Does My Baby or Toddler Have Constipation?

Parents should be on the lookout for the symptoms

baby making silly face

It’s a common problem but can be hard to spot: constipation in babies or very young children.

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Lori Mahajan, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, says that up to 30 percent of children at some point in childhood will experience constipation.

Symptoms of constipation can be hard to spot, but here’s what to watch for:

Constipation often starts when kids are away from home and afraid to use the bathroom.

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  • Babies and very young children may become red-faced when pushing or straining during a bowel movement
  • Little streaks in diapers or underwear (a possible sign of stool not passing properly)
  • Lack of appetite and stomach aches
  • Bed wetting
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Excessive amounts of time on the potty 

Dr. Mahajan says constipation often starts when kids are away from home and afraid to use the bathroom.

It’s important to treat constipation sooner than later, Dr. Mahajan adds. If constipation goes on long enough, even your child’s growth and development can be affected.

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