What's a good natural stool softener - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 08-03-2009, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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My 10.5 month DS has horrible constipation. He strains really badly when he has a bm (to the point that he cries) and it's hard as a rock. His diet is very good with lots of different fruits and veggies plus beans and whole grains and occasionally a little meat. I've cut out the constipating foods like rice, bananas, cheese, and yogurt to no avail. I suspect the issue is that he's decided to wean himself but won't take very much water, juice, or milk from a cup (open, sippy, straw, even bottle...you name it, I've tried it). I just keep pushing the water hoping it will help, but he doesn't drink enough.

Any foods/supplements that work as natural stool softeners? Flax oil? Fish oil?

Thanks for any recommendations! I don't want to have to resort to pedialax!!!
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#2 of 8 Old 08-03-2009, 07:14 PM
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For the short term, try adding "p" fruits or juices (plums, peaches, pears) to his diet.

In the long run, you need to take a better look at his diet. It might be the lack of breastmilk, or insuficient fluid intake, but it could also be an allergic-type reaction to one particular food (or group of foods).

10mo babies can't "wean themselves." They can go on nursing strikes, but they're too young to self wean. There are things you can do to get him back to the breast.

He's too young to be eating so many solids and so little milk. If you can't (or don't want to) get him to nurse at the breast, he'll need milk in a cup or bottle. The best choice is pumped breastmilk. The next best choice is donated ebm (but I doubt that will be available for a baby this old without special medical needs.) Third best is formula.

I'd try to limit his food consumption so he'll nurse more for calories. And try giving him "wet foods" when he does eat solids.

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#3 of 8 Old 08-03-2009, 10:30 PM
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Here is an old post with alternatives.

Here are a few ideas. Be sure that he is getting plenty of fluids before and during outdoor activities.

The binding foods to avoid are BRAT: bananas, rice, apples and toast. Prune juice increases motility, but just use a little!

You could increase animal fats, butter, coconut oil, magnesium, bone broths, vitamin C, probiotics (specifically Lactobacillus casei Shirota). Try aloe tea, Rhubarb root extracts, carrot juice 1:1 with spinach juice, plantains, dandelion tea, coconut, Blackstrap molasses, cabbage juice, almond oil with milk. All have stool softening properties, or increase motility.

Additionally, foods high in potassium help bowel function as it improves peristaltic movements of the colon: kale, cabbage, yellow tomatoes, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, alfalfa sprouts, goat milk, sesame seeds, wheat germ brewers yeast, flax seed, green peppers, pineapple, beets, potatoes with skin, Blackstrap molasses.


You might offer some rescue remedy in juice or water just before and during a bowel movement, if it is uncomfortable. Trying to stool in warm water (bath tub) seems to help some young children to relax the anal sphincter. Rubbing the abdomen clock-wise gently with lavender essential oil helps to increase motility also.

Epsom salt baths, or a itsy bitsy pinch of Epsom salts in water or juice (has magnesium) will often help constipation. Or a larger dose of vitamin C has a tendency to cause loose stools. Warm drinks also trigger a peristalsis movement of the bowels in some folks. So, just a warm tea might do the trick. Or warm soup.

Most of us are deficient in magnesium. Some Natural Calm for Kids helps.

I trust that one of these possibilities will be agreeable to her. And if she is uncomfortable, you could try a glycerin suppository. (not my first choice) But, I'd just add some whole food probiotics on a regular basis and that will help his gut health, all around. :-) I just add a tablespoon of kefir to juice. That is a ton of beneficial probiotics. I wouldn't waste money on bottle probiotics. Dairy is constipating for many though, in quantity.

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#4 of 8 Old 08-04-2009, 01:52 PM
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Great post Pat - I will mark this for future reference.

For my DD, pears and plums work the magic. Raspberries work pretty well too. As long as she has at least one of these fruits each day, and plenty of water, things stay pretty regular. Bean soups seem to help as well. Not sure if you have given beans to your son yet.

Good luck!

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#5 of 8 Old 08-04-2009, 02:15 PM
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My mom swears by raison water. Soak raisons for 6-8 hours, then give the baby the water (the raisons too if he'll eat them).

Joy wife to DH, mom to DS1 (4/2005): DD (5/2007) : : DS2 (1/2009 :
I do what works and when it stops working, then I do something else.
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#6 of 8 Old 08-04-2009, 02:20 PM
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Flaxseed oil has been so helpful for DD!! Blueberries have worked for us too.

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#7 of 8 Old 08-10-2009, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. I should have mentioned that my DS is on formula (and has been since 8 weeks) but was afraid of the reactions I would get to that. I offer 4 bottles a day and sometimes he'll take as much as 6 oz and sometimes only 2-3 oz. I really struggle to get him to drink more fluids since I know that would probably help him the most. I offer water in a variety of vessels but he only takes a little bit (I've tried various juices too to no avail). Peaches, prunes, plums, blueberries, melon etc. don't seem to help at all. He eats most of the veggies mentioned too, and beans. I'm going to try going back to more pureed food which is more liquidy than his finger foods. I'll try more fats in the purees as other than his formula he's not getting much fat these days without the yogurt and cheese. I think I'll try the kefir for probiotics. And, next time he starts grunting I'm going to stick him in the bathtub!
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#8 of 8 Old 08-10-2009, 02:42 PM
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Probiotics work really well. Homemade lacto-fermented foods or even just the lf juice, yogurt, kefir are awesome for regularity.
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