Moms of Breastfeeding 14-18 Month olds...PLEASE READ and HELP!!!!!

Updated on July 23, 2010
J.S. asks from Orangevale, CA
16 answers

Hi moms! I really need your help! I am having quite the time with my 16 month old daughter and her pooping patterns/tendencies. I need to hear about your children’s poop habits so I can decide if I really have something to be concerned over or if I am just being a worry wart mom. Here is the “issue” that she is having. My daughter was exclusively breastfed until she was 9 ½ months old. When she started eating solids then, she was eating “finger foods” as she has a strong gag reflux and anything pureed or remotely soft in texture made her gag really bad. Prior to starting solids, she was a very consistent pooper – going at least once a day every day. When I introduced solids, her poop patterns began to change for the worse. By the time she was 12 months old, she would only poop every 4-5 days and it would be a real production. She would scream, cry, push very, very hard, throw up, etc…. She wasn’t constipated per say… her poop was soft but VERY large in size. It rivals what an adult is capable of producing. We have continued to have this same problem ever since. My daughter is a very small and selective eater. She does not get a ton of fiber as she prefers grains and protein. I do my best getting fiber foods into her but I do not want to make eating a battle. I give her flax oil every day to attempt to keep things regular and moving. However, left to her own devices she will still only poop every 4-5 days. Her pediatrician keeps telling me that she needs to be on a laxative but from doing research I know that this is the WORST thing I can do as her system will become reliant on the laxative and will stop working properly. I have been giving her glycerin suppositories every 2-3 days to get her colon working. The suppositories do work and she will poop but not without pain and a real struggle. It is really hard to know whether something is physically wrong with my daughter and that is why things don’t seem right. It could also be that it hurts to poop for some reason and therefore she holds it in. The longer she goes without pooping, the more her colon will stretch and the more waste it will be able to hold onto. This is why I have been trying the suppositories so she doesn’t go as long between poops. The problem still is that it just hurts her so darn much to actually “go.” She is also getting very fearful of diaper changes because she thinks I am going to give her a suppository. We don’t have the best health insurance and I am stuck with the pediatrician. I just feel like this isn’t at all normal and needs to be look into further. Her ped also suggested that I stop breastfeeding cold turkey which she somehow feels will make my daughter want to eat more solid food (including fiber foods) and help her poop better. This isn’t an option for me. That would do more harm than good in more ways than one. My daughter is only breastfeeding when she goes to sleep (nap and nighttime) and when she wakes up. She also nurses in the middle of the night as needed. Please share your experience with me. I know that there is no “norm” per say but I need to hear what other toddlers in her age range who are still breastfeeding are doing. Thanks so much moms!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!! There is some really wonderful advice and recommendations from all you moms. I really appreciate it and am going to try several of the suggestions. Fingers crossed for a good "end" result!

Featured Answers



answers from Boise on

Try a probiotic. I use it when my son is teething and has acidic bm, when he gets really loose bm, and when I, myself get irregular in any way. It just seems to regulate whatever the issue is.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Miami on

Dear J., What a good momma you are. Here are some thoughts and some recommendations I received in the past when we went through constipation episodes. MY LO is also a toddler, so we went through elements of your story recently:
1. cold chamomile tea in a bottle for your LO.
3. cheerios in the morning or another cereal with some fiber.
4. lots of fruit -- watermelon, grapes, pears....
5. strained cooked tomato -- have her eat the tomato part (a dr. recommended this).
6. You take flax seed oil as well so she gets it in your milk.
7. check your own diet --
8. lots of water during the day
9. lots of exercise/outdoor activity during the day
10. whole wheat and fibrous crackers/pretzels

GL. Hope this helps.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I wouldn't use a laxative, I just don't like the idea of substances like that in my toddler's systems. BUT, laxitive foods are totally fine. Also, a friend of mine is a very naturally-minded nurse and she likes to cut a child-size suppository in half or thirds. She said it always works within 5-10 minutes.
Take this to your ped and tell him that you won't be force-weaning your daughter until she's ready. There's no evidence that extended breastfeeding keeps kids from eating solids and all the evidence shows that the milk provides a lot of nutrition that solids can't give.
especially this part:
In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:

