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Foods that Help Relieve Constipation in Kids

By Dr. Bobby Garrison, Pediatric Associates

Pediatricians get numerous calls about constipation and spend a good deal of time discussing stooling at well-child visits. Constipation is defined as less than three bowel movements per week and/or hard and painful bowel movements with soiling or abdominal pain.

Signs Your Child May Be Constipated:

  • Newborns – Firm stool less than once a day
  • Older Children – Hard compact stools with 3 to 4 days between bowel movements
  • Any Age – Large, hard and dry stools associated with painful bowel movements.
  • Episodes of abdominal pain that is relieved after a larger bowel movement
  • Soiling between bowel movements

A child may become constipated for many reasons including, diet, lack of exercise, emotional issues, an underlying physical problem, or he may simply be too busy. Whatever the cause, constipation is a common problem in kids. Making a few diet and lifestyle changes can help treat and prevent constipation. Never give your child an enema, laxative or stool softener without talking to your pediatrician first.

Fiber-Rich Foods that Help Relieve Constipation

Children 1 - 4 years of age

  • Apples (cooked)
  • Applesauce
  • Broccoli (cooked)
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Carrots (cooked)
  • Hummus
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oatmeal
  • Pears (canned)
  • Peas
  • Raisins
  • Refried Beans
  • Wheat Germ
  • Whole Wheat Bread

Children 4 years old and older

Include all food on the list above but older children may have fruits and vegetables cooked or raw.

  • Almonds
  • Flax Seed
  • Oranges
  • Peanut Butter
  • Popcorn

Over-the-counter fiber gummies may help children 4 and older who are in significant pain, but they are not a good long-term substitute for fiber gained from fresh foods.

In addition to eating a diet high in fiber, encourage your child to drink more water and limit drinks with caffeine. Encourage him to be more physically active. Physical activity helps to move bowel contents through the body.

Never give your child under a year of age honey or any sort of syrup. These products can lead to botulism, a potentially paralyzing disease that may be fatal.

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About CHKD Medical Group

About CHKD Medical  Group Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters has been the region’s most trusted name in pediatric care for more than 50 years. As members of CHKD Health System, our pediatricians work closely with CHKD’s full range of pediatric specialists and surgeons. They also share a commitment to quality, excellence and child-centered care. With 18 practices in 29 locations throughout the region, a CHKD pediatrician is never far.