Wednesday, June 19, 2013

TMI post: Diapers, poop and white rice

In case you have ever wondered why I don't post many photos or share my daughter's name here on The Paleo Baby, this post pretty much sums it up. I'm going to talk about poop, and I don't want to embarrass her. I know she is only a baby toddler and does not know the difference, but some day she will know the difference.

So, without further adieu ...

Up until my daughter turned 18-months-old, diaper changes were mostly easy. We did have a difficult rash situation for a while, but once that cleared up it was smooth sailing. No diarrhea, no constipation, no poop concerns whatsoever. And then, all of a sudden -- bam. Ten days after we stopped breastfeeding she had her first blowout. Sticky, icky and all over the place. We both cried.

I thought it was just a bump in the road, but unfortunately her poop has been sticky and icky ever since. She does not have diarrhea, but it is gross. Diaper changes require many baby wipes and sometimes a bath. I've actually gotten pretty good at quickly changing these yucky diapers. Yay, me!

Anyway, my first thought was that the delicate balance of bacteria in her gut had changed when she stopped receiving breastmilk. I thought it would re-regulate and everything would be back to normal soon. I knew (and still know) that a bug was not to blame -- she has never expressed any discomfort or signs of illness, and there was really no other explanation. I called the doctor, and she concurred. After a couple of weeks, though, it started to get a little annoying. I started asking friends, and some definitely reported similar experiences. Others, though, said the end of breastfeeding triggered no poop changes whatsoever. Hmmmm.

I started looking around for probiotics, thinking she might need a dose or two, but I haven't been able to find one that I'm comfortable with. So, I just upped her intake of fermented foods. She eats plenty of sauerkraut, lots of pickles, as much kefir as I'll allow and even some yogurt now and then. It is not making a difference. These foods are super healthy, so I'm going to continue giving them to her. But still ... I wish they would work their magic!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was feeling somewhat desperate. I wanted to see normal poop. I wanted to just flush the poop down the toilet rather than tying the diaper up in a plastic baggie and taking it outside to to the trash can (oh, the things you long for when you are a mom). So ... I offered white rice to my paleo baby. GASP!

First things first ... she was not interested. She took a couple of bites and threw the rest on the floor. I offered it to her the next day and she did the same thing, so it became a non-issue.

I should probably say here that I am personally not a fan of the idea of eating rice and almost cringed  at the thought of giving it to my daughter. But my husband eats it, and he feels like it is pretty beneficial to him in terms of keeping his digestion in check. Also, quite a few paleo experts have deemed it a "safe starch" as of late. I'm not sure what that means exactly, and my (admittedly, minimal) research on the topic has failed to satisfy my curiosity or to justify its inclusion in a clean paleo diet. I guess to me, white rice is nothing but a highly-processed grain. It is drastically altered from its natural state and I don't see how it is paleo by any stretch of the imagination. But I was pretty much at the point with the poop situation that I didn't care all that much. White rice is void of nutrients, but I did not see the harm in giving her a small serving just to see. It is not like she is an adult with metabolic and blood sugar issues that could be aggravated by such a starchy and simple carb. Anyway, it was about as close as I was willing to get to the BRAT diet. I draw the line at toast (even though I love toast).

I suppose the point is that I never had the opportunity to find out if rice would help her because she refused to eat it. I am almost a bit relieved, but at the same time I really really want a reprieve from the icky sticky diapers! The biggest commonality I am finding between my daughter and other kids with similar issues is gender. Moms of girls are more often telling me that they had a similar experience, whereas as moms of boys are saying "nope, no poop issues after the conclusion of breastfeeding."

Not that this means a thing ... it is just what I am hearing. Am I worried? No. But I do wish there was something I could do. I am gong through wipes like crazy, and I find myself making sure that I time our outings around her poop schedule (because icky sticky diapers are a lot harder to deal with when you are not at home).

I'll try to report back if I see any changes or find a solution in case anyone else needs this information. Meanwhile, I would love to hear about your experience. Am I alone in this? Is there anything we can do? Also, what your thoughts on the whole white rice is safe starch thing? Am I just going to have to deal with this until she is potty trained? Thanks!!

11 comments:

  1. My son is 12 months old & his poops sound like your daughter's. He eats a paleo diet of eggs, leafy greens, broccoli, fruit, meat, & raw cow's milk. The only thing that makes his poops change consistency is if we give him pasteurized milk instead of raw--then he gets a little constipation. We cloth diaper and it's really annoying to change his poops/spray the diapers, but I've never suspected that something was wrong. I was always confused when ppl said they just dropped the poops in the toilet!

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    1. Hi Jenna! It is reassuring to hear from another mom with the same issue. Hoping things change for both of us soon!

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  2. Really, I hate to harp on eggs, but a stool change like that can indicate an intolerance to a food she is eating. My first had the smelliest, stickiest poops ever until we got rid of eggs, gluten (back in the day when that was an issue in our diets) and garlic. We knew about gluten and garlic because the first made her throw up and the second made her very sad and distressed. Eggs were a mystery until we had the ELISA panel done by US Biotek. The 12-month-old boy in the post above has eggs and dairy as potential funky-poop inducers. After a long time of funky stools, then the tantrums-after-breakfast set in that I thought were "normal" toddler behavior. No eggs, no more tantrums. I didn't expect that, but it was a good change! My oldest is 5.5 and she can finally eat eggs again without much of a problem! Hooray! We do not do feed her gluten grains and she never had dairy, so we don't encourage that even though she seems to tolerate it fine.

