Constipation is one of the most common childhood problems. A child is considered to be constipated when:
- He/she has less than 3 bowel movements a week
- If it hurts to pass a bowel movement (including bleeding)
- The stools are hard and dry (either looking like tiny pebbles or unusually large)
Sometimes, constipation can be the result of an underlying medical condition, such as an illness or a food allergy. However, in most cases than not, it is caused by changes in diet and insufficient consumption of fiber.
If any serious cause of constipation has been ruled out, these are some simple things you can do at home to ease your child’s constipation.
- Increase the fluid intake: Irrespective of the age of your child, increase his/her fluid intake. Breast-milk, formula, diluted juice or water – whatever it takes as long as the fluid consumption is high.
- Fruits and vegetables that start with ‘P’: Did you know that some of the highest degree of fiber can be found in fruits and vegetables that start with the letter P? Think peas, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, papaya; these are known to work well to flush out the intestines.
- Steer clear of ‘constipating’ foods: Excessive dairy, bananas, apples, bread, rice and pasta are examples of food that tend to ‘bind’ the stomach even more.
- Discipline: With children, discipline can work in miraculous ways. A regular, daily meal schedule is as much important as a dedicated ‘toilet’ time during the day.
A piecemeal approach may not be effective when it comes to dealing with constipation in kids. With us, what worked was a combination of all these measures.
Disclaimer: As usual, these are simple home remedies that I have tried and tested on my daughter over the years. They are not to be regarded as a substitute for medicines in any way. Please refer to your medical practitioner for expert views on any health-related subject.