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