Q: Hi doctor, my young brother is one year six months. He has not been to toilet for a week now. He doesn’t show any sign of sickness. Is this normal?
A: Not having moved bowel for about a week is definitely constipation at this age. Causes of this include diet (if a child is not getting enough fruits and veggies or getting too much milk), if a child is not getting enough activity, if the child is worried about potty training and so prefers to hold it in rather than bring it out :D and dehydration (not getting enough water. Underlying medical problems may also be other causes of constipation.
To prevent constipation:
Ensure that your baby has sufficient fruits and veggies in his/her diet. From the point of weaning from exclusive breast feeding, be sure to start introducing fruits and veggies.
Stay within the recommended limits of milk for your baby’s age. Use the guide below:
• From birth till 6 months, a baby should be getting breast milk only and he should get it on demand several times a day at least 2-3 hourly
• From 6 months to 1 year, continue breast milk with other complementary feeds like fortified cereals
• From 1 year to 2 years, the child should get at least 2 cups of full cream milk. The fat is particularly important to ensure proper brain development
• From 2 years to 8 years, your child should get at least 2 1/2 – 3 cups of milk or other dairy products daily
• From 9 years till adulthood, you should get at least 3 – 4 cups of milk or dairy daily
Encourage your baby to use the potty as soon as they feel the urge to do so, but try not to pressure them, if they still feel too pressured to use the potty :D You just can’t win, right?
Getting your baby to sit in a warm water bath or rubbing the anal area with a warm wet napkin may also be helpful in getting immediate relief.
If you try the above and your baby is still constipated, you observe blood in his stool, baby develops abdominal pain etc, please be sure to see your baby’s paediatrician.
Finally, don’t be too quick to use enemas or laxatives as they may make your baby (or brother in this case :D) dependent on them for normal bowel movement.
Have great night y’all :D