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Ask the Pediatrician

Dr. Jennifer Shu and her team of pediatricians answer your health questions.

Dr. Jennifer Shu

Question & Answer

Question

What are the best foods to relieve constipation in a 7 year old child? She already eats peaches and pears without much effect.

Answer

By: Dan Brennan, MD, CLC, FAAP

Having hard or infrequent bowel movements is a common and frustrating condition for many children and their parents. The goods news is that constipation can often be improved by making some simple dietary changes, such as increasing fluid and fiber intake.

Drinking more liquids can help bowel movements become softer and easier to pass. Start first with increasing water intake and then consider adding juices such apple, pear, grape and prune.

Offer more servings of high fiber fruits and vegetables. Consider peas, broccoli, beans, edamame, leafy greens, corn, apricots, peaches, pears, figs, dates and prunes. 

Whole grain foods such as bran flakes, bran muffins, shredded wheat, flax seed, wheat germ and whole wheat bread can also help add fiber and soften up stools.

Children who consume large quantities of dairy products, including milk and cheese, may be more prone to constipation. Consider limiting dairy servings to no more than three per day.

With a few dietary modifications, you can get things moving again.

For more information from Dr. Brennan, click here.