* 29% of energy requirements
* 43% of protein requirements
* 36% of calcium requirements
* 75% of vitamin A requirements
* 76% of folate requirements
* 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
* 60% of vitamin C requirements

I was just reading some of the other responses...apples are a BIG no-no for constipation. Apple juice is fine, but apple sauce will make it worse. Prunes are great, but apples are a binding agent. The "BRATY" diet is for diarrhea: Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast (any bread), Yogurt. Stay away from these foods if constipated.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I know you're hesitant but have you tried the laxitive?

I only ask because it sounds as if part of the problem is your daughters attitude towards pooping (I don't mean it as a bad thing, it sounds like she's scared, which means she holds it, which makes the problem worse - it's cyclical).

Anyway, if you can show her that pooping doesn't have to be painful (via the laxitive), maybe you can change her attitude.

I do know that constipation (this sounds like a kind of constipation to me) is VERY hard to stop and if you don't treat it "right" then it'll just get worse and worse.

There was an article in Parents magazine a few months ago about this issue. Check out back issues in your library.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would think that dairy or gluten could be the culprit. Don't stop breastfeeding! Your doctor is an idiot. That can only help her, not harm her!!! My older DD had peanut butter poop until I eliminated dairy and then it was normal. A couple of friends of mine have taken out dairy it's helped their kids tremendously.
Both my kids are still breastfeeding. I don't think that has anything to do with it other than your kid is luckier than most to still be breastfeeding :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would NOT stop breastfeeding. Opposed to cow's milk (which can cause constipation), breastmilk tends to keep stools soft, and as you have mentioned that does not seem to be the problem AND it doesn't seem like she is nursing instead of eating solids.
Explore trying an oral laxative and see if that helps, but I have to agree with you that this doesn't seem normal, especially for the amount of time that this has been going on.
You pediatrician doesn't seem very knowledgable about extended breastfeeding and he doesn't seem to be trying very hard to get to the bottom of this... so I would DEFINITLY look into switching. I know you said you are limited, but he cannot be the ONLY ONE, right? Even a family doctor might be a good alternative.
Other than that you may DEMAND a referral to a gastroenterologist for further examination, if you can.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Stationed Overseas on

Is she on any kind of cow's milk? Dairy can cause constipation. If this is not a concern how about yogurt with fiber in it? I had a friend who had this very same problem with her older son and found that if she gave him yogurt with fiber added to it it made a world of difference. I was still BF at this same age but we did not have any pooping problems. Usually once a day and just a bit of grunting. We also had texture issues when it came to eating and up until last month we were still on some purees (she's 21 months now). I disagree with your ped in saying that stopping BF will make her eat more solids and stopping cold turkey will really be upsetting for both of you. How about multi-grain cheerios? My DD loves them. Or if she's eating pasta make sure it's whole wheat because it also has a higher amount of fiber. Hope it gets better!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

There are some great suggestions below, I'd echo the probiotic suggestion and the idea of giving her some different foods to help move things along. My son has recently discovered corn on the cob, and popcorn! Both do wonders to get things moving thru the digestive system, whole beans and rice also work well for him and you daughter may like the texture since none of it has to be pureed.

I also use hemp seeds and)or chia seed in our foods. They both have Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential oils and fiber. You don't need very much for a baby, I put it in oatmeal, you can mix it in rice, beans, yogurt, baked goods, etc.

Fruits are another thing to try. Nectarine are in season and super tastey right now :)

Our 6 year old has had similar expeiences with pooping. He will hold it for days, and has done that for several years. He is finally getting to the point where pooping isn't a battle, which is a relief, I will credit the hemp and chia for some of it as well as just a maturation on his part. He doesn't like how his tummy feels when he holds his poop for too long and is starting to understand cause and effect, his tummy always feels better after a poop.

You said your daughter likes grains, make sure you are giving her whole grains (brown rice, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, etc) all those add fiber, flavor and texture to her diet.

