So I’m starting my series of Just Ask Alice Advice Posts!
What better place to start than with poop? This is, after all, a parenting blog, & poop is prevalent at times & places we’d never expect. And my kids swear poop is always funny. (I’m not so sure, but I’ll just roll with it for now. My goal is to rein in their hysterical responses to anything remotely scatological by the time they’re in, say, college? I don’t think I’ll have much luck, though, because their dad still thinks farts are legit humor, & he’s 40.)
Did you know there is such a thing as an ideal poo? We usually know when it’s anything but normal, but we probably didn’t take a real interest in poo until our first kid was born. That is when you look for the color, consistency, & frequency, hoping it will give you some sign as to whether or not you’re a halfway decent parent. And if you’ve ever had a baby, toddler, or kid of any age who has had even ONE difficult bowel movement, then you will not laugh when I say that my husband & I have breathed huge sighs of relief & high-fived over a successful (ie: uneventful, totally normal, no tears) poo. A No-Problem Poo is not to be taken for granted.
So our youngest has always had a longer eat-to-evacuate time than our two others. The issue has seemed to be that his poops seem to be harder & more solid, less that perfect poo consistency that gut specialists describe as “smooth & soft.” I swear he must have a turn in his colon that is a 45-degree angle, but I have no idea how to verify that. He is our only child who doesn’t poop daily. At one point, almost 5 days went by, & I was doing super scary poop math in my head. When he finally did go, it was like my little baby was reliving the birth experience from my point of view. The amount of pain he was in was alarming, & the size of the resulting product was what my husband refers to as a “man poo.” He has taken photos. I will spare you.
So if you’ve never had to evaluate a poo for perfection, here are a couple charts I’ve sourced from online. There is something called the Bristol Stool Chart, & it was created by two researchers at the University of Bristol (I’m sure the university is delighted to have a poop chart–not a planet or a peace prize–named after it). “Normal” means “easy to pass.”
Our son would not poop for several days, & then he would birth this enormous Type 2 poo. How have we solved this issue without any medical interventions? With just a simple one-to-one combination of aloe vera juice & apple or white grape juice.
You can buy aloe vera juice at Trader Joe’s for $7.99, which is a great deal. Sprouts & Whole Foods both carry the same exact size in a different brand for $12. (None of them are marked organic, so I’m assuming they’re not.) Aloe vera juice has a very mild, slightly tart taste on its own.
So, to try to stay as organic/non-GMO as we can, we try to make sure the juice we mix with is. This is one of our favorites: Trader Joe’s Organic Unfiltered Apple Juice.
My friend’s dentist did recommend that white grape juice is less damaging to teeth, so we’ve tried that too, but the combo wasn’t as much a hit with our son. We think the sweetness of the apple offsets the slightly tart aloe vera better.
We usually do half & half with every serving for our little dude, so he gets this combo at least twice daily. When he has it regularly, he poops without any drama, & there is a shorter “colon transit time.” We have noticed that a few days skipped means a return to whatever it is his colon usually does.
Doctors also advise more fats in the diet to help with softening stools, such as adding in avocadoes & coconut oil. We did notice a difference when we were overseas & eating oiler foods that his stools were much softer & he had no problems passing them. And conversely, we noticed that when he drinks a lot of almond milk, he gets more stopped up.
Hope this helps for anyone who has a little one who suffers from difficult poops. This also works on adults! Here’s to happy bathroom time, ‘cuz that should be a basic in our lives!!
If you want to help your children be able to identify their stool types & discuss gastro health with you, this visual seems great for the little ones. You could post it inside a cabinet in your bathroom, & they could report back. 🙂 Because, hey, they might as well have a chart, if they’re going to talk about poo anyway!