Think of your baby’s body as the perfect, unaltered model of a human. He or she has not yet suffered the wear and tear of daily life and stress, and diseases are usually far in the future for people who will get them. Even as your baby grows into a toddler, his or her body is still functioning perfectly. For that reason, many seemingly serious ailments that adults might suffer actually heal much more quickly in a child or baby because the body is functioning so well. Of course, this is only after the immune system has fully developed after one year. One problem that many parents notice is constipation. Even while your child is still using diapers, you might wonder if his or her stool is too stiff, and you might assume laxatives are required. Like I said, a child’s body is generally very healthy, so the solution is actually in the diet.
Unlike in adults, constipation in your child is probably not caused by an internal problem. Instead, it is caused by what he or she is eating and drinking. To relieve constipation, start by improving your child’s diet so that it is healthier. Increase daily fiber intake so that each meal contains fiber. Also, increase the amount of liquids your child is drinking, and minimize dairy consumption. These modifications can relieve constipation quickly. If your child is still having difficulty passing stools, then it might be time to try a medication. However, make sure any laxative you give your child has been approved or prescribed by the pediatrician first. If diet modifications don’t improve your baby or child’s problems, there is a chance that a more serious issue is present in his or her body, so make sure you keep an eye on the changes so that treatment can be administered as soon as possible.
As your child learns to use the toilet, it will be difficult to keep track of how much stool he or she is actually producing. Even before that, our baby can’t tell you whether or not he has a bellyache, so you will need to be aware how much stool is being produced on a daily basis to actually determine whether or not constipation is an issue. If it is, the solution is often as simple as modifying the diet to include more fiber throughout every day, less dairy and more liquids.
Source: Karen Leibowitz: Pediatric Chronic Constipation. The Second Evidence-Based Pediatric Update Symposium December 2012