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Nurturing happy tummies: Navigating childhood constipation

Dietary adjustments and supplements can often help with this common problem

Parenthood is a journey filled with joy, but it also comes with its share of concerns, especially when it comes to the health of our little ones. One common issue that can cause distress for both parents and children is childhood constipation.

While not a pleasant topic, it is an important one to consider. Even breastfed babies can experience discomfort, leaving parents searching for solutions.

Nancy’s Nifty Nook carries a wide array of supplements and high-quality probiotics to help combat childhood constipation.

Causes of Childhood Constipation

Childhood constipation can arise from various factors, and parents need to be aware of them.

Poor maternal diet, whether during breastfeeding or formula feeding, can contribute to constipation in infants. A lack of friendly flora in the gut, stress, inadequate exercise and insufficient fluid intake can also play a role. However, the most prevalent culprit is often dietary choices, including common allergens such as wheat, dairy, tomatoes and citrus fruits.

Dietary Adjustments

To address childhood constipation, it is important to evaluate and modify the child's diet.

Eliminating milk and other dairy products has been shown to cure constipation in about 70 per cent of cases. A diet low in fibre and high in sugar can also contribute to constipation, emphasizing the importance of incorporating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains (after the age of one), and legumes into a child's diet. Adding ground flaxseed or psyllium to meals can increase stool moisture, making them easier to pass.

Breastfeeding Considerations

For breastfeeding mothers, ensuring a nutrient-rich diet is key.

Foods high in Vitamin C, magnesium, and Folic acid can help prevent constipation in both mother and child. Staying hydrated and consuming plenty of vegetables is also recommended. If the baby is old enough, diluted prune juice can be introduced as a natural remedy.

Probiotics for Gut Health

Many infants may experience constipation due to a flora imbalance in their guts. Store owner Nancy Young recommends introducing a high-quality probiotic, preferably one stored in the fridge, which can aid in restoring this balance. Probiotics can be especially beneficial if the child has been exposed to antibiotics, as these medications can disrupt the natural gut flora.

It is advisable to use antibiotics cautiously and, if necessary, accompany their use with probiotics during and after the course.

Recommended Products

Renew Life suggests Flora Baby and Flora Bear, which are used by Sick Kids Hospital and many hospitals across Canada.

Progressive and New Roots also carry high quality probiotics for toddlers and young children.

Stop by the store and ask store owner Nancy Young to show you the variety of products available.

Professional Advice

If the constipation persists despite dietary adjustments and probiotic use, seeking professional advice can be beneficial. Stool samples can be analyzed to rule out issues such as blood in the stool or parasites like pinworms or roundworms. Timely intervention and diagnosis can prevent further discomfort for the child.

Childhood constipation is a common concern that can be effectively managed through a combination of dietary adjustments, breastfeeding considerations, and the use of high-quality probiotics. By understanding the causes and implementing these practical tips, parents can nurture happy tummies, ensuring a healthier and more comfortable journey for their little ones.

Young shares a helpful tip from a young mom who had a very constipated baby and booked an appointment at Sick Kids Hospital. “She put her child on a good probiotic and had an appointment with her chiropractor. As result, she was able to cancel her hospital appointment. I have told many moms about this, and it is less invasive and seems to work well. Always remember to only buy probiotics that are stored in the fridge. They are live bacteria and will not be as effective if left on the shelf.”

Always consult with a medical professional when introducing supplements or vitamins, especially with a prescribed medication.

Stop by Nancy’s Nifty Nook located at 152 Holland Street E. and explore the many product options that can help address constipation in children.