Help Prevent Constipation With This EASY Snack!
It's an embarrassing topic: pooping! But did you ever think your world would revolve so much around your kids pooping schedule?! We giggle now, but when your child declares, "Mom, I have to poop!" just before leaving or the baby has a blow out right after you got her buckled in the car seat there is likely a few moments of high stress and frustration followed by the funny realization that our lives revolve around our kids pooping schedule.
From day one parents sneak peeks at the poopy diapers because poop tells a lot about what's going on in babies digestive system. We quickly learn what's normal for our child and what's not. Some babies handle breast milk or formula perfectly while others struggle by trying every option out there (but that's a whole different article!).
Right now I want to focus on when kids (ahem and everyone else!) eat mostly solid foods and depend on water for hydration. This is when constipation can start becoming a frustrating and painful experience for the child and family. The first time a child experiences constipation they learn that the poo hurts when they push it out, so they start holding in their poo which makes constipation worse. Parents get frustrated because holding in the poo is not logical but the child is avoiding pain so in their mind they are making a wise choice. Getting your child to push the painful poo out is a topic meant for another day.
Let's focus on preventing constipation!!!
Remember babies on breast milk or formula don't need extra fiber - consult your doctor if you have concerns as constipation in babies can be a sign of an underlying health issue.
The best way to prevent constipation is to eat foods that have significant amounts of fiber. There are two kinds of fiber in food that we need: soluble (breaks down with water in our body) and insoluble (does not break down completely with water in our body).
Pieces of soluble fiber are like little sponges that soak up water through the digestive tract and end up in the poop: making the poop soft and bulky = ideal poop!
Pieces of insoluble fiber are like tiny gentle scrubbers that clean as they get pushed through our entire digestive system.
In the end, the fiber ends up in the poop with all the other gunk & toxins then gets eliminated when we "go #2".
Insoluble fiber is like having a Roomba for your digestive tract!
And when you DRINK LOTS OF WATER the soluble fiber moves everything through better and creates the ideal poop - it's like those new fancy Roomba's that also mop your floors!
To prevent constipation:
- Eat more fiber
- Drink more water
Fiber Sources: You can purchase fiber products that are chewable or powdered but I suggest increasing fiber by eating foods that already have it like nuts, whole grains (oats!), seeds, fruits (berries) and vegetables (peas, cauliflower, dark leafy greens). As always, do what works for you!
My favorite natural fiber boost is Flaxseed (whole or ground). Flaxseed has a nutty flavor and can be added to whole fruit smoothies, salads, soups, and anything that has peanut/nut/seed butter. Plus you can "hide" the flaxseed better by mixing it into the butter before spreading it on the sandwich, celery, etc.
Ground or Whole?
- Ground flaxseed provides both insoluble and soluble fiber plus healthy fats that help reduce inflammation – you get all the benefits flaxseed has to offer when it’s ground up.
- Whole flaxseed provides only insoluble fiber which is great for those little scrubbers to do their cleaning but you’ll also want some soluble fiber to bring the water to bowels so the poop is soft and bulky.
Here's a SUPER easy recipe that my family is obsessed with!
Peanut Butter Granola Bars - aka "Peanut Butter Poops"
(Growing up my brother & I called them Peanut Butter Poops and the name kinda stuck!)
Mix 1 cup natural peanut butter, 1 cup old fashioned oats, 1/3 cup flaxseed (ground or whole), 1/2 cup honey & 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk in medium bowl. Spoon 12 equal amounts into Granola Bar Pan & press mix down. Place in freezer for 30 min. then pop bars out & enjoy! Store in airtight container in fridge for 5-7 days. *Honey is not safe for babies under 1 year*
Dosing: Slowly increase fiber intake by eating one "Peanut Butter Poops" a day plus trying to eat more fiber rich foods listed above. Also drink more water. Most kids devour these granola bars so that part is easy! For amazing tips on helping kids eat vegetables check out https://snackswithjax.wordpress.com/ - Sarah is awesome!
Take it slow, try different foods & enjoy a more "regular" routine! If the stomach starts cramping chances are you/your child ate a little too much fiber, so cut back but keep drinking all the water. Keep experimenting with the amount of fiber consumption and soon you will figure out the right balance – and you will be so relieved when you do 😊
***I'm not a doctor or a registered dietitian so consult them for professional advice***
P.S. I want you to know that I really “held back” all the bad puns and jokes, butt I still said them in my head and laughed out loud while writing this blog post. Thanks for reading!!!