Constipation, your Child & Treatment

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Constipation can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful for those who have it regularly. When children experience constipation it can be especially painful and frustrating and can leave parents wondering what their treatment options are. Fortunately, constipation can usually be treated effectively at home. Here are a couple of easy steps…

  • Make sure your child is drinking adequate amounts of fluids.
  • If you are switching from breast milk to formula, give your baby an extra 1 fl oz to 2 fl oz of water for the first 2 to 3 weeks. Be sure to give your baby the suggested amount of formula plus the extra water. Do not give extra water for longer than 3 weeks unless your doctor tells you to.
  • If your child is older than 6 months, add fruit juices, such as apple, pear, or prune juice, to relieve constipation.
  • After age 6 months, give 0.5 Tbsp to 2 Tbsp of prune juice. Increase the amount slowly over time. At age 9 months, add 1.5 Tbsp to 3 Tbsp of strained prunes per day.
  • If fruit juices do not help, add baby foods with a high fiber content twice a day. High-fiber baby foods include cooked dried beans or peas (legumes), apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, plums, and spinach.
  • For children 1 year and older, increase your child's fiber intake by adding at least 2 servings of fruit, such as apricots, peaches, pears, raisins, figs, prunes, dates, and other dried fruits, and at least 3 servings of vegetables, such as cooked dried beans or peas (legumes), broccoli, or cauliflower, each day. Add whole-grain foods, such as bran flakes, bran muffins, graham crackers, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread.
  • Gently massage your child's abdomen. This may help relieve discomfort. You can also have your child lie on his or her back, legs flexed onto his or her abdomen, and rotate his or her legs in a clockwise direction.
  • If your child is age 6 months or older and the warm bath does not work, use 1 or 2 glycerin suppositories to lubricate the stool, making it easier to pass. Use glycerin suppositories only once or twice. If constipation is not relieved or develops again, discuss the problem with your health professional.

Symptoms to Watch For During Home Treatment

After a treatment program has started with your child, it's best to monitor and evaluate your child's symptoms if any of the following occur during home treatment.; Constipation or changes in the stool persist after 24 hours of home treatment in a baby younger than 3 months; New constipation persists after 1 week of home treatment in a child age 3 months to 11 years.

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