Treating Constipation in Children: The 4R Approach

By January 23, 2017Constipation

Infant and baby constipation can be addressed with the 4R integrative methodWhat if your baby’s constipation reached the point that every time he felt the urge to poop you  had to “help” him by pulling him onto your lap and bicycling his legs?

What if that didn’t work and you had to relieve his bowels by hand?

That was the case with this family. They couldn’t even leave the house because he was straining 5-10 times daily.

Is Milk of Magnesia the best way to treat baby constipation?

The gastroenterologist said, “As long as he isn’t crying when he poops, I’m not concerned.” The doctor then prescribed Milk of Magnesia.

A natural way to get magnesium is to eat more green leafy veggies.

If your child is not a big green leafy veggie eater, I recommend this pretty good tasting magnesium powder that you can get in our office, at your local health food store, or on Amazon.

Many of us do not get enough magnesium and this is a great place to start to make sure you have a healthy gut.

The integrative approach worked beautifully for this 15-month-old boy. I detail the plan below the testimonial video.

Constipation is a sign of inflammation

Our little patient has been generally healthy but about a month after beginning solid foods, he developed constipation. The family ate a clean diet (virtually no processed foods), and the baby ate no gluten and very few grains.

Please remember that constipation is a sign of inflammation. If you do not uncover and remove the root cause of inflammation the body will usually show additional symptoms, which might include eczema, bumps on the back of the arms, chronic runny nose, dark circles under the eyes, and snoring. 

Because the family diet was already clean, I recommended both the baby and his breastfeeding mom avoid dairy for a trial period. As a result, we determined that dairy was the main cause of his inflammation and his constipation.

The 4R approach to gut healing

The family agreed to use the 4R approach to gut healing that we use in integrative medicine to treat constipation in both children and adults:

  1. REMOVE the foods that are causing the inflammation. In this case, it was dairy.
  2. RE-INOCULATE the gut with good healthy bacteria using fermented foods and/or a probiotic.
  3. REPLACE lacking nutrients (such as Vitamin D, omega-3 fats, and magnesium) with food and/or supplements.
  4. REPAIR the damage that has been done by continuing a clean diet and supplementation.

Of course each child’s situation is different. In this case, his mom said that now, “He goes so smoothly that sometimes we don’t know he’s gone to the bathroom.”

The 4R approach turned out to be much easier than anticipated. The whole family, including three-year-old daughter, has benefitted from the dietary changes, not to mention the ability to leave the house!

This amazing mother is also an author, check out her cookbook, What a Good Eater!: Baby and toddler recipes with healthy herbs and spices to add flavor and broaden your baby’s palate.

If you live in Charlotte, NC check out my calendar of events. I often speak on treating constipation in children, gut health and other pediatric health concerns. 

If you are outside of Charlotte but need help with your child’s constipation, sign up to learn more about our upcoming online course 7 Steps to Healthy Kids and Happy Moms!