BunnyFufu’s Wonder Planet Guide to Making the Pirates Feel Better - Part Two (or all about going num
October 19, 2013
Posted By: Shaunescy
Well, poop. Fall is here again, as are the many tummy-crummies, colds and the annual bout with the flu. We've already lost our voices and spiked fevers. I hear tell of strep, pink-eye and lice. But let me get to the numero-uno reason that doctors see young kids this time of year.
It's poop. Or rather, the lack thereof. In the toilet. I mean, the poop is there, but it's stuck in there. Ack. Little kids get constipated! There, I said it. It's an issue, (or rather a non-issue) especially when they start school.
You know how you spent hours and days and months teaching kids to eliminate. But you also told them about privacy and modesty and germs. And once you got them to a place of potty independence, all you'd do is ask if they'd washed their hands after? And now you've sent them off to preschool or kindergarten and you think that it's all under control?
Well, it is. It's under the iron-curtain-style fist of control of a deeply single-minded people-pleaser, who has not only gained the ability to vacate your premises for a few hours 3 days a week (or full-time all-week) while you go to yoga or meet friends for coffee. But he/she has escaped your watchful poop-patrol as well. And the news that has slipped by, is that there is no evacuation in sight.
Signs and symptoms:
- A marked increase in burping
- A general squirmy-ness when the kiddo is focused on a game/toy/activity
- A smaller appetite
- An increased irritability when you ask if they need to use the potty
- Frequent sensation that they have-to pee, without actually peeing
- Less than three bowel movements a week
- Bowel movements that are hard, dry and difficult to pass
- Pain while having a bowel movement
- Abdominal pain
- Traces of liquid or clay-like stool in your child's underwear — a sign that stool is backed up in the rectum
- Blood on the surface of hard stool
Take your child to a doctor if the constipation lasts longer than two weeks. That is to say, go to the doctor if you notice a number of these symptoms for a couple of weeks . . . AND For Sure, go to a doctor if you know your kid hasn't pooped for a week!
But also, don't beat yourself up about it. Kids are weird and picky eaters sometimes. As they gain independence in the really fundamental intake and output functions of their bodies, as well as a sense of modesty and privacy, it is easy to get off track. Just buy a bunch of fruits and juices and whole grain snacks and go get some exercise. And make it funny. Tell them about how everyone poops. Mom, Dad, grandparents, their friends, the doctor, the mailman, the teacher, dogs, deer, squirrels, the whole lot of us.
A rundown of things that you can do to help this pass.
Diet. A lot of fluids and high fiber foods. Fruits and fruit juices (prune, apple, pear, grape), vegetables (broccoli, peas), beans, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Good stuff in = good stuff out. Limit foods that can increase constipation, such as fatty foods that are low in fiber. Milk and Cheese - favorites of the under 5 set, can be very colon-blocking.
Exercise. Have loads of outdoor time. Hike the M (or attempt part of it), run around at the park, walk the neighborhood. Minimum 30-60 minutes daily. Getting the body moving, gets everything moving.
Make it part of the daily ritual - to at least 'try' to poop regularly. Make it a thing. Attended to like brushing their teeth. Potty time can be before or after bath-time, after breakfast or dinner, whatever time works best for all of you. Just make a scheduled time for 'trying'. Of course, encourage potty-time whenever s/he needs to as well.
Medicine. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend medication to help. Many children take Miralax regularly. It is a non-habit-forming over the counter medicine. It is tasteless, odorless and doesn't add volume to their drink of choice. They won't even be aware that they've had it. All it does is help deliver more water to the colon.
None of what I've written here is to be taken in lieu of medical advice. I simply am telling you a thing or two that I know about kids and pooping. It is my deepest hope that it helps you. Constipated kiddos are really uncomfortable and very likely embarrassed. They'd rather play than poop and are sometimes really in a bind.
All my best, BunnyFufu ~ The housewife
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