Best Foods To Relieve Constipation In Toddlers
Learn the common causes of constipation in kids as well as what to do when it hits! These foods help relieve constipation in toddlers naturally. If your child suffers from constipation or really hard stools, making these foods a priority should help. These stool softeners play a huge role in both preventing and treating 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!
Many of the ways to relieve constipation in kids involve food.
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).
Trouble In The Bathroom
Pooping is 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.
Unless there is an underlying cause or problem, there are a few main reasons kids don't poop regularly:
The Poop Is Hard
If a kid's 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 should 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
Food plays a huge role in constipation with toddlers. Though there can be multiple reasons, it could be 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 try some foods to relieve constipation first.
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 leftover to expel. This shouldn't happen often but it will happen- so sometimes patience is key.
Too Much Protein
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.
How To Relieve Constipation In Toddlers
I'm sure there are 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. In an ideal world, the suggestions below do both!
Foods To Relieve Constipation: Flaxseed
Flax is a wonderful little seed full of healthy fats and... fiber (so one of my favorite foods for constipation relief!)! Flaxseed has been shown to soften the stool as well as have a mild 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.
Most adults should start with 1 tablespoon at a time and work up to three as their bodies get accustomed 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.
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 I absolutely adore them. However. they have a mild laxative effect. So, take caution if you're not used to it.
My advice would be to start with coconut milk and if that doesn't take to try the water. I've found that people respond differently to the ways in which they're made. Both coconut milk and coconut water are easily added to smoothies. Coconut milk especially helps make recipes like oatmeal, yogurt and smoothies extra creamy.
Coconut water itself is amazing from an all-around health perspective as it's insanely hydrating. It's my go-to when either of the kids are sick. Below are a few recipes that have coconut milk in them:
Chia Seeds For Constipation
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!)
These little seeds are honestly a wonder seed and I think just about everyone should have them in their diet. Learn creative and tasty ways to get chia seeds into your diet daily here.
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 is a bit dense.
Boost their water intake (no milk, just 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). Likewise, 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. You don't need to constantly take a probiotic. Probiotics help when kids are backed up or sick though.
Fermented foods especially help keep your gut flora up to par. Sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, miso etc are all great sources.
You can even make fermented fruit which makes it easier for toddlers to fall in love with.
Eat Less Processed Food
I know, I know... kids! But reducing the number 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 to relieve constipation in toddlers isn't just limited to what you put in your diet but also what you take out
Don't forget to pin these tips & foods to relieve constipation in kids!
Watching your toddler or child struggle to poop is heartbreaking! 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.