Constipation is a very common problem among children. My oldest suffered from constipation and hard bowels for a number of years. I remember giving her Karo Syrup and suppositories in order to get her to have a BM. Dealing with her constipation was frustrating and stressful and often lead to an unnecessary battle.
Please take note that Fleet has recalled the Fiber Gummies discussed at the bottom of this review.
How do I know if my child suffers from constipation?
A division of the National Institute of Health defines constipation as having a bowel movement fewer than three times a week. Children suffering from constipation either have very small hard stools or large ones that are difficult to pass.
Depending on your child’s age he may or may not be able to tell you if he is constipated. She may be too young to speak or embarrassed or scared. Fortunately, you can look for these common symptoms of constipation:
- Less than three bowel movements a week
- hard stools that are difficult to pass
- cramps, stomach-aches or nausea
- rectal bleeding (this could be a sign of a more serious condition consult your pediatrician)
- urinary incontinence, frequent urination or bed-wetting (these symptoms could also be a sign of a more serious condition, consult your pediatrician if your child has these symptoms)
- soiling (often confused with diarrhea)
What causes constipation in children? The most common reasons why your child may be suffering from constipation is she may have a poor diet, he may not be getting enough fiber or enough fluids.
If your child is sick she may also suffer from constipation or it may be a side effect of your child’s medication.
Young children may also hold their bowels in especially if they have had difficulty or hard bowls in the past. Your child may also be afraid to have a BM in an unfamiliar place or public restroom. Traveling and stress not only affects adult regularity it can also do the same for your child.
What can you as a parent do if your child suffers from constipation? The first thing that you can do is make sure your child is getting enough fiber in her diet. Fiber is is a very important part of a healthy diet. Dietary fibers are the portion of plant foods that your body can not digest. These materials move through your digestive system absorbing water, helping you to move your bowels.
Fruits, vegetables, grains and beans are among high fiber foods. In order for a diet high in fiber to do its’ job you must make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. Most nutritionists recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. If your child is eating a diet high in fiber but is not drinking enough water this can also lead to constipation.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents use the following guidelines to determine the amount of fiber needed in a child’s diet:
Age/Gender Fiber (grams)
2-3 years 19
4-8 years 25
9-11 years (female) 26
9-11 years (male) 31
Below is a list of the fiber content found in common foods:
|Fruits||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)|
|Apple, with skin||1 medium||3.5|
|Apricots, dried||1 cup||10.5|
|Peach, with skin||1 medium||2.1|
|Pear, with skin||1 medium||4.6|
|Grains, cereal & pasta||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)|
|Spaghetti, whole-wheat||1 cup||3|
|Bran muffin||1 muffin||6.3|
|Bread, Pumpernickel||1 slice||1|
|Bread, whole-wheat||1 slice||1.66|
|Bread, white||1 slice||.55|
|Brown rice, cooked||1 cup||2.4|
|Legumes & nuts||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)|
|Lentils, cooked||½ cup||1.9|
|Navy beans, cooked||½ cup||3.1|
|Lima beans, cooked||½ cup||2.6|
|Baked beans, canned||1 cup||18.6|
|Almonds, slivered||½ cup||3.6|
|Vegetables||Serving size||Total fiber (grams)|
|Asparagus, cut||7 spears||1.5|
|Turnip, cooked||1 cup||3.4|
|Potato, boiled w/skin||1 medium||2.3|
|Spinach, chopped||1 cup||8|
|Spinach, raw||1 cup||4.1|
|Sweet potato, baked||1 medium||2.7|
If your child is a picky eater or you are unable to follow a high fiber diet you can supplement his diet with Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies for ages 2-11. These are the best fiber gummies for toddlers and kids. The penguin-shaped, great tasting Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies are sugar-free, calorie-free, gluten-free and made with natural fruit flavors. This supplement is dentist approved and a great solution if your child is not getting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended daily fiber intake.
Fleet Has Recalled These Fiber Gummies
Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies retail for about $7.99 for a bottle of 60 gummies and are available at Target and Walgreens. You can also purchase them online at www.fibergummies.com and get a $1.00 coupon to use at your favorite store. Search their online store locator to find a retailer near you. You can also enter to win a bottle of Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies by leaving us a comment. Contest is open to US residents ages 18+. (This contest ended in April of 2010)
Looking for more information on fiber and child health and nutrition tips? Check out the articles below:
Jump on the Bran Wagon and Boost Your Child’s Fiber Intake
What Is Fiber?
Add More Protein and Fiber to Fall Recipes with Freekeh
Nutrition 101 Part 2 – Carbs and Fiber
How Much Do You Know About Whole Grains?
5 Ways to Sneak Veggies Into Kids’ Food