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Old 01-31-2003, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son was constipated last weekend and seems like he's headed there again. I need ideas!

Notes:

-- It's apple juice that is causing the problem, so we've eliminated that and tried giving him other juices, per dr's recommendation, and he hasn't produced much (only one small poop this week).

-- He refuses to squat to poop, which is a huge part of the problem.

-- The pediatrician suggested mineral oil (but I worry about giving him that ) or a prescription for medilax? which is supposed to draw fluid into the intestines and work in a gentle way. We had the scrip called in, just incase.

I'd appreciate any ideas, thanks!
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Old 01-31-2003, 08:15 PM
 
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fraya ~ Uggghhh, minereal oil! I would balk at that too! We have had problems here and there with our kids. As we tried to come up with a gentle solution we stumbled across figs! We buy the dried Calmyra figs. Soak them in some water overnight and give them to your son to snack on during the next day. You can even give him the "juice". It works like a charm and has a high iron content Pears are also fiber rich.
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I try anjou pears, which he normally likes, but he won't eat them now! I'm trying to get him to eat berries that I froze last summer, too! The on-call pediatrician did recommend pear juice, which I bought, but there isn't even fiber listed on the nutritional label there, even though it was organic and seems to have sediment in it ...

I will put the figs on the list. Thanks so much!
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Old 01-31-2003, 10:52 PM
 
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My ds hasn't had this problem in a long time -- i.e. since becoming a picky eater, so I don't know how well these suggestions will go over. How about prunes or prune juice? Sliced raw apples or sweet potatoes (yams) have worked for ds too.
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Old 02-01-2003, 02:30 PM
 
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I find dried fruit, raisins, apricots etc keep her moving! Diluted orange juice or mangoes also work quite well (and quickly).
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Old 02-01-2003, 02:35 PM
 
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Figs do sound like a good idea. My son also likes Fiber 1 cereal! It has 14 grams of fiber per half cup serving.
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Old 02-01-2003, 04:19 PM
 
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Extra vitamin C always helps my son.

Are you still breastfeeding? If so, if you get your own bowels moving like 2-3 times per day (or one big one. yuck I know), the effects will go to your son.

If he's painfully constipated, you can try what we did with our first ds. On an empty stomach (first thing in the morning), feed him about 2 T of extra virgin olive oil. Massage his tummy in a clockwise motion. After a few minutes, give him about 200 mg of magnesium crushed in water (you can add something sweet or use juice if you have to).

Also, here's a recipe for something that always helps us:

Nut balls
boil T of flax seeds in 4T water until it forms a gel. Add some stevia if you like. Mix the gel and seeds into about 3-4 T almond butter. Roll the mix into balls and roll the balls in unsweetened coconut.

My kids really like these, and they have a definite laxative effect.

You might also consider the possibility that he has food intolerances which could be causing the constipation in the first place.
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Old 02-01-2003, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. I've tried prune juice and prunes and that doesn't seem to be having an effect.

The definite cause is apple juice. Plus, I think that he poops better when he runs around with my husband, who's been out of town. I also think that the emotional stress of having Daddy out of town has had an effect -- he stopped using hte potty to pee, too. (He doens't use the potty to poop -- no way!)

I am nursing, and I've been moving my bowels fine. I was thinking that I need to add more beans to my diet because we've had a lot of pasta lately (we're veg).

How many tablespoons of flax seed should be boiled with the water for the nut rolls? I've tried flax seed oil in his juice, but he doesn't drink much juice. He doesn't eat much in the way of solids, either, but we could at least try the nut rolls.

I've tried mangoes and oranges, but he just won't eat much of anything (he's also fighting a cough, so he mostly nurses ... which brings me to another point ... he's not actually fully constipated yet, we just want to kind of prevent it from happening since the last time was very unpleasant! ... but it also brings up the point that, since he's not eating a lot of solids and at this age absorbs most of what's in breastmilk, we just have no idea what a 'normal' pooping schedule would be for him right now).

