Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Better Out Than In...A Tale of Infant Constipation

So I tried to be Mother of the Year and breastfeed Bryce as long as a possibly could. It lasted 5 months. I guess I should give myself a pat on the back for that one, because using formula, no matter how expensive, is a life of luxury. Need a bottle? Instantly have one! No pumping, no lugging around breast milk everywhere you go and worrying about it spoiling, no popping out your boob in public while your baby screams and draws attention from every corner of the county. BUT, I know now why they say "breast is best". It is God's beautiful miracle that you can produce the exact thing your baby needs nutritionally. Its so easily digestible, and there is little waste. Formula on the other hand, is man-made, imperfect, and can be pretty harsh on a tiny baby's tummy. We learned that the hard way.

Bless his heart, Bryce suffered constipation from the moment I took him off breast milk. This was somewhat expected and thought it would last MAYBE a week. Every doctor said "it just takes time". No one told me it would last 3 months. And by "constipated" I mean would NOT poop for days unless I gave him suppository in which he would instantly poop out a turd that could rival a grown man. He would strain, grunt, and often scream and cry.He even took a trip to the ER because one time blood ran out after he passed a stool. In the ER they did an "internal exam" and determined there was no defect to his bowl or rectum to make pooping so difficult. I was told so many different things by so many different people that it was very frustrating.Meanwhile, my poor baby was being tortured every other day just to poop. I have decided to chronicle my experience with this is in hopes that maybe I can help some other frustrated mommy out there.

Things I was told to do to ease constipation (in order in which I was told them by medical professionals):

1. 2 oz of white grape or pear juice after every bottle. (I did this for about 2 weeks with little to no improvement so I moved on to step 2)

2. Start on solids, specifically fruits and veggies high in fiber like pears, peas, prunes, apricots, etc. (I did this for about a month with some improvement. By improvement I  mean he would actually poop a tiny mouse pellet.)

3. Once he was 6 months, they told me to give him prune juice. (This was waste of time. It literally ran right though him. Within an hour of drinking the prune juice his diaper would be filled with prune juice! No poop came with it!)

By this point, I was highly frustrated. I was being really inconsistent with his diet b/c I was so scared I was making it worse. Juice? prunes? cereal? I had no idea. So I took matters into my own hands. I decided I was just going to have to experiment and mix and match methods until I found the right combo.

The first thing I did was go back to juice every couple of hours. I also decided he was old enough to eat solids 2-3 times a day. I also decided he was old enough to eat the stage 2 size baby food(twice as much as what he was eating before). I decided to cut out as many bottles as possible from the equation. After he eats food, he should get  water or juice, not a bottle. This replaces an entire bottle. Sometimes he would refuse the juice or water so I would only give him 4 oz of formula vs 7-8. It was also around this time that his "sick pediatrician", Dr. Ostrum, (He sees Dr. Keathley for his well child visits but can never get in to see her when he is sick, so he always sees Dr. Ostrum instead) suggested to me to switch back to name brand formula. I had been using the Walmart/Target brand of Enfamil GentleEase. Whats the difference? They are the exact same thing. I guess it isn't the same thing because she insisted I switched back to the Enfamil brand. After about 48 hours on this "treatment" he pooped!!! For the first time in 3 months he pooped all on his own. My proudest moment as a mother so far! Then he did it again! And again and again and again! He is a twice a day-er now!

I have no idea what caused the somewhat sudden change. Maybe it was a simple as changing back to name brand? Maybe its because he is getting quadruple the amount of solid food than he was getting in the first round? Maybe its because he gets less formula? Maybe because I give him prunes for dinner every other night? Maybe its all of it combined. Or maybe it just took some time just like the dr's kept saying. I have no idea.

I have taken him completely off juice to see if he would get constipated again and so far he still is a pooping machine! I've let him start to eat crackers and puffs and this hasn't caused and constipation either, so I'm hoping his little tummy has finally regulated itself and we never see the suppository isle at Walgreen's again!

Sorry this was long and very descriptive, but hopefully some mommy out there can use my experience and help their little one as well!

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