Doesn’t it just break your heart when your little one can’t poop? Of course, it does! That’s why we do whatever it takes to remove the short term pain so our kids can have bowel movements. You’re probably familiar with Mirilax, Milk of magnesia, castor oil or colace. These are the most common stool softeners and laxatives that our children are drinking daily to help them poop. Using these tools in the short-term puts a band-aid on the problem, but doesn’t address the real issue that’s causing the chronic constipation.
Constipation is all too common of an issue these days for children and adults alike. Actually, constipation is so chronic in our society that many of us think it’s normal to poop every 1-3 days! (I’d have a chronic pot belly if that was me!) While pooping infrequently may seem “ok” because your doctor says it’s fine or your mom has similar bowel movement habits, I can assure you this practice is not good for your family’s health and should be addressed.
Think about a breastfed infant’s bowel movements. They eat the food most perfect for their body. They poop. They eat it again and poop again. It’s like clock work. Eat. Poop. Eat. Poop. Sounds like the life, right? Unfortunately, our busy go-go-go lifestyle doesn’t allow us to grace the throne every time we gobble down a snack, but according to the patterns of an unadulterated infant, we ought to be visiting it pretty regularly.
Why should we be pooping 1-3 times per day?
Bowel movements remove toxins and excess chemicals from the body. Our liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood and sending them to the colon to be eliminated through feces. For example, excess cholesterol is extracted from the body this way if you’re pooping enough.
Our bodies are capable of breaking down most food as it passes through the digestive tract, but some components are not digestible by humans – like cellulose in all veggies. So, if you aren’t pooping daily, these undigested food particles are just sitting in your colon, rotting. Eeeeewwww. Gross!
What goes in, must come out.
The common culprit of chronic constipation is our food choices or lack there of! The most binding foods include cheese, milk and white flour (pasta, bread, crackers). These foods lack the fiber and enzymes that little bodies needs to digest and eliminate comfortably and regularly. Beyond missing fiber, one key mineral most of these foods are missing is magnesium. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to chronic constipation, behavior issues, muscular tension, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, weakness and chronic thirst. Our body uses magnesium for a host of critical functions, but one very important one is to allow muscles like our large intestine to constrict and relax for bowel movements.
How to Boost Magnesium Intake?
The most simple way to get magnesium is from our diet. Magnesium-rich foods include:
- Swiss chard
- Black beans
- Brown rice
- Kidney beans
- Blackstrap molasses
But, for magnesium to be absorbed by the body, we also shouldn’t be overdoing it with other minerals like calcium. Eating an abundance of high calcium foods like milk, cheese and yogurt can reduce your little one’s ability to absorb magnesium because these two minerals compete for absorption in the gut.
If your family has an issue with picky eating (contact me for eliminating this issue!) and introducing new foods is going to take too much time, you can opt for a naturally sourced supplement to start like Natural Kids Calm Multi. Don’t go swapping out the Mirilax without your doctor’s input, but making changes to food and supplement regimens is also a good starting place.
Natural Kids Calm Multi
Food-based vitamin drink for children. The nutrition is extracted from a fruit and veggie blend plus quinoa. Sweetened with glycerin and stevia leaf.
P.S. I am not affiliated with Natural Vitality at all.