Constipation is when your child has infrequent hard stools that are painful to pass. Newborns generally have stools 4 to 8 times a day. By the time they are 2 months old breastfed infants may pass stools as frequently as 4-6 times a day or as infrequently as once every 4-5 days; formula fed infants have stools 2-3 times a day to every other day. When your child is on solid food, stools usually pass 2-3 times a day to every other day. Occasionally with viral illnesses, when your child has a decreased appetite, stools may pass less frequently than normal.
If your child is constipated, we recommend the following treatments:
Infants under 1 year
- Give 4 ounces of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar once a day.
- Give older infants strained apricots, prunes, or peaches twice a day.
Children over 1 year
- Give fruits and vegetables (good examples include celery, lettuce, beans, raisins, peaches, pears, prunes), bran cereal, graham crackers, or oatmeal.
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of water.
- Give your child prune juice. If you mix prune juice with 7-UP, it tastes like Dr. Pepper.
- Decrease constipating foods like milk, bananas, rice, apple sauce, and cooked carrots.
- Do not overdo dairy products. More than 3 cups of milk per day can cause constipation.
Call us if your child:
- has blood in the bowel movement
- goes 3 days without a bowel movement despite trying the above treatments
- has severe cramps
- has any deep tears in the rectum that won't heal
- has any symptoms that concern you
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