So, I am guilty of falling into what I’m going to term “the chicken nugget trap”. Because Life. My kids will eat hot dogs, chicken nuggets, Mac & cheese, rice and sometimes spaghetti- but only without sauce, add extra “cheese sprinkles”. Night after night, dinner time has been a rotation of these 5 meals. If I didn’t have time to make them, we would order these same foods at restaurants. They are young and picky but at least they’re eating, right?
But this past year has been even more challenging than usual. We have been remodeling our new home for 9 months and we have moved 3 times. Craziness equals less cooking and more Uber Eats.
(Warning: poop discussion ahead!)
On top of this, my 6 year old son, B, has been having daytime accidents; like excessive wetting and sometimes he can’t make it to the bathroom on time when he has to poop. The poor kid had to wear a pull up to Disney last week. After months of worrying and researching, we visited a Pediatric GastroIntestinal specialist. With X-rays and background information, the doctor put together that B has “chronic constipation”. It’s time to talk about poop. Basically, chronic constipation is when a child is so backed up that his stool has filled up his colon and stretched it completely out of its normal shape. Hard stool builds up and gets stuck and only liquid (diarrhea) can pass around the hardened stool. This leads to leaking before they can make it to the toilet. Also, the nerves get less sensitive and can’t relay to the child that a bowel movement needs to happen. In B’s case this huge mass of stool is sitting on his bladder and he can no longer distinguish between that pressure and the pressure meaning he has to pee- hence, continuous and frequent accidents.
The health consequences of chronic constipation are serious but so are the mental and emotional consequences. B, like many 6 year olds is smart and observant. I cannot underestimate his observation of cues and understanding of adult conversations. His 3 year old sister has stopped wearing pull ups at night so she is completely potty trained. B is struggling with this and prior to the diagnosis felt that he was doing something wrong. He is like a different, more confident and less sulky child after the GI appointment. This very busy and prominent Orlando doctor shared with us that 70% of their patients are dealing with chronic constipation. 70%!!!!!!!!
So, the solution? Constipation Management. First, we need to do a full clean out- B is going to take 5 capfuls of Miralax and stay on a clear liquid diet for 24 hours. Afterwards, he needs to religiously take Miralax every morning for 3-6 months (depending on how he responds to it and the doctor’s orders). And most importantly: DIET CHANGES.
So here we are. Do you know how hard it is to make dinner (or lunch, or breakfast!) for a family of 5 with 3 picky kids???? Of course you do. Chances are that’s why you’re still reading this. I have searched and searched for family meals that are kid friendly. I’ve found little so I’m going to start sharing my journey into this food foray.
****This is by no means a diagnosis or treatment. I am simply sharing my family’s journey and struggle with chronic constipation. If you believe your child has a similar issue I highly suggest making an appointment with a GI specialist.
I’d love to hear your story and any food suggestions you may have for my family!! Peace and love, Jenni