The Poop Train

Let’s take a moment to talk about poop. I know it may be uncomfortable but poop can tell you so much about your child’s body (and yours). As a nutritionist there are several areas of the body that I focus on to determine if a person is digesting their food properly as well as to determine if there is a potential food allergy or sensitivity. These areas are the skin and bowel. Rashes, blisters and unhealthy skin say to me that I need to look into a possible food allergy or sensitivity and asking questions about a persons poop tells me so much about how their diet is affecting their body.

This may seem like an obvious statement but a person’s poop tells a lot about their digestion. Here are some questions that you may want to look into. Does your child poop every day? Is it painful? Does it take more than several minutes to poop? Is the poop in one long piece or does it look like rabbit pellets (this means they are dehydrated and constipated). It may seem gross but it is important to take a moment to determine if your child’s bowel movements are healthy (you may want to take a peek at yours too).

Once children are eating table food they should be having a bowel movement every day. If they are not, you should look into it. My 3 year old went from pooping several times a day during breastfeeding to very infrequently at the age of one. His pediatrician said not to worry but I knew better having worked as a nutritionist for over two decades. I paid attention to what my son ate and figured out that if he had any dairy in his diet he pooped every 5 days and when I removed all dairy he pooped every day. He may not have a “diagnosable food allergy” but he certainly has an issue (sensitivity) to dairy.

You may think that pooping every several days is no big deal but it is. Our bodies are designed to eliminate every day. The following are just some important reasons:

• Toxins have more time to hurt the wall of the intestine and potentially cause harm the longer they are in the bowel
• We do not re-circulate hormones and fat effectively when we don’t poop daily
• Constipation can cause low grade inflammation around the bowel that leads to a host of ill effects

For little children it is important to get them into the habit of sitting on the toilet to try and poop daily. For many, they dislike to do this because 1) it is boring and 2) it may be uncomfortable. You can tell your child that their poop is a train and their toots are a way of letting them know the train is ready to leave the station. This analogy has turned around my son’s bathroom habits. He now understands that when he gets that feeling and hears the toots, that means he has to go. Toot toot!

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