A minor change in the diet can cause constipation in children. If your child has constipation, he passes stool less frequently than usual, and they are harder than normal.
Children’s bowel habits vary greatly; some children have a bowel movement twice a day, others only once every two or three days. Whatever your child’s regular pattern, it is quite normal- don’t tamper it. Babies quite often become slightly constipated when they learn to sit up or crawl, and before they can walk.
What can be done: Don’t worry if your child is temporarily constipated, it won’t do him any harm. Don’t give him a laxative, since this will upset the normal action of his bowels, and don’t add sugar to your baby’s bottle. Give your child plenty of drink, especially if the weather is hot, to soften his stools.
Fruit juice may help to ease his constipation. Don’t hurry your child when he is on his potty, but don’t leave him there for too long either. If he seems constipated, smear Vaseline around his anus before sitting him on his potty, to make his bowel movement easier. Try to include more fiber in your child’s diet. This provides the bulk that helps the bowel to grip and move its contents along.
Good sources of fiber: Some examples of foods rich in fiber are: fresh foods are always best; whole meal bread; whole meal breakfast cereal; dried fruits like prunes and apricots are ideal for young children; fresh fruits like [ear, peach and banana.
Vegetables like mashed potato and lightly cooked broccoli are high in fiber, celery and carrots can be served raw. Always wash vegetables and fruit well, remove pips and strings, and peel for a child less than one year. Puree or mash the food for a baby under eight months.
Call the doctor if your child cries or complaints of pain when moving his bowels; has steaks of blood in his stools or on his nappy or pants and has constipation from more than three days. The doctor will prescribe a mild laxative and give you some advice on your child’s diet. If your child has streaks of blood in his stools, he could have small tear in the lining of his anus, so the doctor may lubricate the area very gently.