Home Remedies for Kid Constipation

kid constipation at home remedies

When you think of constipation, the thought of a child having trouble going to the bathroom is probably not the first image to pop into your head. However, not every kid has it easy in the bowel movement department. Luckily, there are home remedies for kid’s constipation that doesn’t require a trip to their pediatrician.

What is Constipation?

Constipation means that your bowel movements become difficult to pass or less frequent [1]. The normal time between bowel movements is different for every person. Some individuals experience a bowel movement three times per day, while others only have two or one. If you go for longer than three days without a bowel movement, you’re heading into choppy waters. Stools then become harder and more difficult to pass.

Newborns younger than 2 weeks should have at least one or two bowel movements every day. When babies turn 2 weeks or older, they can go two days without having a bowel movement. A well-fed baby can also comfortably go longer than two days without passing stool. For example, breastfeeding babies are more likely to produce frequent stools. However, changes to diet (such as going from breast milk to formula) can lead to constipation, especially the earlier in their life that the transition takes place.

As babies grow older, the number of bowel movements they have each day decreases. The size of their stool increases in size. It could be normal for children aged 3 or 4 to have as many as three bowel movements per day or as few as three in one week.

Causes and Symptoms in Kids [2]

Some causes for kid constipation stems from taking a certain medication to simply not drinking enough liquids. In the heat of playtime, a child may ignore the need to have a bowel movement and not take the time needed to produce a stool. Children also become reluctant to use the bathroom, which can cause constipation. This may happen when changes in an environment take place – like going on a long airplane ride to grandma’s house.

The introduction of different kinds of adult foods can disrupt the normal diet of a child. Drinking too much cow’s milk can cause constipation in kids. Other changes in a daily routine can lead to constipation, such as the first day of school or a new baby in the household. A child may also experience a chronic case of constipation, which may involve the following:

• A crack (fissure) around the anus – makes bowel movements painful
• Brief illnesses that upset normal bowel habits
• Poor food intake and low activity during a sickness
• Emotional problems or toilet training problems

Symptoms of constipation in children include cramping, pain, straining to pass stools, nausea, bloating, and small amounts of bright red blood on the stool. All symptoms disappear after addressing the constipation issue.

Kid Constipation Home Remedies

It is common for a child to become constipated many times in their short life. The problem typically does not last long or cause any long-term complications. Treating your child without the help of a doctor or over-the-counter drugs is quite easy. Usually, this involves an increase in the amount of fiber in their diet. A few home remedies for kid constipation includes:

a) Karo Syrup:

Add one teaspoon of Karo syrup to 6 to 8 ounces of formula to treat constipation in an infant. The syrup helps draw water into the bowel and loosens the stool.

b) Bran Muffins:

Start your child’s day off with a bran muffin packed with fiber. To make the muffin more appealing, bake from scratch with added raisins, small chocolate chips, banana, or pieces of carob.

c) Raw Vegetables:

Replace processed baked goods with the color and crunch of a raw vegetable plate with ranch dip to increase your child’s intake of fiber.

d) Make Veggies Fun:

Children are usually picky eaters when it comes to vegetables. Cauliflower and broccoli are high in fiber and often dismissed by little ones. To camouflage the veggies they detest, try cutting them in different shapes. Make a game out of the broccoli by calling the florets something like small trees.

e) Pureed Vegetables:

Some parents will puree certain vegetables and hide in them in the foods their children usually eat, such as meatloaf, pasta sauces, and homemade bread. A popular recipe is zucchini bread.

f) Soaked Fruits:

Place dried prunes, figs or dried apples in a cup of hot water for ten minutes to soak. Before bedtime, feed your child the fruit and by morning, the majority of kids will experience a bowel movement.

g) Not all Fruits are Helpful:

Not all fruits will give your child relief from constipation. For example, bananas and applesauce tend to promote constipation, while apples, peaches and pears are more helpful in coaxing out a stool.

h) Water:

It is important for your child to drink plenty of water in an effort to get things moving in the right direction.

i) Low-Sugar Fruit Juices:

Children that consume fruit juices with low sugar content can take advantage of their natural laxative properties.

j) Exercise:

When children stay active, they are less likely to experience constipation because their digestive system and bowels are kept in high gear.

k) Rectal Thermometer:

You can use a rectal thermometer thoroughly lubricated with petroleum jelly to encourage a bowel movement. Gently stick the thermometer into the rectum no farther than 1 ½ inches, and then pull it out.

l) Avoid Certain Foods:

If a child is prone to constipation, it is suggested to limit their intake of certain foods, such as cheese, bananas, applesauce, white grains, refined products, and an overload of yogurt.

m) Whole Grains:

Whole grains encourage a child to pass a stool better than processed, white and refined foods. Be careful when feeding your kid brown bread, as not all selections are considered a whole grain product.

n) Beware of Toilet Training:

Children facing the sometimes frustrating and scary world of potty training may experience constipation for many different reasons. Their reluctance to pass a stool may come from anxiety. Try giving some of the control of the situation to your child so that they are less likely to rebel against your training methods. When training, don’t judge or place undue emphasis on potty training, and your child should feel more relaxed to have bowel movements.

o) Coffee Enema:

Under extreme circumstances, a child may benefit from a weak coffee enema. To prepare, make two cups of organic coffee and let cool. Fill an enema bag with the coffee solution, and follow the directions for giving someone an enema. The home remedy for kid constipation is only suggested for children over the age of seven. After administering one enema, ask your child to rest, and usually, the need to use the bathroom arises after a few minutes.

p) Trail Mix:

A trail mix with unsalted nuts and dried fruit makes a decent snack filled with fiber.

q) Popcorn:

Hot-air popped pop corn is not only a nice treat for a child, but also adds fiber to their diet.

r) Prunes:

Children who eat prunes or dried plums will get over their constipation quicker. A recommended serving is 3 to 4 prunes for younger eaters.

s) Prune Juice:

Young kids, toddlers, and especially babies sometimes benefit more from drinking prune juice instead of eating prunes. Offer a ¼ of a cup or administer a few spoonfuls to young children[3].

t) Encourage Salads:

Dress a bowl of kale, mustard greens, and lettuce with crunchy croutons and grated Parmesan cheese to encourage kids to eat salads that can help with constipation.

u) Cooked Green Vegetables:

Introduce cooked greens, such as spinach and collard greens, to the dinner plate of children at an early age to combat future constipation.

v) Aim for Food with Peels:

Foods that have peels (like apples, tomatoes, and grapes) can help fight a case of kid constipation. Offer these foods to kids with the peel to increase their intake of fiber.


[1] http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/digestive-diseases-constipation
[2] http://children.webmd.com/tc/constipation-age-11-and-younger-topic-overview

[3] http://www.livestrong.com/article/512682-recommended-serving-of-prunes-for-constipation/