How to Care for Your Child with Constipation
This leaflet will provide you with information about Constipation causes, symptoms, treatment and home care advice.
What is Constipation?
Constipation occurs when a child has a hard poop and/or does not regularly go to the toilet. Constipation is a common problem in children
- Most children with constipation do not have an identifiable underlying medical problem causing their symptoms.
- Infants who are breastfed have more bowel movements than those who are formula-fed.
What are the symptoms of Constipation?
Your child may:
- Have fewer bowel movements than usual (two or fewer per week)
- Have hard or bigger than average poop
- Feel pain when having a bowel movement
- Arch his or her back and cry (if still a baby)
- Avoid going to the bathroom.
- Have a small amount of blood when they poop due to straining and pushing to get the poop out.
- Leak small amounts of bowel movement into the underwear
How is Constipation treated?
Constipation generally resolves with:
- Simple changes in diet or behaviour.
- Drinking enough fluids
- Regular toilet time
- Sometimes medicines may be required.
Home care advice:
1. Encourage your child to:
- Eat more fruit, vegetables, cereal, and other foods with fibre
- Drink some prune juice, apple juice, or pear juice
- Drink plenty of water (about 950 mls per day for children over two years old)
- Avoid milk, yoghurt, cheese, and ice cream during the constipation period
Sit on the toilet for 5 or 10 minutes after meals if he or she is toilet trained. Offer rewards just for sitting there.
2. Stop potty training for a while, if you are working on it
When should I seek medical advice?
Seek medical advice if:
- Your child is younger than four months old
- Your child has recurrent constipation
- You have been trying the steps listed above for more than 24 hours, but your child has still not had a bowel movement
- Your child Has a lot of blood when pooping or on the diaper or underwear
- Your child is in severe pain