Constipation in children can cause discomfort due to infrequent or hard stools. Exploring at-home remedies before turning to medications can often provide relief and regularity. In toddlers, constipation is typically defined as fewer than two or three bowel movements per week.
Children often exhibit distinct behaviours when trying to avoid bowel movements, such as leg extensions or stiffening of legs and buttocks, indicating discomfort.
Symptoms of constipation
- Fewer bowel movements in a week
- Stomach ache
- Hard, lumpy or dry stools
- Poor appetite
- Painful bowel movements
Natural Remedies Widely Used in Indian Households:
- Fluids and Juices: Offer plenty of fluids and juices like prune or diluted pear/apple juice (2 to 4 ounces) to aid bowel movements.
- Decrease dairy intake if it contributes to constipation. Avoid excessive sugary and processed foods.
- Whole Grains & Fiber-Rich Foods: Include whole wheat, oatmeal, berries, oranges, broccoli, and legumes for their high fibre content.
- Cut Low-Fiber Cereals: Rice cereal, especially white rice-based cereals, might be low in fibre and could potentially contribute to constipation in some children. Try reducing it, not eliminating it.
- Prune Juice: Effective in relieving constipation and can be mixed with other juices for taste.
Papaya: Papaya makes the digestion of protein easier because of an enzyme called papain. It also helps treat digestive disorders since it is packed with vitamins A and C, beta carotene, and minerals like phosphorus, iron, calcium, and potassium.
Pear Juice or Mashed Pear: Rich in sorbitol, pear juice or mashed pear can help relieve constipation.
- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, and pecans are some of the nuts that are packed with fibre. Consuming them roasted can be a perfect way to treat constipation
- Hydration: As a general guideline, toddlers between the ages of 1 to 3 years old typically need about 4 to 6 cups (32 to 48 ounces) of fluids per day. This includes water and other liquids like milk and juices.
Traditional Indian Remedies:
- Milk and Ghee: A tablespoon of ghee in warm milk before bedtime aids in bowel movement by lubricating intestinal walls. You can offer this milk at night.
- Soaked Raisins: Known for aiding digestion, soaked raisins can help strengthen the digestive system and alleviate constipation.
- Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds are often used in Indian households for digestive issues. A teaspoon of fennel seeds can be boiled in water to make tea. This tea can help ease digestive discomfort and support regular bowel movements.
- Ajwain Water: A small amount of roasted Ajwain seeds ground into a powder and mixed with warm water. The solution can be given in minimal quantities, appropriate for a toddler's age, to alleviate digestive discomfort.
- Routine & Timing: Create a predictable bathroom routine, especially in the morning and after meals, promoting regular bowel movements.
- Abdominal Massage & Exercise: Massaging the abdomen and gentle leg bicycling can encourage bowel movements.
- Avoid withholding stool: Teach your child to use the bathroom when needed. If your child is shy to use the bathroom, you may need to provide reassurance and support to help them feel comfortable.
- Physical activity: Go for a walk, or play with your child, The more your child moves, the more chances of easy bowel movements
When to Seek Medical Advice:
If these home remedies don't help with constipation or if your child's discomfort persists, consulting a doctor is recommended. They may suggest appropriate laxatives or further evaluation depending on the child's age and condition.
LOVE AND SUPPORT ALWAYS...!!!