Su Laurent brings us handy hints and tips to make life easier, such as how to deal with constipation in children.
Read the full transcript »
Eils Hewitt: Many parents spend a lot of time talking about poo, the color of it, the texture and the smell. But what happens if your child is constipated, it’s a little embarrassing but it’s important to find out what the problem is. With me in the studio is Dr. Su Laurent, consultant, pediatrician at Barnet Hospital and the Baby Channel Medical Advisor. Thanks very much Su for coming in today. Dr. Su Laurent: Hi. Eils Hewitt: First of all, let’s get a definition what do you mean by constipation? Dr. Su Laurent: Constipation in medical terms is the infrequent passage of painful hard stools. So, what it means is that child is not doing enough poo in order to be comfortable. Eils Hewitt: And how common is constipation in children? Dr. Su Laurent: It is extremely common, in fact, it’s something that I specialized in and I even run a clinic which will I call my poo clinic, because there were so many children who are constipated out there, starting from babies all the way through older children even to teenagers. It causes an enormous amount of consternation and I often get whole families who will come to see me because they are concerned about the one child’s constipation. Eils Hewitt: And I have got a 5 month old baby, I don’t know in terms of babies becoming constipated. I was originally told if you are breastfeeding, it was impossible for your baby to be constipated and yet he go five days and seven days without pooing and it is alarming in a baby isn’t that? Dr. Su Laurent: It is alarming and it causes lots of consternation. In babies constipation for breastfed babies is unusual for it to be a problem because usually they just thought themselves out again and usually they pass what they need to pass. But if obviously your baby is distressed and is having great difficulty doing a poo and you can see that stress that they are straining away you will think about increasing the amount of fluid that they are getting. So, in a breastfed baby, if they are feeding very well, you might need to give him mixed with water. And in a bottle-fed baby, you need to be very careful, you are actually giving the right concentration of the formula. Sometimes people like to give an extra little one scoop to the formula or heat scoops rather than flat scoops and it’s very important to get the mixture right. Eils Hewitt: As it always, you kind of go on to how can the constipation be prevented, it’s obviously that’s a intended formula actually makes me correctly. Dr. Su Laurent: Getting the conscious exactly. Sometimes health fits is very helpful at this sort of situation. They say things like little bit of orange juice sometimes, fresh orange juice and some water can be helpful or little bit of brown sugar in some water can be helpful as well. But I think just getting extra water into babies often what they need. Eils Hewitt: And there with them, Harley my little boy, he just for some reason wouldn’t take water, his poo it was just a different texture? Dr. Su Laurent: Yes, yes. Eils Hewitt: So, in the end we resorted to lying down on his back and then kind of doing a kind of cycling motion with his legs. Dr. Su Laurent: Yes. Eils Hewitt: That saves time and things moving. Dr. Su Laurent: Well, actually in older children exercise is often very helpful and is the said to children who may tend to get a bit more constipated. So, you are right getting them sort of getting them moving, getting the bowel movements often very helpful. Eils Hewitt: So, why do, lets move on to children, why do children become constipated presumably if they diet. Dr. Su Laurent: Well, it does a very very big part of it and when I see lots of doctors who trained abroad particularly in developing countries and I always say to them how much constipation do you see in Africa or in India and they say it’s very, very unusual. And it is our diet is obviously very important part of why our children become constipated. If you look at the average child’s diet, it’s very low on fibre, th