Constipation is a common problem in which a child may have fewer bowel movements (BMs or poops) than usual. It usually isn't a cause for too much concern.
Constipation can often get better with the three Fs: fluids, fiber, and fitness.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Constipation?
- fewer bowel movements than usual
- straining and pain during bowel movements
- stool (poop) that's hard, dry
- larger stools than usual
- feeling full or bloated
- belly pain
- a little blood on the toilet paper after a BM
What to Do
- Give your child plenty of water or juice. If your baby is constipated, ask the doctor about adding prune, apple, or pear juice to the daily diet.
- Increase the fiber in your child's diet. Try apples, pears, oranges, beans, oatmeal, and whole-grain breakfast cereals or breads.
- Encourage daily exercise to help your child have regular bowel movements.
- Talk to your doctor before giving your child any medicine for constipation.
Get Medical Care if Your Child Has:
- constipation lasting a week
- liquid stool in the underwear when your child isn't sick
- severe belly pain
- eating less
Skip fatty, sugary, or starchy foods, which can slow the bowels down. Choose fiber-rich foods instead.
Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: 05/30/2018