Quite common in toddlers, constipation is most often transient. In most cases, all it takes is a change in diet or even more physical exercise for older children to get everything back in order.
With Doctor Pierre Popowski, homeopathic pediatrician, author of Caring for your child with homeopathy, Éditions du Rocher.
That our child pushes with the effort by releasing three small dry balls or that he has not done his daily poop is enough to worry about! However, the frequency of stools – defines constipation, which is an anomaly in the progression of the food bolus (what we have eaten) along the small intestine and the large intestine) – varies according to age and toddler diet. This could be a serious concern if newborn not pooping but passing gas. Constipation is defined by the emission of less than one stool per day. But don’t panic if it’s not as regular as that! It is generally only transitory, and some hygienic-dietetic measures overcome it.
Constipation in infants (babies under one-year-old)
Depending on whether it is bottle-fed or breastfed, things differ. A bottle-fed baby has an average of 1 to 3 bowel movements per day. A breastfed baby can have up to 6 to 8 bowel movements daily. Something unusual going on? Talk to your pediatrician. After examination of the toddler – is he bloated or not? Is constipation accompanied by anal fissures, bleeding, regurgitation, or vomiting? Is he growing regularly (about 30 grams/day or 1 kilo per month for the first few months)? –he asks you about his family background (are there people prone to constipation in the family?), what happened during the pregnancy and around the birth: vaginal delivery or cesarean? Was the baby resuscitated at birth? Etc. All of this may have a role in the occurrence of constipation. Check out more at two name.
In breastfed babies, it may be mother’s milk constipation. Strange but still very real! A quarter of breastfed babies “suffer.” Some only have a bowel movement once a week. The reason? The mother secretes more or fewer endorphins, the hormones of well-being, which pass into the milk and “sleep” the intestinal transit of the infant. Be patient, and it will pass by itself.
In bottle-fed babies, constipation may be due to the wrong dosage of infant formula or too much flour in the evening bottle. Sometimes the milk prescribed is too low in oligosaccharides (sugars), in pre or probiotics (sugars for some, for others living micro-organisms that facilitate intestinal transit). Faced with constipation, the pediatrician also thinks of an allergy to cow’s milk proteins.
In sporadic cases, constipation can signify Hirschsprung’s disease, damage to the nerves in the colon causing bowel obstruction. This condition is treated surgically. Constipation can also suggest hypothyroidism or cystic fibrosis. These two diseases were the “obsession” of pediatricians not so long ago, and they are now diagnosed at birth with the Guthrie test.
Solutions to Constipation
The right dose of powdered milk to prepare the bottle: a level measure for 30 ml of water, neither more nor less! Magnesium-rich Hepar water in the bottle is also an excellent way to speed up infant transit. Again, not too much is needed. This water is rich in fluoride (no more than 50 mg per kilo per day for the baby), so it should not be abused. Respect the quantities indicated by your pediatrician.
A bit of homeopathy for babies constipated with mother’s milk: Opium 7 CH, one pellet four times a day, or one dose every 5 to 7 days. Or Magnesia muria-tica 7 CH, three granules three times a day.
A glycerin suppository, occasionally. If necessary, the pediatrician advises a change of milk. He prescribes milk better dosed in pre or probiotics or special transit milk (with carob) or a protein hydrolyzate to replace the usual milk in case of allergy.
Massages on the belly, delicately, in the direction clockwise. You can also bring the baby’s legs to his abdomen and make him pedal gently.
The small child (over one year old)
Constipation is most of the time of food origin but sometimes also psychological. In the latter case, the child withholds his stool to show his disagreement with a situation (starting school, birth of a child in the family, toilet training, etc.) that disturbs him and to “upset” his mother…
Solutions to Constipation
Water, water, water! The more water a child drinks, the less likely he will be constipated. Offer him a bottle or a glass of water between meals. Distrust with coca and sweet fruit juices, drunk in large quantities, constipate. Beware of orange juice squeezed in the morning to facilitate intestinal transit: the opposite happens after 3-4 days! Sufficient fiber. And so c vegetables and fruit on the child’s menu at every meal. There is fiber in whole-grain loaves of bread, green vegetables (artichokes, broccoli, carrots, etc.), legumes (lentils, white and kidney beans, etc.), fruits (pears, apples, blackberries, etc.).
Dairy products in limited quantity. No more than 500 ml per day corresponds to approximately one bottle and a half and one dairy product. Too much milk constipates.
Physical exercise. A child must move daily, walk, run, cycle or kick a ball. It is ideal for maintaining a healthy weight and fighting against constipation.
The regularity. Get your child used to have a bowel movement after meals at regular times. The best is after breakfast because the intestine “gets going again” in the morning. Impossible? So ten minutes on the potty or the toilet before going to bed. Stick to it, and the intestine will re-educate itself over the days.