Thanks again!
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Old 02-01-2003, 11:42 PM
 
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Watch out for the bananas and the white potatoes because those will stop you up. A lot of kids eat banans, I know my son loves them!
Dawn
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Old 02-02-2003, 12:04 AM
 
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Im glad I read these suggestions...I always seem to be dealing w/ my 3 yo's consitaption problem. He doens't seem to like the high fiber/ high get the plumbing going type foods like he used to (he eats "like a bird" anyhow) and these are new foods (Pears, fiber-y cereal, figs) I haven't tried yet, there's hope yet!!
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Old 02-02-2003, 10:48 AM
 
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Fraya, I don't know how old your son is so don't know if this will work for you. We had similar problems when ds was about 1. He refused to squat to poop and so his "constipation" seemed to be only partly induced by food and partly induced by holding it in for so long (which, I believe, made him even more fearful of it coming out, being so hard and painful). We also tried all different juices and foods, but he was not much of a solid eater or juice drinker, either. The few food products that worked for us were ground flax seeds in oatmeal and Clif bars. The Clif bars in particular were wonderful because they have a bit of sweetener in them (rice bran syrup), are *really* yummy, come in a variety of flavors, contain flax and have nothing but wholesome ingredients, and are wheat and dairy free (both of which can be constipating). They really get the bowels moving (to this day I believe they are the one reason that I avoided hemorrhoids during pregancy.... sorry, TMI? ).

Anyway, regarding the refusal to squat: because ds was still very small, I took somewhat of an EC approach with him. When he started showing signs of having to go, I lifted him up and held him under his thighs with his back leaning against me and either held him over the toilet or, if the toilet was too intimidating for him, over a towel. A bit messy, but it helped immensely. It enabled ds to get out of the pattern of holding it and then having it hurt to come out when he could not possibly hold it any longer.

Re mineral oil: Personally, I'd stay away from it if at all possible. It seems that doctors and nurses are very quick to recommend it, thinking it harmless. It has always made me wonder, though... on the label it says that the product should not be used for extended periods of time. The nurse in our doctor's office, however, who is a bit more natural-minded, told us (after the doctor recommended it) that she feels mineral oil should be an absolute last resort, the reason being that parents find they have to continue to use it for 6 months to a year to make any real difference. Scary stuff.

Hope it all works out soon (er... no pun intended...)
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Old 02-02-2003, 12:27 PM
 
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We are having the same problem with A (2.5). She won't drink or eat prune juice/prunes/raisins, etc. At the end of my rope I called my family dr. who recommended Children's Senekot for overnight relief (I sound like a commercial).

It's made from senna, so I'm wondering if you could find senna at a natural food store. It seems to be working for A!!

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for more suggestions!

On the squatting idea, thanks so much -- I REALLY need those ideas! As you said, I'm convinced that it's one huge reason why he's not pooping more easily and then it's kind of a spiral, as you said. Although, things were fine until I introduced the apple juice ... Once, when he hadn't pooped for a couple of weeks, he spent a couple of days doing a lot of relieving! During that time, I was holding him as you suggested, and he pooped easily. So I've been trying that lately to no avail. Last night, he did seem to push a tiny bit while I was holding him like that but he didn't seem to be getting a big huge push then. He gets upset when I touch him when the urge hits, which just makes matters worse because then he pulls stuff back in, cries, etc. I don't want to make it a negative experience! What I'm trying to do is to hold him like that when he seems to be working in general, hoping that if I hold him for 20 minutes like that, eventually the urge will hit!

I hadn't heard of Senekot. I'll have to look it up. Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2003, 06:30 PM
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Good question. Dd has similar issues - she'll only poop every several days, and it'll hurt her because it's so big (it's not hard at all, just enormous). Adding fiber to her diet doesn't seem to help, either - I had her eating beans and mangos morning, noon and night for about a week at one point, and she still wouldn't move her bowels more than once every five or more days. Colace is the only thing that's worked for us. We're continuing to try with the fiberous foods, though.
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Old 02-03-2003, 12:54 AM
 
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I have a couple more suggestions. Sometimes when a child is mostly breastfed and won't accept solids, the best thing to do is work at creating positive energy (ei not stressing him about doing the deed, being generally bright and playful). Also, homeopathy helps immensely if you get the right remedy. You might also try chiropractic. Sometimes a subluxation can eliminate the nerve impulse which controls peristalsis.

Just some more thoughts. I hope he's better soon.
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Old 02-03-2003, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mama2Jonah:

Thanks. I've tried thee bright and cheerful and it's-no-big-deal approach but I can only keep that up until he starts crying from the pain of straining, which started this afternoon and then subsided. My husband's leaving again on a long trip, so I'm fretting now. But you're right, I should calm down because it will work out, no matter how it happens.

