bran muffins, oatmeal, whole-grain cereals and breads because they are excellent sources of fiber. Dietary fiber is bulky and it can soften stools, and thus preventing constipation.
2. Increase the kid’s fluid intake. It is essential that parents offer liquids from time to time, and not rely solely on a kid’s requests for water. It is particularly important to supply more fluids during hot days, or once the child is engaged in a physical activity. It is easy to also offer prune juice because it can successfully promote a bowel movement.
3. Set a routine time for bowel movements everyday, ideally after a meal. A kid can easily get caught with the activities through the day that he will put off defecating. Once this occurs, stool builds up in the lower bowel and may get bigger and harder to pass. Condition your little one to go to sit in the toilet for at least ten minutes, to promote regular bowel habits. Praise your child for the effort in sitting at the toilet, even if he was unable to defecate.
4. Encourage your child to engage in active play because it can increase peristalsis. Shortage in activity has been found to cause constipation, and it is essential that parents help in modifying sedentary practices at home.
5. Be sure that the child is not consuming too much dairy products. Although dairy products are good for kids, too much of it can also lead to constipation. Dairy food sources include milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. A one year old child usually needs 4 servings of dairy in a day. This is equivalent to ¾ cup or six ounces of milk, or one ounce of cheese.
Although there are many stool softeners which can easily be bought, it is never smart to use them without the doctor’s consent. If a child is used to having stool softeners often, it may not help in promoting normal bowel habits. Constipation is common amongst kids, and it takes time to establish regular bowel habits. No matter how frustrating it can be, parents need to be supportive so that a child will not develop negative behavior because of it.