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How to relieve toddler's constipation?

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Fruit juice: Prune, apple, or pear juices contain sugars which are poorly absorbed, pass through the intestine unabsorbed, and hold water in the poop. Other juices are helpful because their sugars are better absorbed. A baby or toddler constipated may be helped by giving 2-4 ounces of one these juice once a day. In the case of pear or apple juice, it is important that the juice be 100% fruit juice (not watered down) or the sugars are not in high enough concentration to do their job. Prune juice contains more unabsorbed sugars so with prune juice use less and water it down somewhat (e.g. start with 1 ounce and add 1 ounce of water for a total of 2 ounces). Some children may develop gas or bloating with this treatment and become fussy. Seek evaluation from your clinician if the juice is not helping or your child is not tolerating it. With the exception of prune juice, juice is not very helpful for older children (above age 2-3) because their intestines are more efficient and absorb most of the sugars.

High-fiber foods: If your infant has started eating solid foods, you can substitute whole grain cereals for white or refined cereals (white rice cereal). You can also offer other high-fiber fruit and vegetable to your baby or foods including apricots, sweet potatoes, pears, prunes, peaches, plums, beans, peas, broccoli or spinach. Banana, applesauce and carrot baby food and baby foods thickened with tapioca can be constipating so reduce these foods in your child’s diet. For older children, dairy products can be constipating. If your toddler is eating excessive amounts of cheese, milk (>16-20 ounces per day), or refined carbohydrates; try to reduce these in the diet and substitute higher fiber alternative such as whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables.

Toddler Formulas: Some formulas may be constipating. Formulas which are higher in casein and formulas that have been thickened with rice cereal can be more problematic. Consider changing formula if you toddler is having a persistent problem with constipation. Iron in formula does not contribute to constipation.

Mild osmotic laxative: may be recommended by your baby’s clinician if the constipation does not respond to these interventions.

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