I didn't understand the rest of your post, about subluxation and peristalsis? Thanks!
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Old 02-03-2003, 02:27 AM
 
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trouble is he seems like he can't go with his diaper on.

i usually have to take it off and let him stand naked in his crib or playpen for a while. he usually goes everywhere and it is quite gross.

he WAS going well on the potty, but has now decided not to.

my son won't eat any of the foods mentioned. he hates most foods.

any type of juice you can think of? im not sure he'd drink juice, but he might.
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Old 02-03-2003, 03:42 AM
 
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Have found one banana constipates, two bananas liberates ...

How old is your DS, fraya? We've been having major constipation issues here with DD (just turned 3) and have been going crazy. She's holding it in. Prunes & prune juice, pears, beans, you name it.

I had a thread in The Childhood Years forum about it ...

http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...threadid=38099

Good luck ...

- Amy
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Old 02-03-2003, 03:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He pooped tonight, yay! Just a little, but he did it standing up, which gives me relief in knowing that it's not so hard that he cannot accomplish it.

Sleepies:

Oranges seem to help a bit with my son, I'm not sure why. I think it's the juice combined with the fiber. One poster mentioned vitamin C, in which oranges are rich, of course. I believe that vitamin C in general helps the body with lubrication and elimination.

Plums, berries, I think maybe even grapes?

There's a ton of info on www.askdrsears.com, if you do a search for Fiber and take the first link on nutrition re: fiber -- there's a section specifically on tips for kids. Here's one list from there that is pertinent to your question:
Best sources of soluble fiber are:
*oat bran
*kidney beans
*lentils
*sweet potatoes
*oranges
*broccoli
*pears
*apples
*barley
*peas

Best sources of insoluble fiber are:
*wheat bran
*legumes
*skin of fruit
*seeds and nuts: sunflower seeds, soybean nuts, almonds

Dr. Weil has a few recommendations, including this basic one:
*Increase consumption of fiber by eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
*Drink more water.

What can you do about constipation?_

*

Drink plenty of fluids – at least 8 glasses (preferably of water) a day.

*

Eat at least 40 grams of fiber a day – A high-fiber cereal (more than 8 grams fiber per serving) plus generous amounts of vegetables, fruits and legumes is especially important for avoiding constipation._

*

A fiber supplement may also be helpful -- Choose one of_ those made from psyllium or purified hemicellulose._ Make sure to drink plenty of water when you use these products.

*

Exercise daily -- Exercise does more than tone your heart and muscles; it also tones your intestines and is essential to regular bowel movements.

*

Utilize some type of relaxation technique daily -- Stress can interfere with relaxation of the whole body, including the bowels.

*

Try to establish a regular schedule and don’t ignore the urge to go -- Peristalsis of the bowel, the movements that trigger a bowel movement, come and go._ If you ignore the urge, you may lose the opportunity._ The longer stool stays in the bowel, the harder it gets as more water is reabsorbed, and the more difficult it is to expel.
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Old 02-03-2003, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 22 months old (so nearly 2).

We thought he was holding it in, too, and it's hard to know for sure. There are some who recommend just giving them what it takes so that they cannot hold it in (like a little milk of magnesia). I hope that we don't have to go that route. It seems like he is trying to push.

My husband was constipated as a child and still hates to poop. I tease him that he's anal retentive. Anyway, he'll tell me he has to poop. I'll say, "Go poop!!!!" It's so much easier if you just go when the urge strikes. He agrees but old habits die a little hard, no pun intended. He's getting better about it, though. Still, it's ironic that he's all worried about our son and encouraging him to poop etc. when he himself has battled this issue for 30 (okay, 30+) years!
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Old 02-03-2003, 04:01 PM
 
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Dear Fraya, I deal with this issue EVERYDAY with my almost 3 year old daughter, ever since she has been on solids! Ughh. So this is my VAST experience past onto you. My hubby and I joke that when our evening conversation is exclusively about POOP, we really need to get out!

Mineral Oil is what has saved us. I know it sounds gross and mean but we have found it to be the gentlest solution of intervention. I refused to use it for over a year but than I s/w enough moms and dr's. to finally give it a try. You have to give it in 1 Tble increments and give it in a juice/water/milk. It won't mix, but they'll drink it vs. refuse to drink it straight (can't blame them!)

