Need help - 3 1/2 mo old ds having problems with gas/going poop... - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-25-2006, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Posted this in the health forum as well...

First, a little background info...my ds is currently 14 weeks old and is exclusively formula fed (due to latch and supply issues not by choice).

For the first four to six weeks of his life, he seemed to have no problem using the bathroom, specifically going poop, with the exception of some grunting occasionally. However, after that time, he suddenly became quite constipated for some reason. Nothing had changed up to that point and, after trying some of the home remedies like bicycling of the legs and whatnot, we took him to his ped who suggested a formula change. We are now on formula #4 and have been on this formula for about a month now. He seems to be doing really well on it except for this continued constipation problem.

Originally, his ped had told us to give him 3 oz of apple juice and water mix (half juice, half water) twice a day as well as prescribing infant suppositories to help loosen him up so that he could go potty. That seemed to work and for awhile there, he was able to potty on his own without much straining. Now all of a sudden however, we're back to the major straining. Even when the poop is soft or it's just gas, ds will strain to the point of crying - it's as if he's unable to relax enough to push it out. As a result, I've been forced to help him go, either by using a thermometer or my pinkie finger (with a glove and lots of lube).

Ds isn't scheduled to go back for a check up until the middle of next month. I don't know if I should call and make him an appointment or what? I've heard some people tell me that starting him on some solids might help but according to his ped, she says that would likely only worsen the constipation problem. Some people have also suggested water, however, I've heard that that can be dangerous as infants can easily ingest too much water (and it doesn't take much at that young age) and become "intoxicated" on the water, which can cause severe repercussions, including death.

I just don't know what to do. On one hand, I feel very guilty because I can't help but feel that if I'd only tried harder with the bfing that maybe he wouldn't be in this predicament. However, I know that I did all I could, including working with a lactation specialist to try and build my supply and later to try and relactate. For some reason, my breasts just wouldn't cooperate despite my best efforts and my supply just dried up. Still, there's that nagging thought in my head that I could've done more somehow. On the other hand, I've been told that this will likely go away with time, but it's hard to just sit by and watch my ds when I know he's in pain and getting so frustrated, you know?

It's gotten to the point where it's interfering with his ability to sleep at night - last night we were up every 40 minutes to an hour and a half due to gas/cramping. And the way he balls up as if he's trying to work the gas/poop out, I can tell he's in pain...oft times he'll even cry.

Has anyone else ever dealt with this? Any suggestions on what I can do to help my ds with his gas/constipation problem?

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Old 07-25-2006, 03:51 PM
 
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It's funny, I was about to post on this topic this morning. We were up from 3 a.m. to 6 trying to poop. There's no actual constipation in my DS' case, but he still gets very worked up. He's seven months old, and he just stopped screaming through his poops last month. But he can't sleep through them at all and is very upset by them in general. The pediatrician said he was "afraid to poop" and that the sensations just bothered him. We tried the apple juice as well on the doctor's advice : (I know that's a big no-no around here, but those who will judge me didn't hear my baby screaming). It really didn't seem to help a lot at all. When he needs to poop, he gets very clingy and won't nap. There doesn't seem to be anything physically wrong, so maybe that will reassure you. I've heard that sometimes certain kids are just so bothered by the sensations that they just can't get used to them. Have you tried a warm compress on his belly while he's straining? That used to help DS quite a lot when he was 3 months.

Has anybody else had this problem? How long did it last? Did anything help?

Don't beat yourself up about the formula, either. It certainly sounds like you did a lot more than most moms would have to try to succeed at breastfeeding. I'm breastfeeding, and DS still has the pooping issues, so there's no guarantee that they would be better with breastmilk, especially if he's not actually constipated any more.
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Old 07-25-2006, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Anon! I'm originally from the Cleveland area myself! Small world, eh? LOL

RE: the apple juice, what would the problem be with that? I've seen several people recommend prune juice for constipation in infants, so I can't see why it would be a problem for apple juice??? : If someone has a better recommendation, I'm certainly open to hearing it!

