The Scoop on Poop
Ouch! Constipation hurts. Constipation is a common and frustrating problem in children. Constipation is defined as hard and painful stools or going several days without a bowel movement. People (kids, too) should have at least one soft bowel movement a day.
A mom asks for advice about her toddler’s pooping. “My 23 month old son is withholding his poop. What the heck! He does have a history of constipation…so I’ve added lots of fiber to his diet…more fruit, veggies etc. I’m thinking that he had some painful bowel movements and is now afraid to go number two.”
Sophia doesn’t like being blocked up.
When kids experience painful bowel movements, they sometimes begin to “hold,” making the problem worse. The more your child holds it, the harder and bigger the stools become. The problem worsens, because painful movements can cause fissures or splits in the anal area.
Kids (even preschool children), who eat a fast food diet with altered fats, white flour, and processed sugar, are candidates for constipation. The best defense is a good offense. Once a child is constipated call your pediatrician. Often pediatricians recommend stool softeners, enemas, and sometimes even laxatives. Obviously, you must get things moving along.
Constipation is not a normal state for anyone, much less for a child. It indicates an imbalance in your child’s system. Poor diet and lack of fluid are the most common causes of constipation. High fiber foods and fluid makes stools soft and passable. Most of the time, constipation in children is due to a diet lacking fiber and water. Fiber is found in all fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
Picky eaters self-limit the types of food they eat. High fiber vegetables, like broccoli, are usually the first foods to be refused. It’s vital to teach your child how to appreciate the tastes of various foods, especially vegetables. Multi-sensory learning is vital when transforming a picky eater’s limited diet to include veggies. Click Here for more information about the Baby Bite Steps to healthy eating.
Get Things Moving With…
1) A HIGH FIBER DIET and WATER should get your kid going number two. Fiber is found in fruit (especially prunes, raisins, and organic apples with the skin), vegetables, and whole grains.
2) FLAX OIL is a sure-fire way to get things moving when your child is still blocked up, even after the inclusion of produce and whole grains. The flax seed is tiny, but mighty, and its oil is especially high in fiber. Flax seeds and its oil turns rancid quickly, so always purchase it from the refrigerator case in your whole foods store. For the best taste, mix it in a little juice or in a fruit smoothie. Because flax oil is high in fiber it will naturally keep bowels soft, as long as your child is drinking plenty of water. Follow the recommendations for how much to take. It’s best to start with a small amount and slowly increase. If you give your child too much, a side effect is loose bowels; then decrease the amount given.
3) PROBIOTICS improve gut flora. Another common factor often overlooked is the health of your child’s gut flora. Gut flora can become unbalanced by illness, stress, and drugs. Poor eating habits (junk foods), chlorinated drinking water, and especially antibiotics damage the intestinal flora. It just makes plain sense, that a drug called an “anti” biotic will kill even the helpful bacteria in the gut. When there is an unbalance in your child’s gut, it often results in constipation. Probiotics are a natural preventative and remedy for the many stomach and bowel issues kids experience. Probiotics can also be purchased at a whole foods store and some are especially made for infants and children.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. It’s not intended for medical advice or other professional services and shouldn’t be considered a substitute for the advice of your personal physician or other medical professional. If your child has a medical or behavioral problem, or you suspect that such a possibility exists, consult your health care provider.
For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.