18 MO old who just wont poop :(
We're staying with some friends and they have an 18 mo. old daughter who just wont poop. She's still breastfeed on demand, and has an excellent diet, I have witnessed in the last week. She eats mostly raw, no dairy, no meat, and her mother is trying no wheat for the past week or so. She loves sprouts, oatmeal, fruits, veggies, she'll eat anything you give her. But its all great! And she's always drinking water. Her poops are soft. Not hard, not runny. I guess she's always 'not liked' to poop, but its just getting really bad apparently.
She just wont poop. She's terrified. She screams and cries and will hold it for days. When researching online, all you can find is experienced with doctors, and medications and kids drinking cow's milk and things, so I thought I'd ask here. Please help this little girl! Any advice would be appreciated :)
If she's crying, then yes, that may imply fear, but it might alternatively (or additionally) imply pain.
If pain is a factor, then one might at least consider if there might be some bowel inflammation (I would also consider painful constipation, but you say the stool is relatively soft...)
I think your friend is going to need to keep an extremely accurate diary of every single food & drink item the baby consumes, each day. I mean every item that goes into that baby's mouth.
In addition, a very detailed diary of the character of each stool could prove very informative.
For example, do the stools ever have a mucus coating? Any obvious fragments of undigested food visible? Any blood visible in the stool? Any obvious variation in stool texture - e.g. alternating soft one time and hard the next, in a repeating cycle? Any strange white flecks in the stool? Are the stools unusually dark, overall? Are the stools unusually pale, overall? Any strange texture? Are the stools ever noticably greasy/oily? Any unusually pungent smell? Any bubbles rising from the immersed stool? (bubbles can indicate fermentation).
Also, does the urnine smell strong? Does it have a relatively dark colour? Does the child cry during urination or only during defacation?
Does the child cry when defacating in the nappy or only when on potty? (if there is a difference, then this could point to a psychological component or possibly indicate a physiological issue when bearing-down whilst the body is in an upright position etc. etc.)
More questions to consider:
Is the baby's food being thoroughly macerated/blended/chewed prior to the child swallowing it? Any bloating in the abdominal area? Any unusual amount of flatulence? Does the child exhibit apparent pain if the abdomen is touched/pressed/massaged? Does the mother have metal dental amalgam fillings? Are there any animals/pets living in the baby's household? Does the child have noticably strong/unpleasant breath? Any unusual degree of vomiting? Any yellowing of the whites of the eyes? Any excessive redness to the whites of the eyes? Any yellow or slimy coating on the child's tongue? Any skin issues - e.g. spots, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, fungal, warts etc.? Any unusually poor sleep pattern? Any tendency to cry during, or within the hour or so following, meals? Any unusual degree of sleepiness after meals? Any swelling or apparent pain in the joints anywhere in the body? Any tendency to cry after eating certain foods? (it's good to see that the mother is experimenting with wheat-avoidance). Is the child's general temperament good or does the child seem short-tempered much of the time?
It is not sufficient to remove certain foods from the diet without keeping an accurate diary. A detailed diary is where the potential gold is. I'm speaking from personal experience of gastrointestinal issues, here, not received dogma.
The diary should also document any other symptoms the baby is experiencing, even if these are in entirely different parts of the body. Just go ahead and document them on the relevant dates when they occur. No symptom should be ignored or presumed irrelevant.
It takes effort and discipline to keep such a detailed diary of food/drink intake and symptoms but it can be worth its weight in gold as a very detailed and informative picture can soon be built-up, which a skilled doctor (possibly a naturopath, if no success with conventional doctors) can derive valuable hypotheses from.
I assure you that every single one of my questions has a very specific underlying reason - none of them are spurious, random, or plucked from thin air.
I would certainly get a qualified doctor's opinion, even if one has no intention of using pharmaceutical drugs that may be prescribed.
The more effort the parents make in trying to document in great detail, and to find answers to all these questions, the easier it will be for a qualified doctor to form some hypothesis as to what may be going on, physiologically. Too often, adults & children are presented to doctors with the expectation that the doctor form a hypothesis on the basis of relatively scant information, and this is shortchanging both the doctor & the patient.
Also seriously consider having a CDSA done. Not cheap but can be very valuable in investigating the cause for such symptoms.
I hope the child's situation improves soon; I don't like to think of someone so young (perhaps) suffering in pain. Please let us know of any developments/progress.
We certainly shouldn't overlook the possibility of this potentially all being a psychological issue - even Freud rightly pointed out that a child has very little control over anything in their life, so one of the very few things a child who feels disempowered can exert a degree of control over is toilet habits. And don't forget that a parent becoming distressed & giving more & more attention to this can actually be a form of conditioning that unintentionally encourages the child to exert control in this way, more & more.
However, only a very foolish & negligent parent would fail in their duty of care to check for a physiological basis to the behaviour, hence all my questions, in this post.
Last edited by Arky; 12-14-2012 at 03:30 PM.
Something else that just occurred to me is that you mentioned the child eats sprouts - some sprouts (e.g. alfalfa) contain canavanine, and, if consumed in sufficient quantities, this can give rise to auto-immune issues. The gut is a very major component of the immune system, and consequently, auto-immune symptoms can often occur in the gut.
Thank you so much for the in detail response. Most of the questions you asked, the answer is no. She's a super happy baby, so I've experienced myself for the past week. She doesn't have problems sleeping, except when she needs to poop, which can keep her up all night long. She used to have eczema, like the mother, but since they've change diets, its vanished. (They changed diets about 2 months ago). I want to answer this question before you may ask.... this was a problem before they changed their diet. Since they started feeding her solids, she's never liked pooping. They thought the diet change would help, and her poop IS softer, but still strained.
As for the sprouts, she eats all kinds, different everyday, and eats everything in moderation.
Now that we are writing this out, it does sound psychological. In every other aspect, she's happy all the time. These are great questions, thank you again for your response. If you have any more thoughts, let us know!
If you follow the conventional way of feeding baby, no wonder she is constipate. Oat meal is most likely the problem. Baby shouldn't be given cereal and parent should stick with mainly fruits beside breastfeeding. Smoothie would be great, you can add hemp seeds and nice variety of fruits.
Blessings and love
-Raw Angel Mom
“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
– Saint Maximilian Kolbe
ps: I was a lost sheep and i returned to the Catholic Faith. Please kindly discern any spiritual guidance by myself prior to October 1, 2012.
I'm a little confused. She isn't really a baby... she's 19 mo old. She can easily eat solid foods. She is still breastfeed, on demand, any time she wants. Otherwise, drinks only water. Mostly eats, fruits, smoothies, raw almond cookies/crackers, sea weeds. They don't think she's actually constipated. The poop is soft.
May I ask why oatmeal??? She doesn't eat a lot of it, only a very small amount, a few times a week for breakfast, accompanied by fruits. She's well within the age, even in this world, to the given cereals, I would think.
Thanks for your input!
My son had issues with constipation but turned out to be emotional fear of it. I kept giving him flaxseed oil to help him he was round 2 to 3. He bleed when he pooped and we went to get help and turned out he was holding it in so long it was getting compacted into his colon. The doctors didnt help but a friend of ours who was the same way when he was younger told us about his fear of it. so we tried different methods on the toilet that he enjoyed to make him fear it less and he sure got over it.
Don't give her bananas! They are constipating! If it were my daughter I would give her an enema...