Last week my toddler experienced constipation for the first time in his life. There is nothing more heartbreaking to a parent than watching their child be in such discomfort and even pain. I reached out to my mom squad and the Instagram community for tips as this went on for 5 days total. For five days he would cry and scream. He could barely get comfortable enough to play or enjoy himself. Over and over he would say “my booty hurts”. Heartbreaking.
I wanted to share some of the tips that were shared with me to relieve toddler constipation. Some of these are from our pediatrician. On day 4 we took him in to see if there was anything else we could do that we hadn’t already tried.
Signs + Symptoms of Toddler Constipation
- Less than three bowel movements/week
- Large, hard to pass bowel movements
- Pain while experiencing a bowel movement
- Blood on the surface of stool
When to Seek Medical Attention for Constipation
- Blood in Stool
- Abdominal swelling + distended stomach
- Loss of appetite
Disclaimer: Please note, I am not a medical profession. Always consult with your own doctor or pediatrician before trying any of these methods.
Increase Fluids + Fiber
This was a no-brainer for me. Water is the magically ingredient that keeps bowel movements regular. With the heat and summer coming into play, it’s necessary to increase fluids even more. Our pediatrician also recommended sugary juices. I’m not typically one to offer sugary juices to my kids, but if it can help I’m down for a temporary solution! Our pediatrician explained that if dehydration occurs, the body will take fluids from the bowels causing constipation.
Often times it’s hard to get toddlers to eat vegetables (especially the green ones), but it’s important to try to increase their fiber intake. My kids will eat fruit/veggie pouches and hidden vegetables in pasta sauce or cheese sauces. You can also try these other high fiber foods: apples, pears and potatoes (all with skin on), whole grain bread, berries, prunes and yogurt (contains probiotics). If your little one won’t eat a prune, try adding some prune juice to their favorite juice.
Warm baths with epsom salt and lavender will help them relax and even give the urge to go. Just be careful putting any siblings in with them. Ha! This tip did actually work for my son and he went in the tub. Just be calm and encourage them that it’s OK (just this once!).
Another follower recommended DigestZen from doTERRA oils to aid in irregularity and upset tummies. Again, I’m not a medical professional, but the idea would be to use a carrier oil and either rub on the belly or bottoms of feet. DigestZen contains Anise Seed, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Rhizome/Root, Caraway Seed, Coriander Seed, Tarragon Plant, and Fennel Seed essential oils.
The first bout of constipation we experienced with our toddler occurred after we attempted to (unsuccessfully) potty train. He had decided holding it in would be better than actually going in a potty. Getting him moving and going for walks helped him relax and get his system moving. Plus when your little ones are experiencing painful and uncomfortable constipation, physical activity will take their minds off trying to go.
In the end, we did resort to medication. We first attempted Pedialax Stool Softener for two days. When that didn’t work, along with everything else mentioned above, we tried the Pedialax Suppositories. A friend recommended these and said it almost instantly give her child relief. We did get some relief from this method, but not enough to solve days of constipation. When we took a trip to the pediatrician, she said we could give the suppository to him until he went (following the directions on the box – so it would have been one a day). A suppository will help lubricate and add fluids to the bowels making it easier to go.
One thing our pediatrician did say was that she doesn’t recommend laxatives as they’re extremely harsh on little ones. Before resorting to that she recommended we try MiraLax. Now I know this medication is highly controversial, especially for children. So please do your research and only give medications you and your doctor are comfortable with.
Shop the Post