Babies who are breastfed usually do not experience constipation. Bottle-fed infants often do. If you are worried your baby is constipated, contact your baby’s doctor. Dietary changes that may help relieve constipation in infants include:
1. Offer 1 - 2 ounces of apple or prune juice from the bottle or by spoon.
2. Babies who have advanced to solids may be offered more fruits and vegetables or small amounts of bran sprinkled on top of cereal (about 1 teaspoon).
3. Babies up to age 6 months should receive most of their fluids from breast milk or formula.
The diets of older babies and toddlers should start to reflect the recommendations of the
Offer fruits and vegetables with chunkier textures as opposed to strained. Begin to offer more whole grain breads and cereals as your child begins to tolerate a wider variety of foods. Be sure your child is drinking adequate amounts of fluid -- pay attention to this as formula or breast milk feedings decrease.
CHILDREN AND TEENS
The food guide plate is an excellent guide for choosing an appropriate diet. Choose whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Prunes, prune juice, and bran cereals can help.
Adequate fluid intake (8 - 10 cups a day) is also important in preventing constipation. Fluid requirements vary for children based on their size, activity level, and air temperature. To ensure adequate fluids, offer water more frequently during exercise and in warm temperatures.
A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is very effective in treating and preventing constipation. As mentioned above, adequate water intake is as crucial as exercise. Exercise helps stools move through the intestines. A healthy diet and adequate activity is especially important for the elderly, for whom constipation is very common.
Contact your doctor if constipation occurs frequently or lasts longer than 1 or 2 days.
Review Date: 06/14/2011
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by Jennifer K. Mannheim, ARNP, Medical Staff, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children's Hospital; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California (7/28/2010).