Ohhhh poop. Constipation in toddlers – what to do? The foods you serve them is a good place to start!
We pretty much all know that prune juice helps, but there are other foods you can add throughout the day as well.
Before we get to the food – make sure that your little one is also drinking water throughout the day, and getting enough physical activity. Not enough water, and not enough movement can lead to constipation too. It’s not always about the food. (And it could be caused by other medical reasons – when in doubt, call the pediatrician.)
Breakfast Foods for Toddler Constipation
You can’t go wrong with oatmeal. Unless your toddler doesn’t like oatmeal, which is very possible, because they are soooo opinionated about their food. As you know. 😂
- Whole grain anything: toast, waffles, pancakes, muffins – any of these are fine, just make sure that they have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving or are made primarily with a whole grain, if you can’t get the nutrition label.
- Berries! Fruit of any kind, really. The only fruit to limit is bananas that are less ripe (fully ripened bananas are okay for constipation).
- Ground flax-almond butter-applesauce: when you’re short on prep time, this is a great go-to. Stir a teaspoon of ground flax and a tablespoon of almond butter into some applesauce.
- Spinach smoothie with pear nectar juice: This is my favorite combo for constipation, since pear nectar juice tastes WAY better than prune juice, but works just as well. This serves 2:
- 1 c pear nectar juice
- 1 c packed baby spinach
- 1/2 c frozen blueberries
- 1/2 c frozen mango
- 1 tbsp ground flax
Breakfast Foods To Limit While Constipated
Cereal is not always a bad option for constipation – you might find one that has a decent amount of fiber, which would be helpful. But, most cereals that kids like are low in fiber. And, cow’s milk doesn’t help the situation either. So I would try to avoid cereal for a day or two.
Other breakfast foods that will not help constipation:
- Pancakes: if they are made from white flour, limit them for now. Same thing goes for waffles, toast, etc. Whole grains help constipation; white flour does not.
- Muffins: same story as the pancakes. White flour = no fiber = not helpful.
- Bananas: as I mentioned above, this is the fruit to avoid during constipation, UNLESS it’s getting brown. Brownish bananas are okay for constipation!
- High-fat meat, dairy, or egg dishes: these types of foods will slow down digestion, which is not what you want when trying to make #2 happen! Limit sausage, bacon, cheesy/greasy foods.
- Most anything fried: things like hash browns that are fried will also slow down digestion.
Lunch and Dinner to Help with Constipation in Toddlers
Beans, beans, the musical fruit. (I know, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
Here are some ideas of foods to include in lunch and dinner while your toddler is constipated:
- Beans or lentils: Try this mild black bean and corn chili, paired with some whole grain crackers or toast. Or try one of the kid-friendly bean recipes in this post! You can even add beans to smoothies…they don’t add any bean-y flavor.
- Fruit: the BEST ones for constipation are peaches, pears, plums, and prunes, but feel free to go for any fruit your little one loves. (Reminder on the one exception: avoid less-ripe bananas.)
- Veggies: again, just like fruit, any veggie is better than no veggie! Sweet potatoes are often a favorite, as well as avocado.
- Chia seeds: both chia and flax are great for constipation. I like to use ground seeds to easily mix into foods without my little one detecting that they are there!
Foods to Reduce During Constipation
Okay, I think you get the picture by now! Fruits, veggies, and whole grains are helpful; meat, fried, fatty foods and excess dairy are not helpful.
But you don’t have to avoid EVERY food that is not a fruit, veggie, or whole grain.
This is just meant to help guide you in planning out the day’s meals, and to be mindful of limiting the foods that are not going to help the constipation.
You’ve been serving beans, fruit, and prune juice for days – and nothing is changing. Your toddler is plenty active and gets plenty of water. What gives?
Sometimes, constipation does require the attention of the pediatrician, especially if it’s happening frequently.
Your doctor might prescribe a laxative, and if they do – that’s okay! Some parents get freaked about using a laxative, but when used as directed by the doctor, it’s a safe and effective way to relieve constipation.
Even if you think you just want to solve it naturally – you can’t always do that. (I’m sorry!) Often times, the body really needs the power of the laxative to clear everything out.
Are you potty training?
Potty training time is NOTORIOUS for coming along with constipation problems. I recommend a call to the pediatrician – because diet is likely not going to solve this one.
It could be a number of things, but some kids are afraid or reluctant to poop on the toilet, and when they hold it in, it gets drier and harder to pass, leading to constipation.
Isn’t it fun, all the things you get to learn about poop as a parent? 😉
If you’re like, “Wait…my kid doesn’t like any of the foods that are helpful for constipation! They’re so picky!” It’s okay – there are still some small changes that can help with the immediate need of relieving constipation.
If they like pouches: look for ones that have fiber, like Go Go Squeez, for example.
If they like fruit: serve it a few times a day! Even if you have to repeat the same fruit at two meals, that’s okay.
If they like smoothies: this is the easiest way to pack in those constipation fighting foods!
If they like crunchy: try a fiber-filled snack like Harvest Snaps pea crisps.
Make sure to also download my FREE Picky Eater Starter Guide walking you the first 4 steps to take towards improving picky eating.
Did this post help you learn about the diet for constipation in toddlers??