Constipation, Age 11 and Younger
A nonconstipating diet is the best way to prevent constipation. If constipation develops, a nonconstipating diet will help restore normal bowel movements.
For babies younger than 12 months:
- Breast-feed your baby. Constipation is rare in breast-fed babies.
- Make sure you are adding the correct amount of water to your baby's formula.
For children age 12 months and older:
- Make sure your child is Reference drinking enough fluids. When the weather gets hot or when your child is getting more exercise, make sure he or she is drinking more fluid.
- Add high-fiber foods.
A diet with enough fiber (20 to 35 grams each day) helps the body form soft, bulky stool.
- Give your child at least 1 cup of fruit a day. Choose whole fruit instead of fruit juice.
- Give your child at least 1 cup of vegetables a day.
- Increase the amount of high-fiber foods, such as bran flakes, bran muffins, oatmeal, brown rice, beans, and unbuttered, unsalted popcorn. Offer your child whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
- Limit foods that have little or no fiber, such as ice cream, cheese, meat, and processed foods, if your child gets constipated easily.
- Set a good example for your child by drinking plenty of fluids and eating a high-fiber diet.
Constipation sometimes becomes a problem when children start toilet training:
- Encourage your child to go when he or she feels the urge. The bowels send signals when a stool needs to pass. If your child ignores the signal, the urge will go away, and the stool will eventually become dry and difficult to pass.
- Set aside relaxing times for having bowel movements. Urges usually occur sometime after meals. Establishing a daily routine for bowel movements, such as after breakfast, may help.
- Make sure your child has good foot support while he or she is on the toilet. This will help flex your child's hips and place the pelvis in a more normal "squatting" position for having a bowel movement.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of exercise throughout the day. Set a good example for your child by following healthy routines of eating, exercising, and going to the toilet.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 2, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference David Messenger, MD