If your child has fewer than two bowel movements a week, then he/she may be suffering from constipation. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, the child may have stools that are hard, dry or lumpy and are difficult or painful to pass.
Children may also experience other symptoms such as a change in posture, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, more soiling accidents, changes in behavior, and feeling sick in general.
Constipation in children can have several causes and these include genetics, intolerance to dairy or wheat or both, low water intake, a low-fiber diet, low muscle tone, the habit of holding it in, not chewing food properly before swallowing, emotional problems, irritable bowel syndrome, and functional gastrointestinal disorders.
These symptoms can cause extreme discomfort for children and when not treated, it can become chronic and lead to other problems like hemorrhoids, fecal incontinence, rectal prolapse, and anal fissures. Furthermore, constipation prevents harmful toxins from leaving the body thus leading to weight gain over time.
For parents, it is not easy to see their child in pain and discomfort. Luckily, there are simple yet effective remedies and lifestyle changes that can help prevent and treat constipation as well as help alleviate your child’s discomfort.
Here Are The Home Remedies For Constipation In Children
Coconut oil helps treat infrequent bowel movements. It may also increase metabolism and help food pass more quickly through the body.
This healthy oil is also rich in fats that are necessary for your child’s growth and development.
You can add coconut oil to your child’s milk, soup or any other warm beverage once daily.
Or you can apply a small amount of coconut oil to your child’s anus to help lubricate the passageway and encourage your child to poop. Do this once daily.
Fennel seeds help in a smooth muscle movement in your child’s digestive tract, thereby resulting in healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Plus, it also prevents gas in children.
Roast 1 cup of dried fennel seeds. Grind them and sieve the mixture and then store the powder in a jar. Give a ½ teaspoon of this powder with warm water to your child daily.
Aside from this, you can also give your child fennel tea. Add 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds to 1 cup of hot water. Let it steep for 5 minutes, and then strain it. Give your child this tea to drink a few times a day.
Prunes are high in fiber and sorbitol, which helps soften the stool and add bulk to it for easy passage.
Give your child 3 or 4 prunes to eat daily. You can also blend 2 or 3 prunes into some warm almond milk, and make your child drink it at night before going to bed.
Increase your child’s fiber intake. Fiber is a natural laxative that helps soften stool and encourage regular bowel movements.
The recommended dietary intake for your child’s diet is 14 grams for every 1,000 calories. Include foods rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Some good sources of soluble fiber are carrots, oranges, apples, flaxseeds, barley, and oatmeal.
Some good sources of insoluble fiber are legumes, unprocessed grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and dark leafy vegetables like spinach or kale.
Water is necessary for the digestive system to function properly. Inadequate water intake makes the stool hard and difficult to pass.
Because children tend not to think about drinking water between playing, this can leave them dehydrated which causes constipation.
See to it that your child drinks enough water, fruit juices, and other healthy drinks as much as possible during the day. You can give your child plain water or lukewarm water with a little juice.
You can also try giving them coconut water, flavored water, vegetable juice, or fruit juice if they don’t like the taste of water.
A gentle massage on your child’s stomach and lower abdomen can stimulate bowel movements. It can help loosen abdominal muscles, release pressure, relieve gas, and promote bowel activity.
Put some coconut or mustard oil on your child’s stomach and gently massage in a clockwise direction for 5 minutes.
Doing exercises can help aid digestion and relieve constipation. It will help food move faster through the large intestines and help the bowel muscles contract, thus moving waste along.
Lack of exercise leads to weakness in the intestines thereby making waste hard to pass.
Walking is one of the best exercises for children. Aim for 30 minutes of walking a day to help with bowel movements.
Healthy Bowel Habits
Establish a regular toilet time to prevent constipation in children. Encourage them to use the toilet first thing in the morning and after every snack or meal to help maintain regularity.
Make your child spend at least 30 minutes on the toilet, around 10 minutes after each meal, every day.
Teach your children to sit in the right posture on the toilet. Support their legs by giving them a footstool or step stool. Tell them not to hold back whenever there is a need to use the bathroom.