    My second does not do eggs (she gets hives--ugg) and she has always had "drop in the toilet" poops. I do give her a probiotic when I remember (we like Klaire Labs Ther-Complete) and cod liver oil.

    Now that you're not breastfeeding, it's much easier to sort out food intolerances because you don't have to wonder--"Is it the x,y, z *I* ate yesterday" or "Is it the x,y, z *she* ate this morning?" Eggs might take two weeks to clear the system, but it's easy enough to try. We didn't have any known food intolerances before having kids either. :-)

    Good luck figuring it out. The sticky poos are a not-so-fun phase of parenting. Oh, and in the meantime, bone broth and gelatin snacks might help matters a bit! Glutamine and quercitin supplements too (with a probiotic).

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    1. Hi Jennifer,
      The egg thing did cross my mind. I suspected it early on, but later ruled it out. We might need to try removing eggs like you suggested, though I dread it. She eats at least two per day and it is such an easy source of protein. I hope this is not the problem! Oh, and we do love bone broth!

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    2. Breakfast is so different without eggs. We manage though. Right now the go-to breakfasts are little home made chicken or turkey sausage patties with sliced fruit and a left-over from dinner vegetable. I just add salt, pepper and a generous scoop of dried or fresh sage to the ground meat mix. Canned sardines are kind of the "easy" snack. I've also added some of the beef braunschweiger from US wellness meats to get some organ meats in our diet, but while she gobbles it up, I choke on it. Liver is something I can only gag down--sigh. I've also experimented with some coconut milk (made fresh to avoid BP--jeesh), blueberry, gelatin smoothies and some chia breakfast parfait kinds of things, but usually end up back at the meat/fish-veg-fruit plate. It's hard for me mentally to eat dinner for breakfast, but I just do it and I feel better (and Z. doesn't know anything else). Even though she is still nursing, I can get away with eating some eggs, but I notice that she sleeps better if I do not. It's hard to balance my want for an easy protein vs. the need to avoid eggs. She also likes Hans all natural/organic chicken sausages. They likely have some honey in them, but it's such a tiny amount that I am fine with it sometimes. She loves artichokes and will eat them cold in the morning. Soup for breakfast is also a yum! I am all for collecting the 101 egg free/nut free breakfast ideas! I found a good list somewhere. If I come across it again, I'll send it your way.

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    3. I love these ideas! We are trying to get out of the "eggs every morning" rut. Since our supper leftovers always comprise the next day's lunch, I get stuck on what to serve for breakfast, if not eggs.

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  3. We had some really horrible sticky poops for a while when my daughter was still learning to eat solids. I feel like a nice varied diet is what makes her poops less sticky and easier to just plop in the toilet. And I do thinking eating crackers and/or bread is something that helps. However, whenever she has plenty of banana or sweet potato, it seems to really help her stool hold together.

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comment! My daughter cannot get enough sweet potatoes ... I make them several times a week. She was the same about bananas for a while, but lately she refuses them.

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  4. My daughter only had problems when I gave her foods that bothered her, which turned out to be turnip and I introduced raw milk and that's when I had problem.. I cut out the raw milk and she was fine so could maybe be the kefir? Is it milk kefir? too much of a good thing sometimes isn't a good thing..I give my little one rice once in a while, if she eats it often it gives her rash.. moderation ;)

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  5. I think all babies are so different. I have a 9 month old daughter that I'm mostly still exclusively breastfeeding. We didn't really start solids until around 8 months since she had zero interest in them. But before that, she ALWAYS had runny blowouts, and we're talking 3-4 a day. Minimum. I've become immune to the diapers, but her mountainous pile of laundry still gives me anxiety. I took part in a diaper study, and every single baby was breastfed only and had such different BMs. I know other breastfed babies can have the opposite problem, and go 5 days or more without a BM. I'm jealous :) I do have an overactive letdown, so I think that's the main culprit. She's happy, so I was never concerned (well, except when cleaning her soiled clothes. Sigh). But I had to cut dairy out of my diet almost immediately, because it would give her rashes and green poop. I do drink tons of kombucha, and she seems to love it too -- but the one time I let her drink it she had such acidic poop, her butt was raw afterwards. Poor baby. Same with kefir, I bought dairy free coconut kefir and she loved it but it did not love her -- grass green poops and a raw butt from the acid poop. Same with fermented cod liver oil. She has acid reflux, so I was hesitant to even try the FCLO with her, since it burns my throat going down, I can't imagine what it's like coming back up. All this to say, I have an extremely sensitive baby so it's easy to see what affects her and what doesn't -- so maybe all the fermented things (while extremely healthy/beneficial) may be affecting your little one's poop? The one thing that has definitely made mine more constipated is bananas. So if you're looking for a poop thickener, that may help. At this point, I wouldn't know what a "normal" BM is -- since we've never had one :) I'm just looking forward to the day when she is potty trained...because there is a huge difference between non-stinky (breastmilk only) runny poop explosions and foul, stinky, peanut buttery consistency poop explosions (from starting solids. ugh, throw up inducing). Lol.

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  6. Problems with dairy seem to run in our family...try an alternative type of milk for her yoghurt/kefir (goat/sheep) for a week, and see if it helps. Worth a shot, thought more of a pain to get a hold of.

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