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16 mo old constipated...is it my thyroid, digestion, quality or quantity of my milk? Help!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello all,
My 16 mo old son has been slowly becoming more constipated since starting solids. He was exclusively breastfed until about 12 months, and then as we have added solids, it has gradually gotten worse so that now he poops about every 3 days and they are hard pellets and he is so uncomfortable. He eats what we eat, veggies, meats, little fruit, bone broth, flax seeds, no dairy, no gluten, no nuts, no eggs, no soy, rarely grains and if so they are soaked or sprouted, no junk or processed anything, so I know it is not diet. Lately he has started to go nuts over table foods and has a huge appetite. Small amts of water during the day but for liquids nursing 6 times per day. He would probably nurse more often but I have another child and I would not get anything done for her if I spent hours on the couch with him, so unfortunately i have to set some limits! He typically nurses for 15 to 20 minutes at a sitting but seems to get several let downs in those sessions. My daughter who is now 4 had this exact problem when she started solids and at about 18 mo she started being afraid of pooping and still has awful issues from it. We are terrified that it will happen to him so we have to solve this! I have lots of food intol, so I also avoid dairy, soy, eggs, gluten, and nuts. I feel like I have tried so many things on my end, avoiding so many foods, getting more oils, drinking more water, taking various vitamins...and on his end adding flax and coconut oils to every meal for him, flax gel, bone broth, less meat, more fruit, no fruit, more protein, elimination diets, etc etc. My thyroid is borderline low, and I am about to resort to trying some natural thyroid, but I don't want to screw anything up with my supply or for him. I am also experimenting in the past few days with taking some betaine HCl to improve my digestion, thinking maybe my awful digestion would be making something bad in my milk affecting him, but so far the pills are making my stomach feel worse so far. Then tonight after dinner he was so fussy and my husband brought up something about how much he drinks besides my milk, and I was reminded that he doesn't get much liquid throughout the day besides my milk. I always thought my milk would be sufficient. So I gave him a sippy cup with about 5 ounces of watered down hemp milk and he chugged it and was asking for more! So maybe my milk isn't enough liquid and that has been the problem all along! So here are my questions: Why if his demand is larger, why am I not naturally making enough for him? At some age do all kids need supplementation? I don't want to start giving him so much liquid that he prematurely weans, but I also want to make sure he gets enough total liquid. Is there something I can do to make more milk, should I try at his age or is this the age where this starts to happen? My daughter nursed till 2.5 but she was also terribly constipated too, so maybe in hindsight she had the same issue as him. The reason I am suspicious of thyroid is that I have been chronically constipated since childhood with nothing helping it and so are they now, both of them!. Has thyroid helped any of you in breastfeeding? Or betaine HCl? I am so confused after trying so many things, I would love to have some feedback to steer me in a direction. Btw, I have trouble keeping on weight but have all the other symptoms of low thyroid and had T3 levels of borderline low, and have so many symptoms of adrenal fatigue which seems to be so common. I would love to nurse him until he is done, and not be lacking nutrient rich breastmilk for him if i can help it. Thanks so much for any help you can give!
post #2 of 7
I'm so sorry to hear that your LO is dealing with constipation. I won't be too much help with dietary issues or thyroid info but I wanted to address the fluids angle. BM is very nutritious and beneficial but as toddlers take on more solids, your supply drops. It's natural and healthy and slowly allows the child to wean at their own pace. My 18 month old nurses around 6 to 8, sometimes 12 times a day and has a good appetite for solids. However, she drinks a ton of water. More than my husband usually. On one particularly thirsty afternoon she put away 21 oz in 3 hours and asked for more. She's healthy, happy and pees a ton but breastmilk just doesn't satisfy her thirst enough. I started introducing tiny sips of water with solids at 6 months and by a year I let her have about 4 oz per day. After her birthday I figured I'd let her drink to thirst. She loves nursing and Wong go much more than 2 hours without it when awake. The water doesn't seem to take the place of nursing at all. Often she will drink water then ask to nurse or vice versa. My suggestion to you is to offer more water and see if that helps. It sounds like he is getting plenty of roughage but if he needs more fluid then his colon will take back what it can (that's its job) and he ends up with harder poop. I'm sorry for not being terribly helpful but I just wanted to say that drinking lots of water has not impacted our nursing relationship at all. It's a safe and easy thing to try before investigating further.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for answering. Your reply made me feel so much better about letting him drink as much as he wants to see if that helps. Already this morning after nursing twice I gave him some water with a little coconut milk in it and he chugged it. Maybe this will solve the problem! I am hoping so. Thanks again for the support!
post #4 of 7

Hi Noelle,


hug2.gifSending you a BIG hug as I completely understand what you're going through. Please check out the GAPS diet, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride's book, the books Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. There are more books out there that can help, but these are a good start.


I had a similar problem with my son who would go 10 to 11 days without having a bowel movement and the doctor said it was fine. I took him to several different pediatricians, acupuncture, chiropractic, a GI pathologist and all helped just a bit but none could get him to be regular.


He'd never had anything but fruits and veggies upon starting solids. What helped me was sauerkraut and sauerkraut juice (homemade) and kefir (also homemade). Please start experimenting with fermenting your own foods. They will work MIRACLES. Also try probiotics for an added boost- try the ones they sell at health food stores or the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. Start slowly as it may cause something called die off. PM me ANY questions. I also PM'ed you. If you need the books, I don't mind sharing with you. Let me know how everything went and is going.


Best wishes,


post #5 of 7

I agree with Sky, it looks like a fluids issue. Seems to me if it was your milk, he'd have been constipated BEFORE starting solids...making water available may be all the help he needs.

In any case, I also agree that probiotics help. My DS has had some constipation issues (more related to travel and holding it) and we put some probiotics in a little bit of fruit juice every day or two and it seems to really help. He calls it his "poop medecine" lol. And if he is having hard time with a poop, he asks to drink some on the pot!

Another thing- for your older daughter there is a book called "It hurts when I poop" that she might identify with. Its advice is mostly about diet solutions, which probably won't resonate, but it is alot about the issue of kids associating pain with poop and holding it, so maybe she would take to the "take charge of your body" idea to let the poop out. Maybe some probiotics might help her too.

post #6 of 7



You wrote:


Also try probiotics for an added boost- try the ones they sell at health food stores or the Vitamin Shoppe or Whole Foods. Start slowly as it may cause something called die off.


What is die off? I would be very interested to know because the instructions on my DD's probiotics say to start gradually with it, and I always wondered why.


Thank you!

post #7 of 7

Hi Pachamamita,


Die off is when the bad bacteria that the probiotics attempt to put into balance start to die and release toxins that can actually make you sick. They cause symptoms similar to the ailment you're trying to heal. So you want to start slowly so as to not cause too many symptoms to pop up at the same time. Rather than probiotics though, I prefer fermented foods made at home if your DD tolerates it. My son remained constipated even though I was doing a pretty big dose of probiotics, but after just a few days of homemade sauerkraut started having regular BMs. Or you could have probiotics in addition to fermented foods, but that's just imho. :)



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