Pint-sized constipation is not a pint-sized problem. Nothing in my years of parenting have given me more anxiety than seeing my kid in agony from severe constipation.
Here is the course of action that gave us hope and, more importantly, relief.
(These tips are geared toward kids, but they’re great for adults, too.)
Game Plan for Kiddie Constipation:
- Consistent Potty Time
- Coconut oil
- Massage + Oils
Consistent Potty Time
Make sure your child is having consistent time on the toilet to help him create a routine. Pick a time of day that works best and make it Toilet Time. Get some music, books, whatever it takes, and sit ‘er down.
Also, discourage your child from holding it when he has to go. Some kids just hate to take the time to stop life to go to the bathroom!
Even though many kids are constantly moving, they need exercise. Make sure your child is getting at least 15 minutes of daily exercise. If they’re not in organized sports every day, or on days when they’re not, get them outside, running around or biking. Do hop scotch, jump rope, make snow angels, stomp through crunchy leaves or puddles. Go for a walk as a family.
Increase water intake. If Junior’s colon isn’t moist, all that dry poo isn’t going to be able to move. In our family, we each have our own water bottles and try to drink half our body weight in ounces. So, my 48 pound daughter tries to drink about 24 ounces of water daily.
Probiotics are ESSENTIAL for gut health. Whether you choose a supplement or fermented food and drink, the health benefits of making probiotics a consistent part of your child’s diet will build a foundation for life. If your child has had to take antibiotics, then they are even more crucial.
Yeah, you can ask your doctor to to run a Red Blood Cell Magnesium test on your kid, but our doctor and figure that most people have low magnesium. Besides, if my kids get too much magnesium intake, we’ll figure it out pretty quickly when they’re trying not to poop their pants.
My kids take 1 heaping teaspoon of magnesium powder in a glass of water with a splash of orange juice, plus a few drops of Stevia, the contents of 1 probiotic capsule, and their daily dose of Vitamin D3 drops. This cocktail has been really, really, really helpful for my kid with constipation issues. In fact, she CRAVES it.
Yeah, I know, there’s a big fat debate on fiber. Do what works for you or your kid, but most people can use the extra veggies. Our list includes raw veggies, nuts, raisins, prunes, and popcorn with lots of butter and real salt.
Also, introducing a ton of fiber at once may not be wise. Start slow.
Coconut Oil: Lube Things Up
Coconut oil can help get things moving. It also has numerous gut health benefits, so if your kid has gut health issues at the root of his or her constipation issues, it’s a win-win.
Chiropractic adjustments were HUGE for my daughter. It is uncanny how I can always tell if her spine is out of alignment because she stops going. Within hours of an adjustment, she will have a bowel movement.
Abdominal Massage with Essential Oils
Abdominal massage was recommended to us by our chiropractor. Despite my daughter’s extreme ticklishness at first, it came to be a source of deep comfort and help. It did get things moving, although it took time and consistency to work.
How we do it:
- Using an essential oil blend of ginger, anise, fennel, peppermint, tarragon, lemongrass, patchouli, and juniper, mixed with a carrier oil (usually coconut), I have her lay on the couch or my bed with her abdomen exposed.
- Starting at the top left (her right) of her abdomen, just below her rib cage, I work gently using circular motions, moving in a circle toward the right, then down below her belly button. I’m sure to use the “flat” of my fingertips, not pointy-style. I go round and round in a large circle, using a smaller circular motions.
- When I get to “6 o’clock” just below her belly button, I make sure, as our chiropractor suggested, to work on the area downward a little bit, since that is where the colon goes down toward her rectum. This is all on her abdomen, but it makes sense to work on that area. (I’ve also heard you’re supposed to stop over the iliac crest since poop can get caught there.)
- Then I go back up toward the left then top.
- At first we only did about 5 minutes, but we worked up to about 15 minutes a session. Mostly, we did this once a day before bedtime, but when things were really bad, we did it twice a day.
Ah, smoothies! You can hide a myriad of things in smoothies! Coconut oil, beets, blueberries, psyllium, magnesium, psyllium (mix it in just before) and more. Some people like to make up baggies of ingredients, but I liked to make a whole batch, then freeze it in Dixie cups.
Please, please, please, stop and do your research before using things like Miralax.
Miralax, which is polyethylene glycol or PEG for short, did a number on my kid, causing irregular heart rate, fast heart rate, chest tightness, and anxiety.
WebMD and other sites note that PEG has been associated with irregular/abnormal heart rate including extra heart beats and premature ventricular contractions. You can also read some excellent research here:
There is a Miralax Yahoo Group geared toward the discussion of issues and side effects related to the use of Miralax or other similar products. In that group, I found a lot of other parents and individuals concerned about the side effects PEG caused in their children or themselves. I also found comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone in my intuition, and I found information that gave me the knowledge to back it up.