What if my child won’t drink prune juice?

As a parent, it can be frustrating when your child refuses to drink prune juice. Prune juice is often recommended by pediatricians as a natural way to help relieve constipation in children. However, some kids simply don’t like the taste. If you’re struggling to get your child to drink their prune juice, try some of these tips:

Offer Prune Juice in a Cup, Not a Bottle

Once children are over 1 year old, pediatricians recommend transitioning from a bottle to a cup. Drinking from a cup gives them control over how much they consume. Try offering a small amount of diluted prune juice (half juice, half water) in a sippy cup or regular cup. Let your child control the amount they drink.

Mix Prune Juice with Another Juice

You can mix prune juice with another fruit juice that your child likes, such as apple or grape juice. The other juice helps mask the strong taste of prunes. Try mixing juices in a 1:1 ratio or start with mostly the preferred juice and add just a splash of prune juice at first.

Make Prune Juice Popsicles

Turning prune juice into popsicles is a clever way to get your child to consume it. Pour prune juice with a bit of water into popsicle molds. Consider adding some pureed fruit like strawberries or mango to improve the flavor. The cold, sweet popsicle may be more appealing than a glass of juice.

Let Your Child Add Flavorings

Allow your child to customize their prune juice by adding flavorings like cinnamon, nutmeg, or honey. They may be more inclined to drink something they helped create. Supervise them adding just a dash of spices or 1 teaspoon of honey to a serving of juice.

Offer Prunes Instead of Juice

If your child really hates prune juice, try offering them whole prunes instead. Prunes contain the same benefits and fiber as juice. Chop prunes into small pieces that your child can eat with their fingers or try baking them into muffins or other treats.

Try Using Prune Puree

For very young toddlers, you can try mixing 2-3 tablespoons of prune puree into their cereal or yogurt. The prunes will blend smoothly into the food. You can also stir prune puree into applesauce or oatmeal.

Let Them Help Make the Juice

Kids are often more interested in foods they help prepare. Allow your child to help you make homemade prune juice in the blender. Use fresh prunes or soak dried prunes to soften them first. Let your child dump the prunes in the blender and press the buttons.

Don’t Force It

If your child flat out refuses prune juice, even when mixed with other juices, don’t force them to drink it. Forcing children to eat or drink something they hate can create negative associations. Try the natural constipation remedies below instead.

Natural Constipation Remedies

If your child won’t take prune juice, try these healthy remedies to relieve constipation:

  • Increase fiber – Offer high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts.
  • Up fluids – Encourage drinking water throughout the day.
  • Exercise – Daily physical activity stimulates the bowels.
  • Massage – Gently rub their tummy clockwise to encourage bowel movements.
  • Probiotics – Give yogurt with live cultures or a kids probiotic.

When to Call the Doctor

Occasional constipation is normal, but call your pediatrician if your child:

  • Hasn’t had a bowel movement in 3+ days
  • Is experiencing abdominal pain or vomiting
  • Has blood in their stool
  • Has consistent hard, dry stools

The doctor can advise if your child needs a laxative or further treatment. Never give laxatives without first consulting your pediatrician.

Make Changes Gradually

When making diet and lifestyle changes to help constipation, go slowly. Increase fiber, fluids, and exercise step-by-step. Abrupt changes may worsen the problem at first. With time and consistency, your child’s constipation should improve.

Stay Positive at Mealtimes

Don’t turn mealtimes into a battle over food and drinks. If your child refuses prune juice, stay positive and offer something else healthy they enjoy. With patience and creativity, you’ll find something that works for your unique child!

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