Are you looking for natural laxatives for kids with constipation?
In this comprehensive blog post, we unveil the power of natural laxatives for kids, providing gentle and holistic approaches to relieve hard and painful stools.
Here, you’ll discover a treasure trove of natural remedies and foods that actively promote healthy bowel movements in children.
From incorporating fibre-rich foods to implementing hydration strategies, we’ll explore tried-and-true methods supported by expert advice.
Bid farewell to discomfort as you embrace a natural path towards regularity for your little one. Unlock the secrets of natural laxatives for constipation relief and actively restore their digestive wellness.
Signs of constipation in kids
Recognising the signs of constipation in kids is vital for proactive parental intervention.
Watch out for key indicators such as:
- infrequent or painful bowel movements
- hard or dry stools
- Soiling on underwear
- With complaints of tummy pain or discomfort.
Children may also show changes in their mood like irritability or reduced appetite when constipated.
By staying vigilant for these telltale signs, you can address constipation early and help them find relief using natural laxatives that are based on everyday foods.
Keep a close eye on your child’s bowel habits and take action promptly if you notice any of these symptoms.
Causes of constipation in kids
Several factors can contribute to constipation in kids.
Common causes include:
- Picky Eating: When children eat a limited variety of foods or not enough solid foods, it can increase the risk of constipation in kids.
- Lack of Fibre: When children don’t eat enough fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it can slow down bowel movements and contribute to constipation.
- Poor Muscle Tone: Weakness in the muscles responsible for proper bowel movements can hinder bowel regularity.
- Inadequate Fluid Intake: Not drinking enough fluids, especially water, can result in hardening of stools and difficulty passing soft regular stools.
- Not Enough Daily Exercise/Movement: A sedentary lifestyle without enough physical activity can affect bowel movements and contribute to constipation. Not many parents realise that activity is a free natural laxative for kids!
- Holding It In Some children may intentionally withhold bowel movements, often due to fear or discomfort, leading to constipation.
- Medications like iron supplements can increase the chance of constipation
- Undiagnosed IBS: Some children may have undiagnosed Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition that can present constipation as one of its symptoms.
- Non-IgE Mediated CMPA in Infants: In some cases, constipation can be one of the symptoms of non-IgE mediated Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) in infants.
By actively addressing these potential causes and making necessary lifestyle changes, parents can play an essential role in alleviating constipation in their children and promoting healthy digestion.
Foods containing natural laxatives for kids
If your doctor has prescribed laxatives to treat your child’s constipation you may choose not to rely on these as the long-term solution.
It’s always recommended to try to address the underlying causes of constipation, especially any that are easily fixed using nutrition and lifestyle advice.
Keep reading to find out examples of home remedies for constipation in kids that are based on natural laxatives from food.
Steps to constipation relief using natural laxatives for kids
In this section, we’ll explore the quickest way to relieve a kid’s constipation with real foods. With these home constipation remedies, you’ll have plenty of ideas to tackle hard and painful stools.
How to make a kid poop fast home remedies
Increase fibre – Boost your child’s fibre intake by adding more whole grains, fruits (at-home remedies for constipation include prunes and pears), and vegetables to their diet. These foods help soften stools and help their bowels move regularly.
Encourage water – Make sure your little one drinks plenty of water throughout the day. Good fluid intake is one of the secret ingredients for a happy tummy and should be included as part of any at-home remedies for constipation. For further tips, see 7 Ways To Get Your Toddler To Drink Water.
Promote Physical Activity – Encourage some daily playtime. Think of it as a fun way to relieve constipation. Movement stimulates the digestive system and can play an important role in preventing chronic constipation in children.
Establish a Routine – Help your child establish a regular bathroom schedule. Encourage them to use the toilet at the same time each day, either before or after meals, so toileting becomes part of their routine.
Try Probiotics – Probiotics can be an inexpensive and ‘low-risk’ approach to improving your child’s overall gut health. If you decide to try a probiotic, give a well-researched brand and strain for at least four weeks. Learn more in this masterclass: Probiotics for Thriving Kids.
Improve Sleep – Make sure your child gets sufficient sleep, as rest is crucial for overall gut health, including proper digestion.
Perform Abdominal Massage – Gently massage your child’s abdomen in a clockwise direction to stimulate the digestive tract and relieve constipation.
The above are great home remedies for constipation that you can adopt as part of your child’s healthy eating plan to prevent long-term constipation.
Natural Laxatives For Kids Using Foods that help relieve constipation in kids
See below for a list of some of the best foods for constipated kids.
Include nuts & seeds – nuts and seeds are another delicious fibre-rich food that can help add bulk to stools whilst improving transit time for toddler constipation. Use it in baking or as a tasty after-school snack for school-aged children.
Encourage prebiotic foods – prebiotic foods are rich in fibre that feeds the good bacteria in the gut to encourage microbiome diversity. Foods that contain prebiotics are bananas, chickpeas, lentils, onions and leeks, oats, and some wholegrains (including wheat and rye) to list a few.
