14 answers

2 Year Old Bowel Movements

My daughter is 2 years, 4 months. She has always had loose stools from the time she was a newborn. She also always had 2-3 BM's a day. I chalked it up to the breastfeeding and as she started eating food, I saw her BM's become a bit more solid (and were down to 1-2 BM's a day). However, I am now beginning to get worried because a true solid BM is now a rare occurance. Most times it's loose to VERY loose. She's always been a big milk drinker, so we've tried cutting that down. For a week, I tried taking milk out of her diet and I did notice a difference. All she drank was water (she's never had juice). She did continue to eat other dairy products that week (like yougurt and cheese). I'm now allowing her to have milk at lunch (just 6-8 oz). However, her BM was solid in the morning and then loose in the afternoon (after drinking the milk 3 hours earlier). I'm a bit concerned here as I see potty training in the future and I feel she should be a bit more solid. I'm also concerned about a possible lactose intolerance. I should point out that she never seems to be uncomfortable or in any pain and also isn't that gassy...so that is where I'm not sure if this is an issue where she IS lactose intolerant or she simply just has too much dairy in her diet. Has anyone else out there experienced this? I have consulted the nurse at the pediatrican's office and they said to take all dairy out to see if there is a difference before they would actually be concerned and run tests. I'm just not sure what is actually "normal" at this point to be at a point where I should get her to a doctor. Any suggestions would be much appreicated. Thanks!

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So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the advice; it certainly made me feel a bit better. FYI - she does eat lots of bread (whole wheat), oatmeal and bananas almost every morning and drinks no juice. The milk she does drink is organic. Right now, I did stay firm with taking milk away for almost 2 weeks, but she managed to get some at the daycare. Just taking it away for that time did seem to help a bit. So, I think just taking the large milk intake away just took a couple weeks to settle her down. Now she actually ASKS for water! I will continue to monitor for a few more days before I allow her to drink more milk. And then we'll go from there to see what her response is and which route (from all your suggestions) is best for her. But for now, it's looks SO much better! Thanks so much for everyone advice. I have printed out your responsed to keep handy in future.

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l wouldn't remove the dairy products. She really needs that calcium for bone growth. Milk doesn't make a child go BM more often unless she's lactose intolerant and the diarrhea would be accompanied by cramping and upset tummy. Not to mention it would be more than 2-3 times a day!
It sounds like you need to add more foods to firm her up! Try giving her a banana and oatmeal every morning. It should firm things up in no time.
Also- remember that her BMs are getting smushed in her diaper and may end up looking less solid when you change her diaper. If she went in a potty chair it would probably look more formed.
Good luck.
S.

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I have a son who is 2 1/2 years old and he also has very loose stools. And I have not been able to figure out why. It never crossed my mind that it was because of milk. When he is at daycare all he drinks is milk. When he is at home we give him orange juice and other liquids at night and on the weekends. I include bananas in his diet hoping that would help, but it does not seem to make a difference. I would be interested if anyone had any other thoughts or experiences with this.

My son was the same way. Check at your grocery to see if they have milk with the Lactase Bacteria in it or ask if they have Acidophilus Milk. Also if you give her yogurt, make sure it also has the Live Culture Bacteria as well. Not all yogurts are equal.

Funny story about my son. We went to visit his grandmother (dad's mom) and just couldn't find the milk in her area. She insisted on giving him milk. I told her if he had a problem, she would have to clean it up. Well, oops, he did all over her bathroom. AND yes, she did clean it. Well, no more homogenize milk after that at grandmas. That one episode didn't seem to bother him, but granny had a lot of cleaning to do. :)

