Let’s talk about something I know many mamas with children around the two year mark have dealt with: toddler constipation.
Exciting post topic
If you’ve ever HAD a toddler with constipation then you feel my pain on this and understand why I would write an entire post on the topic. It’s no joke.
I was shocked when I posted a pic on IG
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Originally published on May 25, 2021
What Causes Toddler Constipation?
Toddler constipation is very common for multiple reasons. Some of the causes of constipation in toddlers include:
Toddlers become pickier eaters and diet changes or introduction to new foods can mess with their digestive tract. If a child’s diet doesn’t have enough fiber from fruits, veggies, and whole grains, that can cause hard stools. So can an excess of processed foods or not drinking enough water.
A lack of physical activity can also be a contributing factor. Sometimes a good way to relieve a young child’s constipation is to get moving! Go on a walk, play at a park, jump on a trampoline!
Lifestyle changes can also disrupt their bathroom schedules and cause hard stool. Commonly, potty training will cause them to be more fearful of pooping which can create constipation. They might hold it in because they don’t want to stop whatever it is they are doing or toilet training might make them nervous. Past experiences with chronic constipation can create a vicious cycle where your toddler doesn’t want to go to the bathroom.
Another big contributing factor is the transition for breastfed babies from milk to solid foods. My daughter Tess had also just stopped drinking breast milk in January so I think that had a lot to do with her issues as well.
Up until she stopped with the breast milk she actually had mega loose stools. So much so that I was concerned and asked her pediatrician about it! I was really surprised when she ended up being my first kid to struggle with constipation. We went from never a solid poop to too solid of poop!
It’s interesting to me because her pregnancy was my first time in my life being constipated and now she’s my first kid to struggle with it as well!
Sometimes, illnesses can cause toddler constipation, and in rare cases, there might be underlying medical conditions at play. It’s a good idea in general to keep track of the symptoms and talk to your child’s healthcare provider if the problems persist despite trying different remedies!
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Symptoms of Constipation in Toddlers
Toddlers should be going poop about once a day. The most obvious symptom of toddler constipation is, of course, a lack of stools – usually less than 3 times a week is considered constipated. Hard poo, painful bowel movements, or stools that are large, dry, and/or have blood on the outside of them are usually pretty clear indicators of constipation.
Other symptoms may accompany toddler constipation such as:
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Cranky (beyond normal toddler stuff!)
How to Relieve Toddler Constipation:
When you have a constipated toddler it’s straight up miserable.
For them and for you.
It’s pitiful to see them in that pain and feel at a total loss as to how to help.
I searched all over the internet for help and got tons of advice from friends too. Here are all the methods and natural laxatives we used to help Tess work through her constipation issues:
Avoid “Brat Diet”:
Basically I didn’t give her any of the solid foods that I was feeding her when I was trying to help her stools become more solid! No bananas, rice, applesauce or toast 🙂
Feed Helpful Foods:
Fiber-rich foods such as beans, broccoli, and whole grains are very helpful. The average toddler should eat around 19 grams of fiber a day.
Prunes help, but not as much as actual prune juice does (I had to dilute it to get her to even drink any).
Apple juice sometimes helps as well (she didn’t like any fruit juice at all so I just pushed water as getting enough fluids is key!)
Peaches and pears are both great to eat to help kids “go” and Activa brand yogurt has a lot of probiotics to help too (Tess LOVES yogurt so this was a win for us).
I also searched the internet and found some “Poop Muffins” that I made…
She’s done well with gummy type vitamins.
I’ve heard that powder mixes of probiotic are actually the best but I knew if she won’t even drink juice that there would be no way she’d drink something with powder!
Flaxseed Meal is GREAT to sprinkle onto foods.
I actually had some that I used to make lactation cookies while nursing so I just got in the habit of sprinkling it in yogurt and oatmeal.
A TON of friends also recommended coconut oil (doesn’t coconut oil seem to be beneficial for everything?). I use a spoonful and mix it in with her yogurt each morning!
Get ‘Em to Go:
I really wanted to try to get her to go on her own but I was worried she’d get compacted and I had several people say their kids got backed up and it can mean a visit to the hospital. No thanks.
It got the job DONE and got it done FAST.
Once I used the pedialax once I was able to stick with the Miralax for about a week or so just to make sure she got on a regular pattern of going on her own and that it was soft enough to avoid pain (seeing your child in pain to poop is PITIFUL).
Toddler Constipation: Final Thoughts
Even after she seemed to improve on her ability to go I have continued to be mindful of keeping things running smoothly.
Kids who get constipated once tend to have it happen frequently and I want to avoid it at all costs.
I make sure she eats 1-2 prunes a day as well as Activia yogurt, vitamins, and I continue to sprinkle the flaxseed onto her foods.
Hopefully being proactive about it will allow me to avoid ever having to do the pedia-lax again!
What are some of your tips to help with toddler constipation???