Constipation in Babies & Children: Best Treatments & Remedies to Keep Your Kids Regular
by: Kerry Jones, MPH, RDN, LDN - Nutrition Consultant for Tiny Sprouts Foods
Constipation is one of the most common childhood ailments with an estimated 12-23% of children and adolescents experience constipation in the United States alone.1-2 Dealing with a constipated baby or child is undoubtedly one of the most stressful situations to manage as a parent, as your child is in pain and it can feel like feel like there is little that can be done to help them. Rest assured, including digestion-friendly foods in your child’s diet can help reduce occurrences on constipation and keep them regular.
Constipation is diagnosed using the Rome IV criteria, which states that constipation can cause less than three bowel movements weekly, bowel movements that are dry, hard, or painful to pass, and fetal incontinence.3,4 Constipation can also cause bloody stools, stomach pain, and decreased quality of life.3-6
Constipation can occur for a variety of reasons, but up to 95% of the time constipation is in response to too little fluid intake, not enough insoluble fiber, toilet training issues, changes in routine, excessive consumption of dairy, or not enough physical activity or movement.3,4 Constipation can also be a side effect from a medication or other medical conditions.4 In infants, poor feeding can also result in dehydration and constipation.
Regardless of the reason, constipation is not fun for your little one! It can even start to impact their health and nutrition, causing issues with weight, growth, and overall well-being. This is why it is so important to figure out why your child’s constipation is occurring in the first place and make sure you are working with your child’s healthcare team to make them more regular in the bathroom.
About the author:
Kerry Jones, MPH, RDN, LDN is a pediatric & maternal registered dietitian, nutrition consultant for Tiny Sprouts Foods, and owner of Milestones Pediatric & Maternal Nutrition. Her goal is to help transition women into motherhood and then continue to support them and their children as they grow. Learn more about nutrition for your family at www.milestonesnutrition.com.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is based on the experience of the author and science-based research. It is not intended to replace medical advice or diagnosis from a physician or other medical provider. This blog is not intended as a substitute for a consultation with a physician or other healthcare provider. The author is not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any suggestions discussed in this blog. It is important to talk to your doctor or your child’s pediatrician prior to starting any new medications or supplements.
- Lewis ML, Palsson OS, Whitehead WE, van Tilburg MAL. Prevalence of functional gastrointestinal disorders in children and adolescents. J Pediatr. 2016; 177: 39-43.
- Mugie SM, Benninga MA, Lorenzo CD. Epidemiology of constipation in children and adults: a systematic review. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2011; 25(1): 3-18.
- Levy EI, Lemmens R, Vandenplas Y, Devreker T. Functional constipation in children: challenges and solutions. Pediatric Health Med Ther. 2017; 8: 19-27.
- Paquette IM, Varma M, Ternent C et al. The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons’ Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Management of Constipation. Dis Colon Rectum. 2016; 59(6): 479-92.
- Vriesman MH, Rajindrajith S, Koppen IJN et al. Quality of life in children with functional constipation: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Pediatr. 2019; 214: 141-50.
- Youssef NN, Langseder AL, Verga BJ, Mones RL, Rosh JR. Chronic childhood constipation is associated with impaired quality of life: a case-controlled study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2005; 41(1): 56-60.
- Ahluwalia N, Herrick KA, Rossen LM et al. Usual nutrient intakes of US infants and toddlers generally meet or exceed Dietary Reference Intakes: findings from NHANES 2009-2012. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016; 104: 1167-74.