Bowel Management Thoughts
So I’ve seen too many moms say they tried to switch over to natural things only to find out (to their surprise) that their child was really impacted. This is very discouraging to me. Neurogenic bowels can be so complicated.
So I thought it was important to start a thread to discuss all these issues:
- how to know when your child is getting backed up
- how to prevent an impaction
- how to monitor bowels
- how to manage bowels
- personal tips on what has worked and what hasn’t
- personal experiences in general
Before we even start dosing up or down on anything, what are the basics? Neurogenic Bowel Management 101, if you will.
And obviously I’m no neurogenic bowel expert. I’m only an expert on Pooka’s bowels. So I will just share what I have considered important and how I have handled the various situations that we have encountered. And I’m asking that some of you will do the same in the comments section below.
So I consider the following points essential to our program:
- Plenty of fluids
- Plenty of fiber
- Introducing one food at a time
- Restricting constipating foods
- Supplementing with natural laxatives, increasing doses until we reached the right stool consistency & quantity
- Monitor daily stool consistency
- Monitor daily stool quantity
For me, this meant watching Pooka’s stool consistency when I introducing anything new. The first thing I introduced was organic powdered goat formula when my breastmilk levels went down. She immediately started straining and crying and producing tiny rock hard pebbles. So we stopped the formula immediately and went back to just breastmilk. The next thing I tried was raw goat milk. Same thing. Then once I introduced molasses – bingo, magic stool consistency! We didn’t encounter many more problems until we introduced solid foods. I was extremely conservative, even paranoid about foods. We started with fresh sweet potatoes, which provided just the right amount of fiber and made her stools even better. Since then we have introduced lots more foods, some successfully, others not so much. But whenever she goes from smooth consistent texture to compacted pebbly texture or even worse, loose pebbles, I know something is wrong. When this happens her quantity tends to reduce also, which to me means she is impacted (i.e. some of the quantity is getting left behind). This often happens when her fiber intake goes down. All I usually have to do is feed her a freshly baked organic sweet potato and we’re back in business. For us, stool consistency & quantity go hand in hand, but I do also keep track in general of how much she eliminates every day and if the quantity goes down I start to suspect something and increase molasses or fiber. For reference purposes, Pooka produces between 1/2 cup to a full cup of stool per day. And her healthy stool consistency ranges from soft cookie dough to peanut butter. My teenage daughter & I just had a very disturbing poop discussion to come up with those numbers/descriptions. My husband & the boys just stared at us in disbelief. Ha!
Obviously this is just my experience. What’s yours?