What is Normal?
Many parents become concerned with constipation in their babies and young children however it is a very common problem. It is easy to become interested in how many stools are passed a day but it is important that as parents you know what is normal for your child as everyone is different. It may be normal for your child to go a few times a day or some children may only go once every other day. The more important things are the stools soft and your baby passing them with ease.
Changes in toileting habits
Your child’s stools will vary in colour and size from day to day depending on what they have eaten. Depending on whether your baby is breast or bottle fed will influence what their stools are like and therefore a change from breast milk to bottle milk will influence your babies’ toileting habits.
Another change in your babies’ toileting habits may be when they begin weaning (beginning eating solids) the colour, size and smell again may change and the frequency of how often they go may change depending on your child. As long as the stools are still soft and easily passed you should not need to worry.
Another change in toileting habits may be when your child begins potty training or there is a change in circumstances at home. This is perfectly normal and once the fear of the potty is over come the child should settle back into their usual habits. Again when the circumstances surrounding change have calmed they will again settle back into usual habits.
Symptoms of constipation
There are different types of constipation babies and children can suffer with and some of the symptoms may include:
- Difficulty or a lot of straining
- Less stools being passed then what is normal for your child
- Pain when passing a stool with sometimes a tiny amount of blood
- Very hard stools that may be very large or small currants
- Tummy ache
Dealing with constipation
As some children have a fear of passing stools which can sometimes be created after passing one painful stool simple steps such as praise, reward charts, regular toileting routines, encouragement and keeping things calm and normal without pressure to go to the toilet may all help with this.
Eating lots of high fibre foods such as beans, high fibre cereals and fruit and vegetables will all make stools easier to pass. With some fussy eaters offering fruit as a pudding instead of sweet treats may encourage healthier eating choices. Also be clever with vegetables and hide them in your child’s food such as cauliflower in mashed potato.