A healthy tummy means a well-nourished and healthy child, but when your little one is feeling sick or uncomfortable, as a caregiver or parent you can often feel helpless. Does your little one sometimes experience difficult moments when trying to go to the toilet? Not to worry, included in this article is some useful information that can help you and your child navigate those stressful times. From signs to look out for, causes of constipation, and what to feed your child so their tummy can stay happy - and you can stay stress-free.
Signs of constipation in kids
Any combination of these symptoms could mean your child is constipated:
- Stool is harder than usual
- Less than two bowel movements in a week
- Abdominal bloating, on and off
- Reduced appetite
- Irritability or mood changes
- Discomfort when passing stool
Causes of constipation in kids
- Not enough fluids during the day
- Not enough fibre in the diet
- Certain medicines (Consult with your child’s doctor to see if any chronic or non-chronic medications could be a cause)
- More than 750ml of milk a day, this replaces the food which should be adding bulk to the stools
Prevention and relief of constipation in kids
Treatment options will depend on how long your child has been constipated and the severity of their pain and discomfort. A trip to the doctor is important when symptoms are prolonged, as there could be a need for intensive treatment. However, here are some simple steps you can take at home to prevent and treat short term bouts:
- Make sure your child is drinking enough fluids (specifically water) during the day.
- Introduce lots of fresh fruit and vegetables into meals - the fibre in fruits and vegetables goes a long way in ensuring softer and more regular stools.
- Make toilet training a relaxed and positive experience. Create a safe space for your child to comfortably communicate with you and give you signals so that they don’t hold stools back.
- Adding probiotic (lactic acid-producing bacteria/LAB) supplements help keep your child’s digestive system healthy.
Did you know?
80% of your child’s antibody-producing cells are in the gut. Good gut health isn’t just about relieving constipation and treating diarrhoea, but also about boosting your child’s immune system. The stronger the immune system, the less susceptible your little one will be to an upset stomach.
Keeping little tummies healthy
Adding probiotics (LAB) into your child’s daily meal plan and general diet can help create a healthy balance of bacteria within the gut. Probiotics (LAB) are available in a variety of foods suited for children such as:
- Other milk products for children with additional probiotics
There are a few different types of probiotics (LAB) to be aware of with each having slightly different effects, so it’s always a good idea to consult your child’s doctor when giving it to your child. Some of these strains include:
- Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus
- Limosilactobacillus reuteri
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Bifidobacterium longum
NESTLÉ® NIDO® 3+ is not a breastmilk substitute but a drink specially suited for children older than 3 years.