M.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI on November 06, 2010
I Weaned My DD and She Is Finally Not Constipated for the First Time in 2 Years?
I'm in my third trimester and reluctantly weaned my 2 year old DD this week. She was totally fine with it, but I was sad! Anyway a weird thing happened - for the first time in her life she is not constipated. She's actually had a bowel movement every single day this week (and two one day!). Not diarrhea either - just well formed, normal colored BMs like I've never seen before. My daughter has been constipated since she was born - a bowel movement every 10-14 days her first year, and then never more frequently than once every three days for her second. All of the pediatricians we talked to of course said she wasn't constipated, that breastmilk is never constipating, but we knew with us this was not the case. DD's BMs were nearly always foul-smelling and frequently hard her first year and I knew this wasn't right but her ped assured me it was fine.
Anyway I didn't worry about it because her BMs haven't been painful and she hasn't struggled with them in a long time. But when I stopped breastfeeding on Monday and all of the sudden her BMs normalized I was shocked. I can't find any information anywhere on the net about this. What in the world is up with my breastmilk that has caused my DD's constipation for 2 years?
I should add that I'm lactose intolerant, so my dairy intake has always been very limited. We eat a very healthy diet with little to no processed foods. I am also soy intolerant, so there wasn't any soy in my breastmilk. DD drinks a lot of whole milk - especially this week - so I can't see this as being an allergy to milk proteins.
I will talk to her ped about this, but I'm bracing myself for the same old explanation about breastmilk not being constipating, etc etc. I was hoping there would be another mom out there who knows what this could be. I'd really like more information as baby #2 is scheduled to arrive very soon and I will be breastfeeding again. TIA :)
ETA: I do realize the beneficial makeup of breastmilk makes it a very unlikely candidate for constipation, and that is why I was hoping that there was someone out there knew something about this and could tell me if there's anything I need to watch out for and talk to my doctor about in case it has something to do with the way my body makes milk.
And I have heard it all before - breastmilk has no waste, she's not constipated, etc. But the thing is, my daughter has been eating (heartily) a varied diet of solids for the past 20 months, so she's had plenty of waste to expel and still hasn't been expelling it efficiently - hence the problems. Oh and we've tried everything diet-wise until her ped finally told us at 18 months that we could either put her on a prescription medication for constipation for the rest of her life or just let it go since it wasn't causing her pain anymore. She did strain and had pain occasionally for her first year/year and a half and then the pain subsided but the straining persisted until literally this week. That is what is so Weird about this situation and why I wrote in.
Another side note- I have IBS-C so I had chalked my babe's constipation up to an unfortunate genetic trait until the bizarre switch this week.
E.B. answers from Duluth on November 07, 2010
No good answers for you...but...if I'm correct, IBS generally has no known cause, it's one of those process of elimination diagnoses? While I'm a firm believer in modern medicine, I also think we as consumers need to be very well-informed and advocate for ourselves--so that said, perhaps there is just something medical science can't explain about IBS that has somehow passed to your daughter? I have horrible anxiety when I'm pregnant, and breastfeeding totally relieves it; my anxiety is worse before my menstrual cycles, and I still can't get a doctor to do anything to help or even a doc to confirm that it's hormonal in origin--duh? So I guess I tend to think there are a number of things that medicine hasn't gotten around to explaining, and, from what I remember, IBS is definitely one of them.
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S.C. answers from Fort Wayne on November 06, 2010
How interesting! My oldest always had troubles with constipation. She was breastfed until she was 6 months and would only have a BM about once a week. I know that breast milk doesn't create as much waste in the body, so there's less to come out. If she's on solids, which I'm sure she is at 2, then her BM shouldn't have been watery. How odd! I suppose if she hasn't had any major problems, then I wouldn't worry too much. I would keep an eye on the new baby to see if happens again. I would bet that you will get the same old explanation from the pediatrician. I think I would switch pediatricians. My oldest always had problems with her stools (hard, large, hard to pass) and I went through 3 different doctors before someone would take me seriously. I finally found one that would listen and help us out. It's been life changing for my daughter.