Several bowel movements a day is actually very healthy - going only once a day really allows things to build up inside which is not desirable. Stools should move easily. If the consistency is too loose and liquidy, that could indicate a problem. I don't think there is any reason she really needs milk in her diet - you can get the necessary nutrients through other sources, either continuing with cheese and yogurt or adding a delicious nutritious supplement to her diet that will give her all the nutrients she needs without the problem from milk. Doctors often recommend that people cut out all kinds of foods when it's really not necessary and when it becomes a huge hassle. I see so many posts here on Mamasource from moms whose doctors/nurses/nutritionists have told them to remove all wheat, soy, dairy and whatever else from their diets - it might seem to solve the problem, but then the moms go home and can't find the "right" foods for their kids, can't send them to birthday parties or take them to restaurants, etc.! What a nuisance! And what a punishment for the child! There are people who appear to be "lactose intolerant" who really can tolerate a lot more than they think, especially if they have the right balance. My son no longer is "lactose intolerant" because he's got the right supplement - and what a joy it is to see him be able to go out with friends and eat what he wants! He started out throwing up and getting a rash from dairy when he was little, and now he can eat anything! So I would be very careful about being pressured to remove everything from her right now.

If her BMs look like diarrhea and cleaning her is a problem, then you may need to cut out the milk but keep in the cheese and yogurt if those aren't causing problems. Potty training will actually be much easier if she can move her bowels easily. Kids get frustrated sitting on the potty waiting for things to "happen" - and they often don't understand about pushing out the poop. If they are regular as well as moving softer stools, it's easier for them to train, and it's healthier!

Good luck and let me know if you want to talk more.

l wouldn't remove the dairy products. She really needs that calcium for bone growth. Milk doesn't make a child go BM more often unless she's lactose intolerant and the diarrhea would be accompanied by cramping and upset tummy. Not to mention it would be more than 2-3 times a day!
It sounds like you need to add more foods to firm her up! Try giving her a banana and oatmeal every morning. It should firm things up in no time.
Also- remember that her BMs are getting smushed in her diaper and may end up looking less solid when you change her diaper. If she went in a potty chair it would probably look more formed.
Good luck.
S.

If I were you, I would challenge her for a dairy allergy by taking all dairy out of her diet for 2 weeks. Then very slowly add it back (yogurt is a great first). Both of my girls had milk protein allergies as infants. It's hard to remove it completely, but in order to do it correctly you really should be very diligent in no dairy for the whole 2 weeks.

Hi, my 2 yr old had some of these problems too. She had a milk and a soy allergy and loose stools until just recently. We do not do whole milk or soy milk, but she can now eat yogurt and cheese. I would try to increase her whole grains as that worked for us (think granola!)and bananas. We also do not serve juice so that helps. The one thing that her gastroenterologist told us was that looser stools can make potty training easier (which I thought the opposite) because kids that make only firm solids can hold it in for days. Also, and please excuse the disgusting nature of this, but you should regularly check her stool for sandy type stuff (usually means allergy to something she's eating) or blood (also usually means allergy but should be brought up to doctor and most likely will need to be sent to lab for anylization just to be safe). Good luck to you.

J.,
It certainly sounds to me like a milk intolerance (myself and both my kids have it to some degree) and milk intolerance is actually very common, especially for those of Western European heritage (most people just aren't bothered enough to notice and stop). I would remove all dairy from your daughter's diet and keep in mind that allergens stay in the body for 3 weeks so you'll need to go at least that long to know for sure. Be very conscious of reading labels - milk is hidden in a lot of prepackaged foods and vitamins. Soy milk, rice milk and other nut milks are widely available in most grocery stores and provide the same amount of calcium as regular milk. There are also some really good milk free cookbooks on the market if milk turns out to be the issue. Good luck!

This sounds like lactose intolerance to me. However, taking out all dairy isnt the solution, but taking out pourable milk is. Most people with lactose intolerance can eat processed milk products, like cheese and yogurt, without incident, but drinking milk causes a problem. She still needs her calcium, so continue giving her yogurt and cheese.
I also wonder if she eats enough fiber... A diet high in things like whole grain bread bulks up stools so they are more well-formed.

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