For the past month, Dan and I have talked about and worried about Elly’s bowel movements. She went from a child who excused herself from playtime to go poop in her diaper while rummaging through our bookcases to a child who was scared to go poop and would try with all her might to withhold it.
Her normal pattern was interrupted by a bout of constipation and annals fissures. It was painful. She cried. I cried.
Physically, she was fine in less than 48 hours.
It took a lot longer for Elly to heal emotionally. She was terrified to go poop. She started to withhold her bowel movements. When she could no longer hold it in, she cried.
We tried everything.
Our pediatrician advised us to increase the fiber in her diet. Thankfully, popcorn is high in fiber and is also one of Elly’s favorite snacks. However, getting Elly to eat fruit has always been difficult, since most fruit is squishy. Elly won’t eat squishy food. She just plays with it. So, I increased the amount of smoothies we drank and even added ground flax seed to it. This worked a bit too well. It had me popping Pepto Bismo pills one night.
We also tried talking to Elly. We explained that she should go when she had to go. We promised her that she would feel better if she did go. We told her that everybody had to go, even Santa Claus. This had the biggest impact on her. She seemed to understand this concept and would often tell us that certain people pooped. But, it didn’t translate into her wanting to go poop.
We even had my best friend, who just happens to be a doctor, talk to Elly and draw her a picture of her tummy and her maze (colon).
We also tried reward bags filled with candy, cards and crayons. Though Elly was happy to eat the candy, pigs were going to fly before she was going to go poop just for a few pieces of candy. Despite loving chocolate more, Elly saw no reason to perform for a piece of chocolate either especially when all she had to do was ask Rene, our beloved next door neighbor, for a Hershey kiss. Rene loves to give Elly chocolate.
So what did work?
1. Removal of the iron drops she had been taking because of slightly low iron levels.
2. Minor diet changes.
3. Swimming. (odd, yes. Elly would withhold for days. I would take her swimming for 2 hours and without fail she would have to go poop.)
5. Constant reassurance.
6. Breastfeeding. (It sure is nice to still have this trump card in my pocket. It will go away soon as some days she only nurses a handful of times, but until it does it gets used to cure what ails her).
Of course, we still have to tackle the small issue of where Elly goes poop, but right now I’m just so happy that she is going poop.