You would think he was trying to move the house with the grunts and groans coming from down the hall. He is flushed and trying his hardest to just… Poop! Feeling defeated, he resigns from being king of the throne.
Don’t let constipation defeat your toddler!
Constipation refers to less than three bowel movements per week or stools that are difficult to pass. It results in pain and can hinder potty training. The last thing you want is for your child to be afraid to poop. If your child becomes afraid to poop because it hurts they can start withholding when they have the urge, only making the matter worse!
So why do toddlers get constipated? Some of the main causes are not drinking enough water, not having enough fiber in their diet, or having too much dairy or fatty food in their diet. Your twins can eat the same foods and one may be regular and the other may get backed up. The reason being their bodies may process the foods differently or you may not notice the small differences like how much fluid they drink; and this can make a big difference on the inside. Other causes of constipation can be an illness or medication, stress from a change in routine or potty training. Or they may just be ignoring the urge to go because, they are too busy playing and who can blame them for that?!
What are the signs of constipation? Since toddlers can’t always express themselves fully it is important for parents to keep an eye out for early signs to avoid painful bowel movements. Your child made experience tummy ache, bloating, loss of appetite, general crankiness or may be avoiding the toilet. Other signs of advanced constipation would be crying or screaming during bowel movements, smears of liquid stool in their diaper or underwear, hard, round stools, and blood streaks on stools.
How can you as a parent alleviate their discomfort? Below is a list of methods other parents have used to remedy their toddlers constipation. Make sure to read labels if you choose a laxative or fiber supplement and consult your child’s pediatrician before use. If your child’s constipation persists, make sure to notify your pediatrician.
Water- Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Most of these methods draw water into the stools, making them easier to pass. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water!
Fiber- Adding high fiber foods to your child’s diet will help move things along in the most natural way. Fiber is a material made by plants that is not digested and binds to water in the intestines; the water in turn softens the stools. Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.
Juice- This is the first thing many parents turn to help in regulating their toddler. Some Juices have a mild laxative effect because of a compound called sorbitol; a sugar that loosens the stool by drawing water into the large intestine thereby stimulating regular bowel movement. This sugar is abundant in many fruits such as prunes, pears, peaches, and apples and their juices. Toddlers should typically drink no more than 8 oz a day of these juices.
Coconut Water- This is the clear liquid extracted from young coconuts. It is a good source of fiber and naturally rich in electrolytes. Instead of buying it in a can or bottle why not purchase fresh and drink it straight from the coconut with a straw! How fun would that be?! There is a coconut opening tool that makes opening a coconut easy.)
Ground flax seeds- Acts as a laxative and contains fiber as well as many other health benefits. They look similar to finely ground bran flakes and easily stir into a soupy cereal like oatmeal or into a smoothie. Recommended dosage for toddlers is one tablespoon a day.
Flax oil- Not only acts as a laxative, but is a valuable source of omega 3 fats and a nutrient that facilitates the absorption of vitamins. Recommended dosage for toddlers is two teaspoons a day.
Fiber Gummies– These yummy little gummies add fiber to your little ones diet while they think they are eating candy. Recommended dosage for toddlers is 1 gummy, 3 times a day.
Benefiber- Adds fiber to diet by mixing in your child’s drink or soft food with no grit or taste.
MiraLAX– This stool softener dissolves easily in your child’s drink with no grit, taste or smell. Consult your child’s Pediatrician for dosage amount.
Milk of Magnesia- Comes in various forms and flavors. The liquid form can be chalky so it is not tolerated by all children.
Glycerin Suppositories– These are small “pills” inserted into your child’s rectum to help soften the stool and stimulates a movement. Suppositories also come in liquid form and inserted via an applicator. This method may need to be used for more advanced constipation and may be uncomfortable for your child.
Enema– This method of relieving constipation should be your last. But extreme times call for extreme measures. This method of inserting liquid into your child’s rectum will be uncomfortable for your toddler. Consult their pediatrician before considering this method.
Help your child to relax to facilitate the coming movement. Give them a warm bath, let them read a book or watch a movie while on the potty or while you massage their belly. It will be easier to poop if they are relaxed. Make sure to care for any irritation that may result when your child finally has a movement. With these methods you can help your toddler rule the stool once again!