The staff of Panda Pediatrics, located in Washington, D.C.
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Babies commonly grunt, push, strain, draw up their legs and become flushed in the face during passage of BMs. However, these behaviors are normal as long as their stool is soft. The painful passage of hard stools is the most reliable sign of constipation in infants and in older children. These children feel a desperate urge to have a bowel movement (BM) but are unable to pass a BM after straining and pushing for more than 10 minutes.
Some children begin to retain stool in order to avoid the pain of passing a hard BM. These children may start to soil themselves as the watery stool in the upper intestines leaks around the impaction. Constipation is often due to a diet that does not include enough fiber or fluids or due to drinking or eating too many dairy products or starchy foods. It is also caused by repeatedly waiting too long to move the bowels. If constipation begins during toilet training, too much pressure may be being placed on the child. Changes in the diet frequently relieve constipation. After your child is better, be sure to keep him on a non-constipating diet so that it doesn’t happen again.
Diet treatment for infants less than 1 year of age include:
Diet treatment for infants older than 1 year of age:
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