Are you able to immediately identify the source of discomfort when your little one starts crying? Of course not! Young babies have very limited ways of communicating their feelings and desires.
Although it is adorable when they’re smiling and cooing at you, it can be downright frustrating when they are crying and you are struggling to find the secret tool to make them comfortable again.
Children suffer from various digestive1 problems which can manifest in physical discomforts such as constipation and diarrhoea, as well as behaviourally in the form of crankiness, moodiness, and fussy eating.
When babies are uncomfortable or cranky, it has a negative impact not just on them, but also on the moms’ well being!
Let’s take a closer look at what causes constipation and how you can help your child overcome it.
How to tell if your child is suffering from constipation?
It is difficult to find the exact cause of discomfort – could it be constipation in children?
If you notice, there are always some tell-tale signs that your little one is suffering from constipation. For example, if your child has fewer than three bowel movements in a week, has difficulty passing stools or has larger-than-average sized stools, they may be suffering from constipation2.
As food passes through the digestive tract, the body begins to break it down in order to be able to absorb water and nutrients from it. After it gets chewed in the mouth, the food travels down to the stomach via the oesophagus. From there it makes its way into the small intestine, where the partially digested food matter gets further broken down and travels down into the large intestine or the colon. One of the main functions of the colon is to absorb water from the remaining indigestible food matter while forming stool (waste materials). However, if too much water gets absorbed (more than desired), it results in hard stools and constipation.
Constipation in children can be quite distressing for the child as well as the parents
Various factors could cause constipation in your child. Young children who are beginning to wean may suffer from constipation due to changes in their diet. The shift from a pure liquid diet to one that includes solids is new information for your little one’s stomach!
Additionally, an inadequate amount of roughage in the diet can also lead to constipation. Roughage, which comes in the form of dietary fibres such as oligosaccharides, retains water and give the stools a soft and bulky form.
How to ease constipation in children and improve their digestion
The key to improving your child’s digestion lies in their diet. In order to grow up happy and healthy, children need a diet that includes the right mix of nutrients including Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Zinc and DHA.
I know what you’re thinking moms: We already know all that!
But do you also know what else your child needs in addition to these nutrients?
You may not have heard of it yet moms, but prebiotics are essential to ensure good digestion for your child.
What are prebiotics and how do they ease constipation in children?
Essentially, prebiotics are dietary fibres that are not digested by the human body but help in making the stool softer and bulkier. Prebiotics help grow the good bacteria in your child’s intestines and thus work to make your child’s digestive system healthier.
Illustration of how prebiotic GOS/IcFOS (9:1) works to help make the stool softer and bulkier.
1Pediatric GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease). Retrieved on 20 October 2017 from https://www.entnet.org/content/pediatric-gerd-gastro-esophageal-reflux-disease
2Constipation in children: Symptoms and causes. Retrieved on 20 October 2017 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation-in-children/symptoms-causes/dxc-20235978
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore