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Un doux massage et un bain chaud peuvent aider : la constipation est désagréable, mais on peut souvent normaliser la consistance des selles avec des remèdes simples.
Vous pouvez aussi prendre des mesures préventives pour épargner à votre enfant la sensation de pression et la douleur associée à la constipation.
1 Possible causes of constipation
Statistically, babies who breastfeed tend to be less constipated than those who take replacement foods. This is because breast milk is much easier to digest. If the meal is poorly prepared or made with water with excessive calcium content, the feces can become hard.
Another possible cause is a change in diet, for example when the baby has his first porridge. Sometimes the baby is intolerant of an ingredient in the food or it is too early to introduce it.
In addition to the constipation caused by eating, the causes may be physical: tensions in the family, moving, the first few days in nursery and other stressors can affect digestion.
Also, when the child stops using diapers, this change can cause temporary constipation.
Some children hold a stool because they are busy playing or don't want to go to an unfamiliar bathroom. It can cause constipation.
If the child is in pain from the constipation, he may be afraid to go to the toilet, which is another possible reason for not being able to defecate. In this way a vicious circle is created since the next time the pain caused by constipation will return.
If the child has frequent or permanent constipation, see a doctor to rule out physical causes, such as diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism or intestinal narrowing.
Babies and toddlers cannot express what is happening to them, so it is your responsibility to detect constipation, which is not always easy.
During the first few weeks of life, the bowel must empty several times a day, a frequency that is reduced over time. However, just a day or two when the diaper is empty doesn't necessarily mean the baby is constipated - if the baby is emptying the bladder regularly and has no other symptoms, you don't have to worry.
A clear clue is hard, dry feces, but be careful because a viscous consistency can mean constipation: if hard feces are left in the intestine for too long, they can soften due to fermentation.
Other possible symptoms are gas and blood in the feces, although the latter can be caused by another disease.
If the baby has a hard tummy, it may be because of constipation. If so, he will surely express it by rolling his legs up to his stomach and crying. He may lose his appetite.
You don't have to go to the doctor every time the child is constipated. Give her plenty of fluids between meals, such as water and unsweetened tea. If you are already giving it porridge, you can add a little corn germ oil, bran or flaxseed.
Foods high in fiber, such as grapes, apples, pears or plums, help stimulate bowel activity. Depending on the age of the child, you can mash it and add it to the meal. Avoid astringent foods, such as bananas, chocolate products, and rice.
In addition, gentle massage and heat also stimulate bowel activity. Both also help to relax the tummy and relieve pain: for example, you can give your child a warm bath and then stroke his tummy with a little baby oil in a clockwise direction. .
You can also put him on his back and make circles with his legs as if he were riding a bicycle. If the child is older, encourage him or her to move around to stimulate digestion.
Go for a walk together or let him run at ease.
In addition to high fiber foods, bran, corn germ oil and plenty of fluids, lactose has also been shown to be effective in constipation. You can buy it in pharmacies, but it must be dosed carefully. You can add it to liquid or solid food, but too much can quickly cause diarrhea. Find out about the ideal amount ahead of time.
2 When should I go to the doctor?
The decision whether or not to go to the doctor depends on the severity of the constipation. If it lasts several days or your child is in pain, take him to the doctor.
He may prescribe the corresponding medication, which can be given in the form of suppositories. In addition, by analyzing symptoms and other information, he can draw better conclusions about possible causes than an inexperienced person.
In addition to the remedies prescribed by the doctor, you can also take the steps we talked about before to help your child.
3 How to prevent constipation?
Some effective measures to prevent constipation are eating a balanced diet, drinking enough fluids, and exercising a lot. The diet should preferably contain high fiber products and unsweetened drinks.
As soon as the child uses the potty or the toilet, you can encourage him to use it regularly. That way, you can prevent him from holding back the poo (on purpose or not) and getting constipated.
If the child has already developed some kind of trauma from the pain and that is why he is holding back from going to the bathroom, do not put pressure on him as the psychological stress will make the problem even worse.
Your child needs to lose the fear of going to the bathroom, and positive experiences can help.
Make the trip to the bathroom fun: sing along, tell them funny stories, or read something touching.
So he will have fun, distraction and relax. Maybe during this time he will relieve painlessly, but at least the negative association will be more moderate.