Also, don't stress so much over it, if her health isn't effected she will find her own rhythm. This may be TMI but I'm 44 and don't poop everyday, even with all the fiber I eat, sometimes it is 2 or 3 days before things move along.

Hugs to you both :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

We had this problem with my daughter who is EXTREMELY tactilely defensive in her mouth. She stopped eating at about 18 months and didn't start voluntarily eating again until she was about 7. She was diagnosed with autism, sensory integration issues and developmental disability, but I digress. She has always had digestion issues just like your daughter. We tried everything under the sun (years of it, she's 20 now) and finally came up with some solutions. 1. Kondrumel - its mineral oil that is in an easily taken and digested form. Comes in a white bottle with a blue label. It "greases" up the colon and makes it easier to pass the bm but it doesn't have to be put in manually so no fear involved. 2. Remove all milk products and replace with soy. Meghan, my daughter, will only drink soy milk now. Cow milk products are very binding for people with sensitive bowels. 3. Lots of clear liquids. 4. Benefiber in EVERYTHING. You can put it into her food and it dissolves completely. She won't even know it's there. 5. When it is really bad (not every day) you can try Senecot. We used it on Meghan when she actually went for over a week and a half without a BM. It is all natural and works overnight and doesn't have a lot of chemicals in it. One other natural laxative is (don't laugh) sauerkraut liquid. Lots of people won't touch it but I LOVE sauerkraut so it was always a no brainer for me and it works remarkably well.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Try ground up flax seeds....that works for my kids!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chico on

my daughter went through the same thing. She is now 21/2 and still breast fed but when she was about the same age as your daughter she was having the same issues. She would only poop every several days and it was big and painful. She mostly ate protein and grains ect....
Don't stop breastfeeding! That is not the problem.
I started to give her more fruit and diluted fruit juices and that helped some. It made the poop a little smaller and softer so that it did not hurt as much.
But the biggest thing that has helped is actually giving her more WATER. I thought that she would just ask for water when she was thirsty and I always left a glass out for her but she hardly drank any. I guess I thought that she was getting enough liquids form my breast milk. When my doctor asked me if she was drinking enough water I realized that it was hardly anything and he said that she might be dehydrated and that could be causing the problem. so now I make a big effort to get her to drink water throughout the day and it has helped more than anything. She now poops everyday or every other day and it never hurts. It isn't easy to get her to drink a lot so we make a game of don't let daddy see you drink this whole glass he might want some and daddy will say "hey don't drink my water" jokingly. I also put it in a tiny, special glass so it isn't a lot to finish every time and also she likes the little glass. It doesn't always work and I don;t push it if she isn't into it. I just try again a little later. You just have to do it all day.
Another thing to try which helps me with lots of different aliments is Homeopathy. It works great, is simple to give to children, tastes great, has no side affects and you can order your remedy online or pick it up at your local natural food store, where there is usually someone to help you find the remedy you need. is a great site to help you find a remedy at home. You could also talk to a naturopathic doctor and they would not tell you to stop breastfeeding and would give you some natural herbs and suggestions instead of laxatives and suppositories.
She will get through this. I have 2 more friends who went through the same thing and both of the kids are fine now...without laxatives or any other prescription drug or intervention.
I do, however, understand your concerns and worry I had the same ones. It is awful watching them in pain as they go.
Please try my suggestions and let me know if you have any more questions about any of this. all the best to you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

The pain with stooling might be an anal fissure. Babies do get them and they hurt like the devil when you try to poop, which leads to holding, which leads to larger/harder stool, which leads to even more pain... Be gentle when the suppository (I know you know that but if it's a fissure the insertion could add to the pain). I agree with the probiotic suggestion (natural foods stores usually have several option for baby probiotics) and I agree that giving a laxative a few days a week to help her dilated colon go back to normal would help. You can wean her off of it when her stools are smaller in diameter. One thing I would NOT do is cut out the bf'ing. Your breastmilk is probably keeping her stools soft at this point. Good luck. so hard to see the little ones in pain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't have toddler this age, but I did just have an appointment with a Pediatric Gastroenterologist for my older daughter for similar issues. I think his advice is applicable here and the written information he provided us stated it was for children as young as 6 months.

