Foods For Constipation In Kids
I’ve noticed a trend lately and it has to do with poop! Many kids are struggling to poop daily due to pain, constipation or fear (which I’ll touch on briefly). And as a mama, it sucks watching your kids struggle with bathroom issues- but there are a few things you can do to help! And many of them involve food for constipation! I’ve written about toddlers and food before (like this post on foods every toddler should have in their diet) but the truth is, food plays a huge role in the whole pooping situation (go figure right). So below are some tips and tricks you can utilize to hopefully help out your little ones!
Pooping one of those things rarely spoken about unless you’re a parent- and then it’s discussed in depth. But the truth is, kids and toddlers are not the only ones who struggle with a healthy bathroom schedule. Many adults only have bowel movements every couple of days which actually isn’t healthy in the grand scheme of things.
But back to kids, toddlers and how to help prevent constipation naturally.
Unless there is an underlying cause or problem, there’s a few main reasons kids don’t poop regularly.
Their Poop Is Hard
If a kids poop is so dense that it’s hard to pass, they may revert to holding it to delay pain. This one breaks my heart truthfully because no toddler she be in pain from poop!
They’re Shy Or Scared
If kids have passed a hard stool before they may not want to do so again and resolve to hold it in. Or, if they had a bad poop experience it could make them subconsciously hold it.
They’re Genuinely Constipated
This is where food plays a huge role but it could be that your toddler is actually constipated and while they want to poop they can’t. I know there are child laxatives to help this issue but before resorting to over the counter choices give some of my tricks a try!
When kids are going through major growth spurts their poop schedule may be off for a few days. This is because the body is literally retaining as much fuel and nutrients as possible and doesn’t have much left over to expel. This shouldn’t happen often but it will happen- so sometimes patience is key.
Too Much Protein
So while I love protein I will be the first to admit that it’s a bit more challenging to digest. I first noticed this with clients who were competing in figure competitions. High protein diets are amazing to keep you lean but that extra boost in protein can cause some digestive issues and constipation is one of them. It takes a little bit for your body to get used to digesting all of the protein and it tends to make stools a bit harder. So double check that your little one isn’t consuming too much protein for their system! This alone can help relieve constipation in toddlers.
I’m sure there’s a few other reasons regarding poop but those are the main ones I’ve come across. So that leads in to… what can you, as parents do about it?
This is going to come as a shock and I apologize (somewhat) for anyone I offend. Buuuttt… with a poor diet comes poor poop habits.
Meaning, if the primary foods in your child’s diet come from processed sources (breads, cereals, bars etc) they may have a harder time passing their stools due to hard poop versus if their diet had more water and fibrous bases.
I know I know- kids are horrible to feed sometimes! They like what they like. If you’re struggling to get your kids to eat healthier foods, check out this blog post on “How To Hide Veggies So Your Toddler Eats Them“
The first step to any issue is to target the solution and not just the symptom.
But like I said, there are foods for constipation that help loosen up stools naturally and get bathroom habits moving!
Constipation Solution #1 Flaxseed
Flax is a wonderful little seed full of healthy fats and… fiber (so one of my favorite foods for constipation!)! Flaxseed has been shown to soften the stool as well as have a milk laxative effect. So on top of getting in an amazing source of fat (specifically omega three’s) it can also help relieve any lingering stools for your toddler.
Start small with flaxseed, most adults should start with 1 tablespoon at a time and work up to three as their bodies get accustom to it. With kids I’d suggest starting with a teaspoon only and see how they respond after a few days. You can add flaxseed to smoothies, yogurt, eggs or muffins so it’s extremely easy to sneak it in.
Solution #1 Coconut
Have you ever been to an all inclusive resort and have the bartender tell you not to drink too many of the “Bahama Mamas” because you’ll have tummy issues? The first time this happened to me I was beyond confused. I later learned it was because they contained coconut milk!
Coconuts are one of my all time favorites foods (which makes me laugh that they’re one of the best foods for constipation!)I honestly absolutely adore them but they definitely have a mild laxative effect when you’re not used to them.
My advice would be to start with coconut milk and if that doesn’t take to try the water. I’ve found that different bodies respond to the slightly different ways they’re made. Both coconut milk and coconut water are easily added to smoothies and the milk especially makes everything creamy (oatmeal, yogurt etc)
Solution #3 Chia Seeds
Another amazing whole food source. Chia seeds, when combined with water create a gel like substance that moves easily through your colon. They’re a great source of fiber and healthy fats (and this banana chia pudding makes them easy to convince a toddler to eat them!)
While the foods above are great sources to help relieve any back up issues, I always give a few more tips when it comes to pooping:
Up Your Water Intake
Water is essential to keep your digestive track flowing and going. If your little one isn’t a water drinker chances are their stool are a bit dense. Boost their water intake (no milk, water) and give their body a bit more hydration to help things move along (here’s a few tips on how to boost their intake) this is a great time too to transition them from juice to more fueling liquids.
Gut health in general is a great indicator of overall health. Replenish the gut flora with probiotics and fermented foods as much as possible. This isn’t to say you need to constantly take a probiotic but when things get backed up or more illnesses hit than normal it’s a good idea.
Fermented foods especially help keep your gut flora up to par. Sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, miso etc are all great sources.
Eat Less Processed Food
I know, I know… kids! But reducing the amount of processed foods your toddler eats will help keep their systems on par. Focus as much as you can on wholesome food sources like fruits, vegetables and grains (oats, quinoa etc). Foods for constipation isn’t just limited to what you put in your diet but also what you take out
Side note: Note: all of these health boosting ingredients can be purchased through my favorite retailer Well.ca– and the best part is that they offer free shipping!
Don’t forget to pin these foods for constipation!
Watching your toddler or child struggle to poop is heart breaking! And the last thing you want them to do is to fear going to the bathroom. Looking into foods for constipation and focusing on a whole food diet can go a long way. If you still need help, give the three foods above a shot to help loosen up the stools and move them along naturally.