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Old 07-25-2006, 05:23 PM
 
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Hey, kfowler! Go Browns!

There are a lot of threads on here about how juice is just empty calories and should never be given to infants, especially early on. But I think in our cases the needs of the baby outweighed that concern. I have heard that prune juice works better, but I think they do have to be a little older for that since it's hard on the digestive system. Is your son still constipated, or is everything normal? I was told at LLL that if the stools are formed normally, it's not constipation. Don't know if that's different for formula, though.

I meant to mention that we started solids at six months, starting with fruits and veggies that are the least constipating (pears, peaches, squash,). It did improve, but I'm not sure how much was due to the solids and how much was just developmental. Like I said, he was up every 20 minutes last night, so I'm not sure "improved" is a good word to use. And he still wakes me in the night when he has to pass gas. : But it didn't get worse with solids, which was my concern. If you're still having problems when you're thinking of starting your solids (and I would wait if there is stomach distress), you should probably avoid cereals for a while because they are notorious constipators.

I sure hope somebody else can shed some light on this issue. I was seriously going to post this morning to see if anybody had ever had this experience. You are the first person I've seen on here that has. It's so hard watching my little guy strain and complain. But he's fussy about everything, and I think it's really just a part of that. Is your son high needs about anything else?
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, my ds is still constipated. Every morning for the past two weeks, I've had to help him poop. What comes out is quite hard and looks like tiny pebbles. Once I get that out in the morning, he usually goes fine by himself for the rest of that day but by the next morning, he's back to straining and crying and is constipated. I just don't know what the heck is going on or what to do to help him.

As per your question about whether or not ds is high needs, no. He's actually a very good baby with the exception of the fussiness due to the gas/constipation. He'd probably be content to just sit and talk to himself most of the day. Of course, I could never just leave him to amuse himself as I'd feel guilty for not spending time with him.

I think if we could overcome this gas/constipation thing, it would really help him start sleeping through the nights too. Right now he's still up every 40 minutes to every two hours and it's really rough on the both of us. He's cranky cause he's uncomfortable with the gas/constipation and I'm cranky cause I'm not getting any sleep.

I really hope someone on here has either dealt with this or knows something that might help!

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Old 07-25-2006, 11:09 PM
 
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kfowler, I'm sorry you weren't able to breastfeed. I imagine that must have been heartbreaking . Some of my suggestions apply only to bf'ing mamas, but I'm including them for whoever is reading, okay?

My friend's son had horrible reflux and food sensitivities and ended up on one of the elemental formulas (nutramigen, then the other one -- ellacare?). He had lots of problems with constipation, and she used a variety of things, including karo syrup and milk of magnesia, as well as the suppositories and anal stimulation when things got really bad. I think the karo syrup and MOM worked pretty well for them, but I know with the MOM you run the risk of elevated magnesium levels (she did all of this under the supervision of the ped, so I don't know if they were checking blood levels, etc.). I think she used the MOM first, then switched to the karo syrup (you can get this at the grocery store, usually in the aisle with the sugar, honey, etc. -- I think it's essentially corn syrup, which isn't all that great, but what are you gonna do?). I don't know the dosages she used ... I think the karo syrup was 1 or 2 tsp a day. But then she ended up taking her son for 1 or 2 sessions of craniosacral therapy, and that fixed the problem entirely, and he has been fine ever since. (It also helped with some physical problems he was in PT for ... the physical therapist was totally amazed and couldn't get over the difference ... it went from "your son may have neurological problems" to "hmmm, he seems pretty much normal"!) So the CST really worked for them.