Prune Power – Prune juice is one of nature’s own plumbers and one of the most popular child constipation remedies for quick relief. As a natural laxative, you can serve it in small quantities to soften stools effectively. However, this is a source of ‘free sugars’ so use it sparingly. Try not to rely on this as the main home remedy for constipation as a high-sugar diet isn’t great for children’s teeth.
Use Ground Flaxseeds – Sprinkle ground flaxseeds on cereal or mix them into yoghurt. They provide a good source of fibre, aiding in regularity.
Yoghurt with live cultures – Dairy products like yoghurt can be a useful source of calcium and protein in children’s diets. There’s no evidence that cutting out dairy products will provide constipation relief for kids. Yoghurt with live cultures can be used to support a healthy gut and normal digestive health. So unless your child has been diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy, there’s no need to avoid dairy products.
Opt for Wholegrain Cereals – Choose high-fibre whole wheat pasta, bread and whole grain breakfast cereals, checking labels for fibre content. You can learn more about screening breakfast cereals here so that you choose the right brands for constipation relief for children.
Sorbitol Rich Foods – Incorporate fruits like apples, pears, peaches and cherries into their diet for kid’s constipation relief. These fruits contain sorbitol, a natural sugar alcohol that acts like mild natural laxatives for kids.
Give Kiwifruit – Kiwi is an excellent at-home remedy for constipation. Try chopping up a kiwifruit and offer it with their breakfast porridge. The natural laxative effect of kiwifruit documented in randomised controlled trials (see review by Eltorki et al, 2022), is linked to its high fibre and water-holding capacity, as well as an enzyme called actinidin which may improve gut motility.
Are probiotics good for constipated kids?
Probiotics can be a useful, natural and relatively inexpensive therapy to manage constipation in children. Whilst on its own it may not be sufficient to ‘cure’ constipation, it can improve symptoms such as IBS-related bloating or abdominal pain.
Not all probiotics are the same and many probiotic products are not regulated. For this reason, choose strains that have been studied in children and shown to help relieve symptoms of constipation in children.
For more information on recommended probiotics in children, see my Masterclass: Probiotics for Thriving Kids.
How can I soften my kid’s stool naturally?
Fibre-rich foods are a key nutrient lacking in many children’s diets.
It is abundant in most fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains, nuts, seeds, pulses and other plant foods.
Fibre is an excellent nutrient that can soften stools naturally so encourage your child to eat a good variety of fibre-rich foods every day.
How much fibre do children need per day to prevent constipation?
The recommendations for how much fibre children should eat per day are outlined in the SACN 2015 Carbohydrates and Health report.
There is also evidence to show that good fibre intake has a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels and colorectal function.
There are no set fibre requirements for babies and children under two years of age. Instead, read, Is Constipation In Babies Afer Solids Normal?
However, from the age of six months, you can encourage your baby to eat a variety of whole grains, pulses, fruit and vegetables.
When considering a home remedy for toddlers and older children, the first step is to consider whether they are achieving their daily targets for fibre.
Table 1.0 Fibre requirements per age
|Age (years)||Fibre requirements per age|
Using the table above, you can calculate that a seven-year-old would require roughly 20g of fibre per day. Depending on the age of your child, their fibre requirements will differ and increase with age.
Foods to avoid for quick relief of kids’ constipation
While we’re discussing remedies, it’s just as important to know what to steer clear of.
If your little one is dealing with constipation, then one of the foods to watch out for is bran.
Bran cereals and muffins might seem like a good source of fibre and a constipation quick relief.
The truth is, that bran is best limited.
The high fibre content in bran can actually make constipation worse for some kids.
It’s always a good idea to carefully balance their fibre intake with fluids and daily exercise.
You can make sure that they get enough fibre without overloading them on high-fibre foods like bran-based products.
High sugar and low fibre snacks
Did you know that children’s snacks in supermarkets are not only high in sugar but are also low in fibre?
If you are looking for snacks that can be used as home remedies for constipation, focus on plant foods. Get more ideas in Ten Healthy Snacks For Kids That are Quick and Easy.
Bottomline on natural laxatives for kids
As we wrap up our journey into natural laxatives for kids, we’ve unveiled a treasure chest of gentle solutions. From fibre-rich foods to hydration and active playtime, these natural remedies can help relieve the discomfort of constipation.
Remember to recognise constipation signs early and consider dietary factors. More importantly, keep an eye out for excessive bran, as too much fibre may worsen the situation. If constipation persists, consult a healthcare expert for guidance. Embrace these natural approaches for relieving constipation in kids using natural laxatives from everyday foods.
Moreover, if you’re feeling concerned about your child’s bowel movements, don’t hesitate to reach out to a registered pediatric dietitian. Additionally, my Happy Belly Programme can also provide valuable assistance in managing your child’s constipation.
The Happy Belly Club is a comprehensive programme for infants and older children’s digestive health. The programme can help you identify and manage simple constipation, paediatric IBS-type constipation, diarrhoea and other tummy troubles.
Book a discovery call today to get the support you need.