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R.M. answers from Modesto on November 06, 2010
My guess would be that she absorbed most of what was in the breastmilk and her bowel was sluggish waiting on enough waste to actually form to poop out. It would be a firm stool due to the fact that it remained in her intestinal tract for awhile waiting. Possibly, she was not getting quite enough fiber to move things along? It is nice that it's now working the opposite as usually when you go from breastmilk to formula or milk that will begin the more constipating diet.
Maybe with your next new arrival try paying more attention to your fiber intake and see if that helps this one to poop more frequently. Congratulations for being able to nurse that long while being pregnant, and on your up and coming blessing ;)
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P.M. answers from Tampa on November 06, 2010
If she wasn't straining or having severe pain due to not pooping it was not constipation. Breastmilk is extremely nutritious and not a bit is wasted. She wasn't having loads of poops because her body was able to use almost 100% of what she nursed.
That is actually quite common. Poop is WASTE, things the body cannot use. Breastmilk is almost 100% pure nutrition without waste.
There you go - mystery solved. Congrats on nursing so long, hope you do the same with baby #2!
A.C. answers from Madison on November 08, 2010
As someone who suffered from constipation issues my entire life--I am now 42--I never knew until I was 40 that I was allergic to milk casein (was breastfed, drank lots and lots of cow's milk, loved cheese, never ever thought my issues could have anything to do with cow's milk), have severe gluten and soy intolerance, and am also intolerant, to various degrees, to 21 other foods. The thing with food intolerances is, if you don't know about them, they will continue to hurt and wreck your body until it gets to a point--usually in middle age--when you get sick or have really weird symptoms and you AND the allopathic doctor have absolutely no idea what's wrong with you.
That's what happened to me. I got sick with 5 different, really weird symptoms/issues and my allopathic doctor couldn't tell me why I was sick or how I got them. So I went to alternative healthcare and found a wonderful naturopathic doctor, who helped me figure out that FOOD was what was causing the vast majority of my issues.
The best thing you could ever do for your daughter is to take her to a naturopathic doctor and have a food intolerance/sensitivty screen run (allopathic doctors will not check for food allergies unless you have been in anapalytic shock). And I got lucky; although I have an allergy to casein in cow's milk, I don't in goat or sheep and so can consume those products.
It is thought that I have had the milk casein allergy since birth and, because it wasn't detected, all the other food intolerances then came about because I developed Leaky Gut. My daughter also has constipation issues and has her entire life (she's 10). I did have her IgA tested, and she has mild gluten intolerance but is not intolerant/sensitive to soy, egg, or milk casein. But I still want to have her tested with a bigger panel.
J.M. answers from Madison on November 07, 2010
I would second the food intolerance idea, wheat is another common culprit. The other thought I had was, has her water intake increased significantly since she is not breastfeeding? Also her consumption of fruits or vegetables? Did you start her on prunes or pears this week? It can be a bit difficult to figure these things out, but pay attention if she begins to get constipated again, and you may be able to figure out a food sensitivity.
K.G. answers from Fort Wayne on November 06, 2010
how much fiber is in your diet? while I breastfeed my dd was never constipated. I did consume a ton of water and ate prunes but she has always been a heathly pooper. Maybe you just did not have enough water in your BM. With #2 increase your water and fiber (from fruit & veggies) dont do OC tabs or anything like that.
E.H. answers from Minneapolis on November 07, 2010
I would try to pinpoint foods that are in your diet that she doesn't eat because the first thing that comes to mind is a food intollerance. (Her reacting to something in your milk). You said it is most likely not dairy or soy but there are other foods that can cause reactions. Does she eat any nuts? Did you while you were nursing? How about corn or eggs?
You also mentioned she is drinking a lot of whole milk this week, could she have a slight sensitivity to it making her poop more? (for other kids it might be diarrhea, but since she isn't a frequent pooper it is showing up differently). Does she have any other signs of an allergy or intollerance? Here is a list of common symptoms from kellymom: rash, hives, eczema, sore bottom, dry skin; wheezing or asthma; congestion or cold-like symptoms; red, itchy eyes; ear infections; irritability, fussiness, colic; intestinal upsets, vomiting, constipation and/or diarrhea, or green stools with mucus or blood.
It will be interesting to see how things work out with baby number two. Regardless of poop issues, you are doing a great thing for your little ones!