My dd has only been truly constipated (hard stools) once or twice, but she has had poop and gas problems for much of her life (she'll be 1 year this weekend). She would often go 8 or more days between poops when she was still exclusively bf. Many people say that's fine and just a sign that they're using the milk efficiently, but I just felt in my gut like it wasn't right for her (FYI, both her chiro and a holistic ped said she should be pooping at least once a day, EBF or not, as this is the body's main way of eliminating toxins). Her gas was so bad that we had to stop co-sleeping around 9 months, because she kicked me all night and I was hardly sleeping and just couldn't take it anymore . This is what I've done to help her:

* When she was really small I did a total elimination diet. It didn't work, but hey, I lost 60 lbs!
* I figured out that drinking our well water was bothering her (me drinking it, so only applicable if bf'ing) and switched to distilled (I add minerals). That helped a lot and her poops became much more normal looking (not green and mucousy), but she was still gassy and not pooping often.
* I started taking her for craniosacral therapy as well (mostly for help processing her birth trauma, but also for gas/poop problems), and it helped some. She started pooping more regularly, but still not every day, and she was still somewhat gassy.
* I used Colic-Ease for the gassiness, which usually helped some, although it seemed to wear off after an hour or two a lot of the time.
* I bought some baby probiotics at Whole Foods and mixed some with a small amount of water, but this didn't seem to help any (if you do this, check the ingredients carefully ... I was shocked to see that some of the "baby" probiotics contained common allergens like soy, etc.!).
* 2 months ago I finally broke down and took her to see a holistic pediatrician (we have an HMO, so have to pay out of pocket, and the first visit -- including homeopathics and probiotics -- cost $300!!!!). She started her on 2 homeopathics, a probiotic (waaaay stronger than what was available at WF) and cod liver oil (that was for bumps she had on her skin ... don't know if it helps with digestion or not). The gas improved immediately (before seeing the holistic ped, she was waking one or more times a night fussing, and needed the Colic-Ease -- after seeing the ped, this stopped), and she now poops about 5 days out of every 7 (she is eating lots and lots of solids now, btw). We saw the ped again after 4 weeks and she changed up the homeopathics a bit, and we see her again on Friday.
* I realized a month or so ago that I also have lots of digestive issues and always have, and wondered if this might be part of the problem too. Babies are born with a sterile gut which is populated with beneficial bacteria through breastmilk. I wondered if maybe I didn't have a good "stock" of these bacteria, and somehow shortchanged dd with my milk. I also believe we are so intimately connected with our children, especially at these young ages, that we can influence them in many ways, and kids tend to take on our baggage (emotional and physical) when we're not dealing with it. So I got a recommendation from the holistic ped, and am now seeing a homeopath who also does iridology and auricular therapy (all new stuff to me, but very cool). I'm on a few homeopathics to support my digestion, as well as probiotics and enzymes, and am doing a gentle detox program (not too aggressive, or my body will detox into my breastmilk).

I feel like seeing the holistic ped gave the best results for us by far, although I also believe that treating myself is an integral part of the equation (and I think this applies whether one is bfing or not). But as you can see, my friend did very well with the CST, so every baby is dealing with something different and needs something different. Also, you don't necessarily have to see a holistic pediatrician. The homeopath I'm seeing also treats children, and I'm considering switching my dd to her, since her prices are much more reasonable (considering she's not an MD).

Amanda, FYI, CST can be very helpful in dealing with emotional trauma / issues, so it might help your ds get over his fear of pooping, if that is indeed what's going on.

Well, that about exhausts my knowledge on how to deal with digestive difficulties! If you're interested in CST, you can find a practitioner here. We see a massage therapist who is highly trained in CST, and charges $30 for a 1/2 hour session with my dd. I hope this has been helpful .

Mama to M (7/05) and S (5/08) my surprise !!!
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Old 07-26-2006, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey Shanana!

Thanks for your advice! I'll have to look into some of what you suggested!

Yes, it was very heartbreaking for me not to be able to breastfeed. Even after doing everything the lac consultant told me to do, my supply kept dwindling and I eventually was only making about an ounce or two a day. I still plan to try bf'ing with my next baby and am hoping that it will go better, but I regret not being able to do so with my ds.

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