Parents often face the problem of constipation in children from birth to school age.
Constipation is unpleasant not only with a feeling of incompleteness but also with pain that causes the need to push. Difficulties in bowel movements are experienced by children of different age groups. Gastroenterologists and pediatricians report that about 30% of children have problems with bowel movements. The number of girls on the list is in the lead. Normal stool frequency differs depending on the age of the baby.
Symptoms of Constipation:
- impossibility of bowel movements
- painful bowel movements
- a small number of dense feces.
Infants on average defecate 6-10 times a day. Toddlers under the age of three go to the toilet up to six times a week. The normal frequency of bowel movements for children older than three years is from three times a week to three times a day. So far, there has not been a single position regarding the treatment of pathology. General dietary recommendations will allow children to return to a healthy life.
Foods for Toddler Constipation
The causes of difficult bowel movements in children are wildly different. The key to solving the problem will be the establishment of a therapeutic diet. If a breastfed infant suffers from constipation, then the mother should follow a special diet. For babies who have switched to solid food, it is necessary to choose the right diet.
Food preferences directly affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. The hardest thing to break habits is for parents whose children have formed their food priorities. Correction of the diet will be an important step towards improving children’s digestion. It is necessary to add foods rich in fiber to the menu.
Dietary fiber stimulates the development of beneficial intestinal micro flora. This results in regular stools. Meals must take place regularly: three main meals and two snacks. As a healthy snack, fresh fruits and dried fruits are ideal. Fresh vegetables and fruits must be added to the menu daily. For each age group, it is worth adhering to separate nutritional rules.
Nutrition rules for children at different ages
Each age group has its own dietary rules. Babies are introduced to solid foods for the first time at six months of age. It is worth introducing simple one-component purees, kefir, cereals into complementary foods.
For children from one year and older who suffer from constipation, it is necessary to draw up a balanced menu rich in fiber and proteins. It is important to exclude foods that cause increased gas formation (cabbage, sour juices, beans, cucumbers), and completely remove store-bought sweets.
In infants, the work of the gastrointestinal tract is only being formed. At the age of up to a year, the enzymatic deficiency often occurs, difficult digestion of food. Mothers of babies suffering from constipation should reconsider their diet and adhere to the rules of nutrition.
It is important for women who are breastfeeding to drink enough fluids. If you drink little water, the fat content of milk increases and makes it difficult to digest. It is worth adding foods rich in vegetable oils and dietary fiber to the diet.
It is important to limit the consumption of pastries, white bread, sweets, foods high in preservatives, salt, flavor enhancers. Such food negatively affects the chemical composition of milk. Children on artificial feeding can be supplemented with water (after consultation with a pediatrician). All babies need to introduce to complementary foods after six months.
Children 1 – 3 years old
Children from one year old eat from the common table. The food habits of the child are influenced by the gastronomic preferences of the whole family. If the baby suffers from constipation, the menu should be reviewed by all households. It will be useful for all family members to refuse fatty foods, dishes with light carbohydrates.
A diet for children from one year old should include boiled vegetables, vegetable salads, fruit purees, whole fruits. Store-bought purees with added sugar should be avoided. The menu should include light soups, cereals, lean meat, fish, dairy products. Ground nuts help lighten the stool. You can introduce them gradually in ground form.
Dried fruits, especially prunes, help fight constipation. It must be soaked before use. Children need to drink enough liquid throughout the day. It can be ordinary water, compotes from fresh berries and fruits, dried fruits.
Children 3 – 7 years old
Children from three years of age need to receive the necessary amount of fiber for the normal functioning of the stomach and intestines (up to 20 g per day). Vegetables and fruits contain the most fiber: you need to eat up to 400-500 g of fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
The menu of children from three to seven years old can include whole-grain bread, nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkins, bran. It is recommended to use cereals, vegetable soups every day. Meat broths can provoke constipation, so it is better to replace them with vegetable decoctions.
The composition of dairy products in the diet allows you to normalize bowel function. Low-fat kefir, fermented baked milk, yogurt can be consumed every day: they have a laxative effect. But whole milk should be avoided. It is important to stick to the drinking regimen and move a lot.
Children over 7 years old
Schoolchildren stay away from home most of the time, and parents cannot always control what they eat. The main recommendation for the elimination and prevention of constipation is to remove harmful foods such as snacks, bars, fast food from the diet. You can not use sweet soda, store juices.
The diet of children from seven years of age should include legumes, cereal cereals with a shell, whole meal pastries, boiled vegetables, vegetable salads, large-fiber meat, lean fish. Two hours before bedtime, it is recommended to drink low-fat kefir or yogurt.
Why Does Constipation Occur in Babies
There is no single cause of constipation in children. Typically it is a complex of problems that leads to difficulty bowel movements. One of the causes of constipation is considered a genetic predisposition or heredity.
The development of the disease can be influenced by intentional retention of stool. If the child feels that he wants to go to the toilet, but is too keen on the game, is in an unusual place, and is shy, arbitrarily delays bowel movements. Water from the feces in the rectum is absorbed, the stool thickens, and then there are difficulties and pain during defecation.
Diet plays an important role in constipation. First of all, you need to adjust the diet of the child (sometimes the whole family).
Difficulty with bowel movements in children is associated with typical mistakes of parents:
- Early introduction of complementary foods up to six months.
- Insufficient amount of liquid consumed.
- Improper potty training for children under two years of age.
- Reproduction in the intestine of pathogenic micro flora.
- The low fiber content in the child’s menu.
- Lack of exercise, active pastime.
- The formation of anal fissures, inflammation of the rectum.
What Can Constipation Lead
Constipation in children is accompanied by physical and psychological discomfort. If the baby deliberately retains feces, it is necessary to explain that such behavior can provoke serious illnesses. The result of the retention of feces in the intestines can be bloating, pain, intestinal obstruction.
This is a serious violation of the intestinal tract, which can lead to surgical intervention. Constipation in children should not be ignored. If you can’t cope with bowel problems using a diet, you need to contact a gastroenterologist. He will select the correct drug therapy depending on the specific case.
For the treatment of chronic constipation in children, choleretic drugs are used that normalize bowel function. Prebiotics and probiotics are prescribed for babies to improve the microbial composition of the intestines. Doctors often prescribe antispasmodics and laxatives.
Prolonged constipation can lead to serious illnesses. Complications include the formation of hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, colon expansion, enteritis, inflammation of the perirectal tissue.
The occurrence of constipation in children of different ages cannot be ignored. The simplest and most effective way to deal with impaired bowel movements is to follow a diet, an established daily routine, sufficient consumption of clean drinking water, and physical activity. It is worth making changes to the child’s diet after consulting with a pediatrician.