It really does work. And gently as well. All it does is soften the stool; it doesn't "force them to go". The CATCH: you have to do it daily and as long as it takes in order for them to have a good experience with the movement. In our case that was daily for 5.5 months at 3 Tbl (you increase or decrease the dosage by Tbl do get the desired effect). We are now off the daily dosage and only have to use it occasionally if she holds it more than 3-4 days.

Fraya, one of the most rewarding times was after about the first week, my daughter looked at me after a BM and said "mommy, that didn't hurt". She was so surprised! Poor girl, she had had this going on for so long that she always assumed it would hurt!

Sounds like you have the food situation down. If I can add Edemame beens (soy bean pods) to your list, it might help. Also (again know it sounds weird) syrups can be helpful. I put Karo syrup in her oatmeal (my double whammy breakfast for her!) as well as sprinkle wheat germ on almost anything!

I really hopes this helps. I have many more successes/failures in this area should you need so more info! Good luck!
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Old 02-03-2003, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Cara34.

He will eat edamame and green peas but only maybe 3/day! He just doesn't eat a lot of solids. But he loves the carbs -- pasta, pretzels. He does eat fruit, though, which helps. I'll just need to make sure no apple juice (that's our huge culprit) once he clears-out this one, and then I'll also try to keep him high in fiber and see if that helps keep it soft enough and frequent enough for him. All was fine until the apple juice, and then his daddy leaving besides. Poor baby!

But I will have to consider other options if this doesn't work. He did poop a little last night, so there's hope. It's not too hard for him to get out while standing, which is a HUGE relief.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-04-2003, 01:47 AM
 
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Just wanted to put in another plug for the Clif bars (and no, I don't work for them ). I was looking through the ingredients again today and it makes total sense to me why they get the ol' bowels moving - they have flaxseed, about five different kinds of fiber, and fig paste. Guess that would do it :LOL.

Anyway, ds is super picky-picky and it's the one thing I can consistently get him to eat, so it might be worth a try....

Take care!

p.s. A link on lubricant laxatives (including mineral oil):

http://www.fruit-eze.com/precautions/lubricant_lax.html
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Old 02-04-2003, 02:06 AM
 
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An interesting point our pediatric NP made related our DD's situation ... where she would say she had to poop, say she was trying, but then would not be pushing/trying at all, seemingly ... and then she would say she forgot how ...

... after holding it in a lot, and the BM gets large and hard, the bowel itself gets distended, and the nerves don't work properly in telling the body/brain/colon to eliminate the movement, so she really did "forget" how to push it out ...

So basically what we have/had to do is to make her poops involuntary for a few days so that they were almost liquid, so that she wouldn't have to "push" them out, and let her bowel heal and return to its normal size. That was done through Milk of Magnesia ... though it was pretty gross and uncomfortable for her. And enemas. And she managed to hold one of those in for half an hour, too ...

As the NP said, "You have a willful little girl, don't you."



:sigh

Good luck to you mamas ... this is really awful for us ... so much time going into it, it's amazing.

- Amy
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Old 02-04-2003, 03:16 PM
 
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Try a new sippy cup, straw etc.

My DD goes crazy over a new cup, straw whatever and will down a bunch of H20 in a new cup.
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Old 02-04-2003, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, he seems to be pushing it out and then either pulling it back in or not able to keep it out. There will be poop on his diaper and around his anus but no actual ... turd. Now he's to the point where he's terrified of intervention -- he wants his pants and diaper on all the time because then we cannot pull the turds out that are partway out. Plus, he's telling us to 'stop' when we approach him while he's pooping! It's cute but ... I just don't know how to help him! I'm trying to be relaxed but it's not working. I'm so relaxed on other things, but it is really hard for me not to help him when I know he's uncomfortable and that my help would lessen that. Sigh.

I will put the figs and the clif bars on the list for the grocery store, thanks.

A new game from his future uncle about drinking water helped the tiniest bit. He doesn't like sippy cups -- only straw-based cups. My husband ruined his favorite one in teh dishwasher -- I'd found one with a crazy straw that goes around the cup on the outside. But maybe I can find something ... maybe he can pick on out ... Thanks.
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