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Constipation In Children: How To Help Your Baby?

  • timeline Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
  • 2 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

Raising a child poses many challenges to mothers. Even if they cough once, it becomes a concern. The most common question that any mother would have had at least once, is if the child is constipated? Though there are no particular definitions for constipation in children, most babies might not be constipated as they appear to be. This blog will help you understand what are the possible symptoms of constipation in children and how to relieve constipation in kids.

What are the normal bowel movements?

Bowel movements in children change as they grow up. In the first few days of birth they pass stools very frequently and as they are a few months old, stool frequency can be many times a day to once in a week. Often exclusively breast fed babies pass stools once in a week. This is due to complete absorption of nutrients from the gut of the babies. If there is a defect in the nerves of the gut, it can also lead to constipation.

As long as babies are passing soft stools, it means they are not constipated.

Constipation in infants can happen once they start weaning, due to introduction of new foods. Constipation could be caused due to:
– Decreased activity
– Early toilet training
– Sudden change in the physical environment (leaving the child with nanny or at school)
– Change in diet or any minor illness.

What are the possible signs of Constipation in children?

Constipation in children is based not on frequency or consistency of stools. It is delayed passage of stools with difficulty leading to distress in the child. Abdominal muscles in children are not strong enough so the strain they put in is high. These are a few common signs of constipation in children

– Infrequent passage of stool: can be less than 2 times per week
– Hardened dried stools along with pain while passing stools (younger children can become fussy and can cry)
– Soiling of diapers with stools
– Tummy pain and bloating
– Decreased appetite 

Constipation in children home remedies

– If the baby is formula fed, try changing the formula
– If the child is introduced to solid foods, try to give good amounts of water and high fiber foods like bananas (unripe), greens, green peas, guava, chikoo and apple
– Toilet training should be started after 2 years of age. Child’s bowel movements are to be regularized and made to sit for 20-30 min
– Avoid maida products including biscuits and excess amounts of milk and milk products like cheese, butter
– Gentle massages over the tummy and lower abdomen about 4-5 times a day may help with constipation in children

It’s important not to give any stool softeners or any laxatives as a part of constipation in children treatment. There are medical conditions that can cause constipation like Hirschsprung diseases or obstruction. If there is no improvement after a couple of weeks or if there is blood in stool or the child is vomiting or crying excessively, a pediatrician has to be consulted to evaluate if there is any stool impaction or medical condition. Remember early detection can help in proper management.

  • timeline
  • Written by

    Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri

Primary Care Physician

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  • Mahesh
    3 Nov 2021

    My son is grunting at night

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