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Constipation In Children – The Causes And How To Overcome It!

Hi Everyone,

Today I have decided to write about a subject not commonly spoken about around the dinner table.. but close to my heart – sounds weird but stick with me!

When munchkin was small, right from day dot, she struggled with her number twos. It was pretty horrendous, some days the screaming was so terribly distressing for us all as we just felt so bad and wanted to take the pain away for her.

Before having mini, I had absolutely no idea that constipation would become the centre of our world for the first year of her little life.

I did more research on this subject than you could ever imagine. I think i could even tell google a thing or two!

To cut a long story short, after much distress, a million trips to the doctors and eventually paying to see a private specialist, munchkin was diagnosed with having an acute milk intolerance (this is for another post) – hence the constipation.

Luckily she has now grown out of it, but at times she still struggles with her number twos, as most of us do sometimes.
It is not a widely talked about subject, but definitely one I feel very strongly about, as for little ones especially, this can be hugely painful and distressing and can eventually become a lengthy battle between our tots fear of going to the toilet and their bowels not playing ball.

I want to share some useful information that hopefully can help your little ones if they are unfortunate enough to endure constipation.

First of all, let’s look at what causes constipation-

There are many factors that can cause constipation, the below list are some of the most common:

  1. Formula/milk not agreeing with your child
  2. Depending on how young your child is, too much lactose can also cause constipation
  3. Too many starch rich/ binding foods such as pasta, bread and rice – if you are using puréed food banana purée can be particularly binding
  4. Not enough water/fluids
  5. Not enough vegetables and fruit in diet

Now, let’s look at how to tell if your child may have constipation (apart from the obvious)

They don’t poo at least three times a week
Their poo is often large, hard and difficult to push out
Their poo looks like “rabbit droppings” or little pellets
                                  NHS Direct

If your little one has more than one of the above symptoms, it’s definitely worth a trip to your GP.

Hopefully they may offer a simple solution, or depending on how severe the constipation, they may prescribe a mild laxative to help your little one get some relief.

I would like to share with you some of my lifesaver tips when munchkin gets constipated that help her overcome it quickly.

Magic Prune Potion –

Ok, so personally I hate prunes!

But I have learned to love them for the benefits they can offer when it comes to constipation. Prunes in Their dried form are more beneficial as they have a purer content of sorbitol, the powerful essence that helps your bowels.

But munchkin wouldn’t eat them at all so we opted for prune juice and it worked a treat every time!

Depending on how young your little one is water it down to around one part prune juice to five parts water, then reduce the water as they grow. Apricots and apricot juice are also a great alternative!

 

Run Baby Run!
Encourage your little one to continue exercising and playing as this can also help with their bowel movements.
Little ones, as we do, can definitely feel sluggish when constipated, but it is important to keep them moving.

Tap The Skin

If it really is too itchy (teach your child this is the way to ‘scratch’ their itchy bits) this will stop them actually scratching them and causing more pain. If they do scratch the spots and they bleed, be extra careful to keep them clean as of course these pose a risk of further infection.

Don’t Overthink It
In my experience, munchkin also struggled physiologically when constipated.

It goes like this-

My tummy hurts, I can’t go to the toilet. My tummy feels like I need the toilet but I’m scared to go incase it hurts . I have held it in so defiantly my tummy hurts even more and as much as I want to let it out I’m petrified it will hurt!

Really, it is an exhausting cycle.

But how do you break it?

I mean at some point it has got to come out!

As strange as it sounds we almost made it into a game. We wanted “Mr poo” to come out so that we could wave goodbye while he got flushed away to go and live with his “friends” – strange I know but it worked for us!

Eating The Right Foods
Foods can be a great medication in themselves, some of the best foods to try are
Fruits – anything with “roughage” like apples, pears, peaches, plums are great
Vegetables – pretty much any vegetable will do the trick, our favourites are carrots and Brussels
High fibre food such as bran flakes, wholemeal breads(or best of both if they are fussy) added fibre pasta

Whatever you do, stay positive, and try not to get frustrated.

In Their minds they are scared incase their number two hurts.

We must remember to them it is a BIG deal.

Over time, you will find you’re little ones “triggers”.

Food, diet and anxiousness can all play a part.

If all else fails, let them sit on the potty or the toilet while you read a story until Mr poop plops out- we like reading David Walliams Books as they are long enough not to finish before she’s “done her business” and funny enough to keep us both laughing!

Have faith, the fear will pass and before you now if they will be back to normal.

I hope some of the above helps you at some point, I have tried to keep the word “poo” to a minimum!

Thanks for reading as always x

A penny for your thoughts..