Sometimes we forget that just like us, children are not strangers to the effects of constipation. Remember, constipation is also a common digestive problem in children. Children with constipation have poop that is hard, dry, and painful to get out.4 Do not worry though because constipation is usually just temporary. However, if left untreated, it can bring more pain to your child and their symptoms can get worse.

How to know if my child is constipated?

We understand that it might be difficult to know if your child is constipated since they do not know the term just yet. To your child, it is just an ‘ouchy tummy’ but here are some symptoms you can watch out for to know if it’s constipation:

  • Their poop is hard or pellet-like
  • They won’t eat or their eating habits are not their usual
  • Their belly is swollen
  • Their bowel routine appears painful or difficult to pass
  • Their bowel movement are infrequent or less frequent than usual

What is the reason behind your child’s constipation?

There is no one reason behind it. The cause of constipation in children is still unclear. However, there are several factors to consider:

  • You might have switched to milk formula too quickly
  • Your child might have a tear in the skin next to their anus. This happens when they try to pass hard poop.
  • There is a lack of physical movement or activities within their day
  • Your child might have a delicate stomach
  • Your child might have digestive issues

How to prevent my child from having constipation?

There are several routines you can add into your everyday schedule that will help greatly when it comes to easing your child’s constipation:

Mom and kid exercising to prevent constipation

Photo by jcomp from Freepik

 

  • Add more physical activity to their daily routine.3 Did you know that physical activity or movement can help relieve constipation in your child? Try moving with your child and letting them explore their surroundings. Bike around the village, walk to the nearest park, or dance to their favorite song! These activities will help them physically and mentally — plus you get to bond too!
  • Give them a warm bath.3 Warm baths help your child’s muscles relax and release poop. While there might not be enough research on it, observation shows that heat helps relax their intestinal muscles and thereby ease their stomach discomfort. Make it a great bonding moment for them by sharing stories over warm baths.

Glass and bottle of water

Photo by jcomp from Freepik

  • Offer them liquids.3 Give your child the right amount of water as it is an essential part of digestion and tummy health. This is especially true in countries like the Philippines with more tropical climate, as kids are more prone to sweating and losing bodily fluids. While fruit juices are also good, but because of their developing tummies, it might be helpful to water down the juice.

holding a thermometer for rectal temperature check

Photo by jcomp from Freepik

  • Keep a rectal thermometer nearby. Taking their rectal temperature is safe2 and it may even help stimulate your child to pass their poop. You can do this by using a digital rectal thermometer. Before inserting it on their rectum, apply a bit of petroleum jelly.

When should i call the doctor?

While constipation is not really serious, chronic constipation may lead to complications or may be a sign of an underlying condition. Take your child to the doctor if the constipation lasts longer than two weeks, along with other symptoms1 like:

  • Fever
  • Sudden loss of appetite
  • Blood in stool
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Pain while pooping

To sum everything up, while these hacks are easy and doable at home, it is also important to look at your kid’s diet. Tummy discomfort can also stem from not having the right nutrition. When it comes to their milk formula, choose a milk that is specially made for developing tummies like Enfagrow Gentlease 3+. It has PHP (Partially Hydrolyzed Protein) that is smaller** than regular protein and reduced lactose for easy digestion; plus, MFGM and DHA that help advance brain and cognitive development*.

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*with proper nutrition and stimulation
**versus regular cow’s milk

References:

  1. Constipation In Children | Symptoms and Causes, available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation-in-children/symptoms-causes/syc-20354242#:~:text=Take%20your%20child%20to%20a,Blood%20in%20the%20stool. Accessed on 06 September 2022
  2. Rectal stimulation to relieve constipation in infants: is it safe?, available at https://www.ijpediatrics.com/index.php/ijcp/article/viewFile/1799/1343 Accessed on 06 September 2022
  3. Constipation In Infants | Symptoms and Treatment, available at https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/constipation-infant Accessed on 06 September 2022
  4. Constipation In Children, available at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/abdominal/Pages/Constipation.aspx Accessed on 06 September 2022
  5. Article Thumbnail and Mobile images, available at https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/girl-with-rash-suffering-from-pain_2247748.htm Accessed on 26 September 2022.