Warning: Lots of poop talk ahead. But once you become a parent, poop is a daily topic of conversation.
When Charlie was 4 1/2 months old, he once went 9 days without pooping. Not pooping for an extended period of time is common in many infants, so I wasn't too worried because he was only consuming breastmilk. But we took him to the doctor anyway, who stuck his finger up Charlie's butt. Charlie did not like that at all, but he did poop the next day! Here he is, happy as can be after the biggest poop of his life!
Since then Charlie has had very regular bowel movements, but for the past couple of months, Charlie has had problems with constipation. He sometimes strains to poop, and passes hard pebble like poops. When I was in the hospital after Olive was born, Charlie became really constipated (stressful events can cause constipation). My mom could see the poop inside his butt, so she massaged him in that area, a huge poop came out, and Charlie shouted, "Grandma!!" because he felt so much relief.
Since then we've regularly been mixing probiotics into his night time bottle, and that seems to have helped. But this past Sunday, Charlie kept telling us he needed to poop all day, and we knew he was constipated again. We tried the usual remedies like massaging his belly, running around outside, and giving him pear juice (he won't drink prune juice), but nothing seemed to work. So Mr. Bee braved giving Charlie a perineal massage followed by a bath, because warm water relaxes the bowels. Tears streamed down Charlie's face as he stood in the bath water, pushing as hard as he could. He was crying out in pain like he was in labor, saying, "I can't do it!" But Mr. Bee and I cheered him on and told him he could do it, and he finally did pass a big, hard poop.
We kept telling Charlie that he did it, and Charlie was so happy and proud of himself. But that really must have been one painful poop! Poor Charlie.
We did a lot of research into constipation and found out that the main causes are diet (too much dairy and sweets, not enough fiber), and not enough fluids. We've been implementing the following changes that hopefully help prevent constipation in the future: 1) reduce dairy intake (Charlie loves milk, yogurt, and cheese), 2) increase water intake, 3) increase vegetable and fruit intake (esp. pureed pears which he likes to eat), 4) increase fiber rich foods like double fiber whole wheat bread, 5) mix in 1/4 tsp probiotics into his morning and night time bottle, 6) mix in breastmilk into his night time bottle.
Since breastmilk is a natural laxative, I've been mixing some into his night time bottle. I don't know if it's just coincidence, but Charlie pooped three times yesterday and twice today! As long as I have enough milk, I'm going to continue putting some in Charlie's bottle. Maybe it'll help keep him regular and even healthier this cold season.
If your toddler is constipated, these are some things you might try:
Has your child ever been constipated? What treatments worked for you?
Constipation part 1 of 51. Toddler Constipation Remedies by Checklists
2. The Ins And Outs of Poop, Part 1 by Mr. Bee
3. The Ins and Outs of Poop, Part 2: the 7 types of poop by Mr. Bee
4. Ask Dr. Tom: My child gets constipated when we travel (or even when we go to church) by Mr. Bee
5. Treating Constipation with Dietary Changes by Mrs. Bee