During the infant year, it is not uncommon for babies to grunt, push, strain, exhibit facial flushing, and draw up their legs during bowel movement passage. If the BM is soft, then this is normal. Constipation is defined as a hard stool. Though the child may appear in distress, this is not reason to rush to the ER.
Guidelines for constipation:
Children under 4 months:
- Give watered down fruit juices 2 times daily (prune, grape, apricot).
- Avoid strained apples, carrots, squash, and bananas.
Children 4 months to 1 year:
- Add strained foods with high fiber content to the child’s diet.
- These include: cereals, prunes, peaches, apricots, pears, plums, peas, beans, and spinach.
Children over 1 year:
- Increase servings of raw, unpeeled fruits and veggies to 3 times daily. Include prunes, peaches, pears, figs, dates, raisins, lettuce, and cabbage.
- Increase foods high in bran, i.e., natural cereals, brain flakes and muffins, shredded wheat, graham crackers, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread.
- Increase child’s water intake.