Constipation is a common problem in infants and children. Many babies and young children experience constipation at some point in their lives. There are many reasons why constipation may occur in babies and younger children. Still, fortunately, there are also many ways parents can help their children have regular bowel movements, including chiropractic care. There are signs to know if your child has constipation which we will discuss.
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Signs of Constipation in Infants and Children
During the early stages of your child’s life, your child’s digestive tract is developing and learning to digest foods. Sometimes constipation can occur. Remember that every child is different, and their normal bowel movements can be different from other children’s. Here are some signs your youngster could be constipated.
- Fussy or spitting up (infants)
- Seems uncomfortable when passing stool or has difficulty passing stool
- Hard, dry stool, sometimes in the shape of a small ball
- Bloating and abdominal pain
- Blood in stool or painful bowel movement
- In older children, having less than three bowel movements a week
- Clenching their butt cheeks
All children are different, meaning their bowel movements are different too. Try not to compare your child’s to another. Some have a bowel movement every day, and some do every other day.
Common Causes of Constipation in Infants and Children
There are many reasons constipation may occur in babies and young, healthy children.
Diet: A diet low in fiber or not enough fluids can lead to constipation. For example, a baby solely drinking milk or formula is at risk for constipation because there is little fiber in these liquids. Another way constipation can be caused by diet is if your child overeats dairy, which can bind up the digestive system causing constipation. Switching from formula or breastmilk to solid foods can also cause constipation in babies.
Potty Training: Potty training can be a common cause of constipation in toddlers. When first learning to use the potty, some children may hold their stool because they are afraid of the process or do not want to stop playing. This resistance to having a bowel movement can cause constipation.
Heredity: Some children may be more prone to constipation because it is passed down through their genes.
Medications: Certain medications, such as iron supplements or narcotics, can cause constipation.
Emotional Stress: Babies and young children can experience constipation if they feel emotional stress from a change in routine, moving to a new home, or starting daycare.
Ways Parents Can Help Their Infant or Child Have Regular Bowel Movements
Here are a few ways you can help your child’s constipation. As always, you should consult with your child’s health care provider if you have any concerns.
Helping your Infant with Constipation
Here are some easy remedies you can incorporate into your baby’s routine to help relieve constipation.
- Give your baby one to two ounces of diluted fruit juice. Always consult with their pediatrician before adding new food or liquids to your baby’s diet.
- Try the bicycle legs exercise. This is an easy exercise that’s been known to get things moving. Lie your baby on their back and have their knees bent. Gently peddle their legs as if they’re riding a bike. This is a great movement to help relieve gas as well.
- Give your baby a warm bath. A warm bath can help relax your baby’s muscles and potentially help to get things moving.
- Tummy massage. Gently massage your baby’s tummy in a clockwise motion around their naval. Move your hands out and away from the center of their body.
- Give your child more liquids. Young children need to drink water and other fluids to stay hydrated. Ensuring they are drinking enough can help make sure any waste product can quickly move through their intestines.
- Add more fiber to their diet. Fiber is essential for everyone’s diet. Fiber isn’t digestible, so it helps push items through the digestive tract and prevents constipation. Encourage your little one to eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain bread.
- Encourage daily exercise. Exercise can also help get the bowels moving. It’s good for kids to get outside and get some type of activity daily.
- Set a regular meal schedule. Eating is the bowels signal to get moving. So, having your child on a regular eating schedule can help your child’s body learn regular bowel-moving habits.
- Encourage your child to use the potty. Some kids fight the urge to use the potty. Encourage your child to sit on the toilet for about 5-10 minutes after eating. This will help develop a sense and comfort for going to the bathroom.
How Visiting a Pediatric Chiropractor Can Help
Pediatric chiropractic care is geared towards improving the alignment of your child’s body by manipulating and adjusting the spine. When the body is aligned, the nervous system can function at its best. If your child is experiencing chronic constipation, pediatric chiropractic care could be a solution to promoting a bowel movement.
Nervous system issues in young children can cause various other problems. Most parents may not think about pediatric chiropractic care as a solution. There are many serious health benefits your child can gain from regular pediatric chiropractic care, including,
- Improvement of your child’s immune system.
- Increase your child’s neural brain development.
- Increased brain development promotes the ability to concentrate better.
- Ability to handle emotional stress early in life.
- Improved sleep habits.
- Improved digestive system.
If, after this article, you are considering a chiropractor for your child’s constipation, look no further than ADIO Chiropractic. Dr. Eric has undergone specialized training and is excellent at working with the whole family. Our team of chiropractic care professionals is here to help adjust your body, align your spine, encourage proper development, and increase the ability of the nervous system to work with the rest of the body. Give our chiropractic care team a call and schedule an appointment today! You can reach us at (608) 824-0950.