It’s sometimes difficult if your child has constipation. Because there’s such a wide range of normal when it comes to pooping. Some kids will poop three times a day, some kids will poop once a week.
Constipation really means that your child has hard poop that is difficult and painful to pass. It’s uncommon for babies who are exclusively breastfed to have constipation. Babies who are exclusively breastfed can actually poop once every two weeks. Every time I tell this to parents, they’re so surprised because they imagine themselves not passing stool for two weeks and they start to panic. This is completely normal for a child as long as they are feeding well, not vomiting, urinating well and their stool comes out soft when they actually do have it. This is not constipation.
Now, if your child actually does have hard, painful poops and is constipated, what can you do to help them? If your child is under the age of 6 months of age and is not eating solids yet, you can actually give your child a little bit of water or prune or pear juice to help with the constipation.
If your child is eating solids, you can make a few dietary changes to help your child’s stooling pattern. An easy rule of thumb is increase the amount of fruits that have pits in them, so give them more prunes, peaches, mangos, nectarines. I would also avoid bananas and starchy foods like white rice and white bread.
If these dietary changes don’t help, then you can talk to your child’s doctor about starting over the counter or prescriptions medicines to help your child. There is no reason for your child to suffer from constipation. We can fix this with dietary changes and with medication.