It is normal for infants and children to pass bowel movements anywhere from multiple times a day to every 3-4 days, as long as you don’t see rock-hard stools or blood in their stools. This includes breastfeeding babies.
Constipation in newborns will be assessed at your first visit, with a thorough examination to rule out any abnormal muscle tightening that can occur. For constipation in children that consistently have hard, painful stools (particularly with bright red blood as they wipe), there are some treatment options available over the counter. Again, our professionals would encourage you to first discuss this problem in the office with us, prior to trying anything over-the-counter.
Treatment for Constipation in Children
Options for treatment of constipation in children (to be decided upon by you and your provider together) include:
Miralax , now available over the counter, is safe for children and adults, non-habit forming, and easily mixes into a drink once a day. It is a tasteless powder but does appear granular in the glass, so we recommend using a covered glass to hide it better.
Baby lax or glycerin suppositories , available over the counter, do not soften stools but rather encourage evacuation. Needing to use these regularly means that an office visit with our medical professionals should be scheduled.
Prevention of Child Constipation
The most common cause of constipation in children is functional constipation, which results from stool withholding. This means that kids hold their bowel movements due to previous pain with stooling, embarrassment at school, or a desire to continue other activities. So it helps tremendously to try to create a routine with bathroom breaks scheduled into their day.
Prevention can include increasing intake of noncaffeinated/noncarbonated beverages (preferably water) to at least 64 oz per day and including good sources of fiber in the diet. Good sources of fiber include: raw and canned fruits, whole grain breads, unrefined cereals, nuts, cooked and raw vegetables, soups (vegetables, beans, peas, lentil, and barley), bran muffins.
****The information provided here is intended only as a supplement to the advice and information provided by our providers and nurses during direct patient interactions at Health Care for Children. This information should never take the place of an actual physical examination. Call us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your child constipation concerns with our nursing staff directly.****
Schedule an Appointment
Constipation can be a tough thing to manage for any child. Call us today at (816) 792-1170 to let us help you come up with a plan of action that works best for your child and you.
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Visit Healthy Children.org to find out more information.