Reviewed by Sheila Kilbane, MD
I am not sure I’ll ever forget the televised image of Jon from the TLC show “Jon and Kate Plus 8” where Jon proved his Super Dad status: he pulled poop from his constipated child’s behind, in the vehicle, while the family was out shopping. Awesome stuff.
Although I have recently turned to a bunch of natural home remedies for constipation myself, I’ve been lucky enough not to have constipated toddlers or young children, but I know a lot of families struggle with this issue.
I interviewed Dr Sheila Kilbane, MD and we talked about what the root causes of constipation are, and what you are able to do to help kids overcome it.
Dr. Kilbane’s amazing course will help you do “root cause” detective work with your kids and figure out how to systematically get them through “common childhood illnesses” like constipation, asthma, bedwetting, recurrent ear infections, eczema and other skin rashes. Find out more here.
I also turned to the awesome Facebook community at KS with the question: what’s the best way to help constipated toddlers?
Here is an incredible collection from real parents of how they’ve helped relieve constipation in their little ones with (mostly) natural home remedies:
Foods Helpful for Toddler Constipation
- Drink more water (no sugary beverages)
- Coconut Oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) l (add 1-2 tsp. to a smoothie, oatmeal or toast, drink coconut water)
- Eat real fruits and vegetables (pears, peaches, blueberries, kiwi, dandelion greens, chickweed, real sourdough, kefir, pineapple)
- Juices (plum juice which is less harsh compared to prune, fresh squeezed orange juice, kraut juice, pickle juice, pineapple juice, white grape juice)
- Aloe juice – 1 tsp. with water daily
- Coffee (many people say a few sips is all it takes)
- Cooked steel cut oats (add fruits to flavor)
- Black Strap Molasses (add 1 Tbs. to warm water daily)
- Fermented foods with every meal to have good gut health
- Ground flax in yogurt or smoothie
- Drinking raw milk
- Popcorn (as an unexpected food – helps to move things along)
Constipation Supplements Helpful for Children
- Magnesium Supplements
- Probiotics (GutPro probiotics, Garden of Life RAW probiotic powder, vary brands and strains, Miessence Powdered Probiotic)
- Magnesium Uses (Natural Calm Magnesium Citrate, magnesium lotion, “Ease” magnesium spray – put on bottom of feet before bed)
- Natural Vitality Natural Calm (Magnesium Gluten Free and Vegan)
- Gripe Water or Colic Calm
- Wellements Baby Move
- Fiber Gummies
- Smooth Move Tea
- Liquid Herbs
- Castor Oil Packs
Note: As always, this is a great time to remind you that I have no credentials other than “Dr. Mom,” certified only by my four children. I can’t vouch for the safety or efficacy of any of these remedies; they’re just suggestions from the community. Use at your own risk after doing your own follow-up research, please.
Other Ideas for that Poor Constipated Little One
- Lots of exercise (Rebounding, a fancy word for jumping around on a trampoline, is a way to get the lymphatic system moving which apparently also gets the bowels moving quite efficiently. This is the tramp we have at home)
- Good gut health
- Provide a step stool to allow for “squatting position” (or the official “Squatty Potty“)
- Figure out food sensitivities (dairy, gluten, etc.) and eliminate those problem foods
- Nursing Moms – note what you have changed in your own diet that could be affecting baby
- Chiropractic Care – time for an adjustment?
- “It’s No Accident” – book and Facebook group with great ideas, the link also has a children’s book version
- Buy a ‘special’ water bottle of their very own to encourage drinking
- Epsom Salt baths (1 cup Espom salt added to bath water)
- Cut out sugar and sugary beverages
- Watch their diet (are they becoming redundant eaters?)
- Homeopathic Remedy (Nux Vomica)
- I love you belly rubs (I’m guessing this is just a fun way of saying you’ll give them a belly massage – I am pretty sure a rainbow arc from left to right as you’re facing the child and then a swipe in the same direction across the bottom is the proper direction to assist the colon, but again, you may want to seek further advice on the best way to do the belly rub)
- Avoid dry snacks (crunchy grain-based stuff!)
- Veriditas Botanicals – Digestive Massage Tonic (for cramping relief)
And finally, definitely check out my other post on naturally relieving constipation in people of all ages and note the “poop early, poop often” section at the end.
I’m thinking that for little ones in particular, making time and space for a good bowel movement first thing in the morning is a really important tip. I always try to get my little 2yo on the potty first thing and then (when I’m smart) again after breakfast. I’m usually not quick enough though, and then I have to change a poopy diaper!
I HOPE no one needs this post! But unfortunately I know many toddlers suffer from constipation – if I had to guess, I’d say their guts weren’t ready for grains yet and they’re rebelling, but each human body is so different, I’m sure there’s not just one answer for everyone.