First thing is that you daughter is probably witholding her poop. Since it has been painful, she just doesn't want to do it. Of course the more she witholds, the more volume is built up and the more it will hurt. Vicious cycle. The long-term effect of this (and this is where we are with mine) is that this damages the receptors at the end of the bowel that signal her body to poop. Basically, she won't know when she has to go and end up having poop accidents when she is older. Also, the back up of poop can remain even after a bowel movement. The doc explained that when a kid waits so long to poop not all of it will come out. That can cause inflamation and other problems.

More fiber in her diet. For my daughter it was recommended 20 grams at least per day. You should check the recommended amount for your daughter's height/weight/age. If she likes grains, make them count. Whole wheat bread (my daugher likes the double fiber Orowheat), brown rice, Barilla Plus pasta (yellow box, much tastier and better texture than whole wheat pasta), etc. Eliminate white grains (bread, rice, pasta)

Lots of liquids, but no more than 1 cup of milk per day. Milk is binding. Yogurt is fine though.

Avoid constipating/binding foods. You probably know of the BRAT diet for diarhea. Well basically, avoid/limit those foods until this problem is under control.

Stool softener, not laxatives. Laxatives can cause other issues, bodies can become dependent, and because they 'make' you go, they are generally unpleasant. Miralax is not a laxative. It is a stool softener and works locally and directly with the poop so there is no chance of becoming dependent. It is easily mixed with juice and adds no taste/texture so getting your daughter to take it is no problem. It will keep the poop nice and soft so it is easier to pass.

The last thing suggested to us wouldn't apply to you since your daughter is not yet potty trained. :)

I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My son was starting to have the same type of problem, not as sever as you are stating but he wasnt having an easy time going poop either. After awhile of trying different things and foods we followed my doctors instructions and gave our son some miralax in his cup with some water or whatever liquids we could get him to drink. In a few days things were fine and after about 2 weeks of it we gradually stopped using it and everything was fine once again.
I understand you have concerns, but many children go on things like Miralax and DO NOT become dependant on it. You said you aren't willing to give her a type of laxative. I cant imagine how you think that is so much worse than the pain and now fear that she is experiencing because of this. Miralax would help her in a way that does NOT make her fear a diaper change and her body would be no more reliant on the Miralax than you are making her on the suppositories. I understand your desire to keep nursing but maybe a sippy cup once or twice a day so she could get a bit of extra fluids and a little Miralax would help her and once the fear of getting the suppository is gone maybe she will start pooping on her own. Yes the suppositorys are "working", but what if she is trying to hold it in even more now cause she doesnt want you giving her another one. She doesnt unserstand once she goes you wont do it again. She just knows she doesnt like it and you KEEP doing it. I am not trying to be mean just giving you an opinion from the outside, but you are worried about all these things and the fact of the matter is you may be helping her to continue having the problem.
Give her some prunes, pears and peaches. Those things are soft enough that she should be able to chew them not there still in soild form so she doesnt gag. Try a cuppy with a little bit of Miralax and water in it for two weeks. No suppositories and just see if that helps her out a little. If it doesnt then go back to what your doing if that is what you think is right, but I think this will really help her. Lots of moms have posted for similar problems and ALOT of moms have said the same thing i am saying. I've been there and I understand where your coming from, but trying this isn't going to hurt her. hopefully it will help her and you can all get back to easy living. Good luck i hope you didnt think me harsh Im only trying to help.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Please, please....listen to your pediatrician. I know you won't like this answer, but I agree with her thoroughly. I breastfed both my children and I know how hard it is to let go of that bonding process but your daughter needs to learn to supplement herself and her body will not tell her what to eat as long as you continue to nurse, especially if she's a picky eater. Also, use a stool softener. They exist for a reason and once she becomes "regular", you can wean her off and I promise, she will do just fine. It may be difficult for a short while to do these things, but stay strong and everything will pan out right. No pun intended. Good Luck.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions