no poo

Posted on: 27 December 2013

So, Ashelyn is constipated … I think?

I mean, no poop for as long as a week and a half is a pretty clear indicator of constipation, right?

She’s always had a slow gut; one poop every few days was our normal. Her previous record was ten days, but she was five months old then and exclusively breastfed. I was more mystified than anxious because I knew I couldn’t have done anything wrong.

Those were simpler days, when the fibre content of her diet wasn’t on my radar. Ashelyn eats well enough, but I can never be bothered to push her to consume food she rejects by serving it in different ways or sneaking it into known favourites.

Even now, the only sign of constipation is the actual lack of poop. There’s an odd absence of associated symptoms – no bloating or apparent discomfort, normal appetite, normal pees. When I prod her belly she giggles. She’s her regular cheerful self, running and jumping and dancing all over the place, all the live long day.

Except that diaper changes seem to terrify her. It’s like she expects them to hurt. (And she says as much, sometimes. She can indicate her diaper area and say, “Hurt!” Unfortunately not specific enough to be very useful. Does it hurt now? Or do you remember it hurt once before? Or are you afraid that it will hurt?) Diaper rash has never been a problem. And we mostly just wipe her with water and cloth.

Her “poop signal” hasn’t changed – it’s a specific facial expression and crouch – it just isn’t followed by poop anymore. There’s some straining and complaining going on when she does this. I can’t tell for certain whether she’s trying to go, without success, or fighting to hold it in.

I wish I knew which it was.

As for how this came to be, my best guess is that some time ago Ashelyn had a painful poop, or a brief series of painful poops. That plus her ever-increasing agency equals – unfortunately – poop resistance. And the rest is a vicious cycle.


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