How can I tell if my child has constipation

A constipated child can also have painful bowel movements or cramping abdominal pain. There is a wide difference in the firmness and frequency of stools among normal children. Breastfed babies may have a "poo" after each feed or one every seven to 10 days. At the other extreme, they may have up to eight bowel movements a day. Infants who are fed only with breast milk seldom have constipation. Bottle-fed babies and older children will usually have a "poo" once every two to three days.

Constipation in children: a common problem, but easy to control

You only need to worry about the firmness or frequency of your child’s poo if it seems to be causing a problem. Infants and newborns with constipation need to be carefully examined by a doctor. Constipation is quite common in children. "But with a good diet, improved bowel habits and right use of medication, constipation can be controlled," says doctors from the Department of Neonatal and Development Medicine at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.​​​

Food that helps with constipation

Read food labels to pick the food highest in fibre. Fruit and vegetables, especially if raw and unpeeled, are good sources of fibre. These include beans, sweet potatoes, peas and raw tomatoes. It is also important your child drinks enough fluid every day. Good choices of fluids include apple and prune juices. Switching older children to soy milk can also help.

Ref: U11