Our expert says:
If your 6-year-old child has difficulty passing stools or finds it painful, then it is important to gradually increase the amount of dietary fibre the child is eating on a daily basis. This includes all meals - the entire diet plan - and not just the lunch box. Foods that are rich in dietary fibre include high-bran breakfast cereals, wholewheat or low-GI breads and rolls, dried and fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes (dry cooked or canned beans, peas, lentils or soya) and so-called wheat bran (buy at health shops and sprinkle over the child's porridge at breakfast - start with 1/2 teaspoon per day for 1 week, and then gradually increase the intake of bran to 1.5 teaspoons per day). In addition, it is important that the child should have an adequate liquid intake. Provide him or her with clean water or diluted fruit juice to drink during the day. Some yoghurt products which contain live probiotics ("good microorganisms") can also be added to the lunch box to promote regularity. You will have noticed that I emphasise that this changeover in fibre intake must be done gradually. One should not suddenly increase anyone's fibre intake dramatically, esp that of young children, as it can cause winds and abdominal pain, as well as diarrhoea. By increasing the dietary fibre intake of your child's diet gradually you will get a better result and allow the child to get used to the higher fibre intake over time.
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