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Constipation in Children

Constipation in children
  • It depends on how old he or she is:

    • In the first week of life, most babies have 4 or more bowel movements each day. They are soft or liquid.
    • In the first 3 months, some babies have 2 or more bowel movements each day. Others have just 1 each week.
    • By age 2, the majority kids have at least 1 bowel movement each day. They are soft but hard.
    • Every child is different. Some have bowel movements after each meal. Others have bowel movements every other day.
  • Your child might:

    • Have less bowel movements than normal
    • Have bowel movements that are solid or higher than normal
    • Feel pain when having a bowel movement
    • Leak little amounts of bowel movement into the underwear
    • Avoid going to the washroom, do a “dance,” or hide when he or she feels a bowel movement coming. This often happens when potty training and when starting school.

In most children with mild or brief constipation, the problem generally gets better with some easy changes. Have your child:

  • Eat more fruit, vegetables and other foods with fiber.
  • Drink some prune juice, apple juice, or pear juice
  • Drink at least 7-8 glass of water and drinks that aren’t made from milk, each day (for children older than 2 years)
  • Avoid dairy foods
  • Sit on the toilet for 5 or 10 minutes after meals, if he or she is toilet trained. Offer rewards just for sitting there.
  • Stop potty training for a while, if you are working on it

You should have your child seen if:

  • He or she is younger than 4 months old
  • He or she gets constipated often
  • You have been trying the steps listed above for 24 hours, but your child has still not had a bowel movement
  • There is blood in the bowel movement or on the underwear
  • Your child is in serious pain
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Dr. Harsh J Shah