Constipation is a common problem for toddlers. This is often the result of the high-dairy, low-fibre diet that results from picky eating habits. It is also caused by a toddler's anxiety over going to the bathroom or potty training. Constipation can be treated easily with natural remedies. Here are several ideas for relieving your toddler's constipation.
Decrease dairy intake
Many toddlers consume large amounts of dairy throughout the day, which can result in constipation. Dairy should be limited to two to three servings per day in a constipated child. Dairy items include cheese, milk, ice cream and yoghurt.
Increase fruits and vegetables
Increasing fibre by giving fruits and vegetables is a simple and healthy way to treat constipation. Try to choose fruits and vegetables with high fibre content. Some examples are raspberries, apples, raisins, peas and carrots (see Resources for more information). You may find it helpful to print a list and keep it on your fridge for reference.
Offer your toddler fruit and veggies throughout the day for snacks. It is best to offer them plain with no dips or seasonings so your toddler can develop a taste for them. If your toddler refuses to eat vegetables, you can sneak them in. You can add grated yellow squash to scrambled eggs for breakfast. Whole grain muffins with puréed carrots and apples are a great treat for toddlers. You can even add spinach to smoothies.
Increase whole grains
Increase whole grains by offering your toddler foods like bran muffins, graham crackers, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grain wheat bread. Whole grains are packed full of fibre, which is great for treating constipation.
Increasing fluids is helpful for treating constipation. This is especially true of fruit juice. Offer your toddler undiluted fruit juice such as prune or pear twice daily. Also, increase your toddler's water intake as much as possible. Most toddlers enjoy a sippy cup while playing. A sippy cup full of water is a great way to protect toddlers' teeth and keep them hydrated. Good hydration is key when treating constipation.
If your toddler is potty trained, have him sit on the potty when he wakes up and after meals. If your toddler is not potty trained and is suffering from constipation, it is best to resolve the constipation before toilet training begins. A child who is constipated may associate the potty with pain. This can lead to toilet training problems, which can be very frustrating for both parents and children.
Try a warm bath
Rectal pain is often associated with constipation. If your toddler is having rectal pain, have him or her sit in a warm bath. This helps relieve pain and relaxes the anal sphincter, which can make it easier for your child to have a bowel movement.