Like most kids, Paige has always loved fruit. I used the Baby Led Weaning method with her and some of the earliest foods she ate were soft bananas, strawberries and raspberries (of course I did give her vegetables first; cooked carrots, broccoli, butternut squash). Paige loves fruit so much she often insists she start eating it before we buy it at the store (ok, this is my fault, I should be more stern! But, I mean, they do give fruit out for free to kids at the store, to be fair!)
As you probably already know, I follow a low FODMAP diet to help limit my IBS symptoms. It’s worked pretty well for the fifteen years I’ve been on the diet. I have never truly pinpointed what it is about my body that causes me to be so sensitive to so many foods. By sensitive I mean that many foods cause me to have gas and feel bloated (and look like I’m four months pregnant). I don’t completely avoid FODMAPs, as this is almost impossible, but I limit them as much as I can and honestly this has helped quite a bit. I tend to believe I have an overactive microbiome, and that perhaps I have a small case of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) but this isn’t really scientific, I’ve never been tested. I do know that my immune system is pretty amazing, so whatever it is, I appreciate all that my microbiome has done for me (because as we know, much of our immune system is based on the health of our microbiota). What am I getting at here? Well, I had a vaginal birth with Paige, and I breast fed her for a full year (ahem, I pumped and fed her bottles of my breastmilk). Studies have shown that both vaginal births and breastfeeding can initiate microbe transfer from the mother to the baby. This is beneficial because it’s a fantastic way to boost baby’s immunity. That being said, I’m in no way shocked that Paige seems to be exhibiting some of my same Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, even at the young age of two (almost three!).
Since birth Paige has been a good pooper. I can’t think of one time she has ever been constipated. Not. One. Time. On average she poops twice a day. Rarely it’s once, sometimes it’s three or even four times. I don’t consider this abnormal, but sometimes I worry about all of her pooping because I feel like she poops more than she eats! About six months ago (maybe more) Paige started complaining of “tummy aches”. Nick and I noticed they coincided with her poops. She would complain, then five to ten minutes later she’d have a poop. So, as she is aging and her poops are getting bigger (yeah..sorry, TMI) she is noticing more pain from gas and other things going on down there. Her poops have always been very soft, almost diarrhea but not quite. Recently we decided to get strict with her about her diet and try a low FODMAP diet. It’s worked for me, maybe it will work for her. The girl could literally eat fruit all day if we let her, and (shame on us) we’ve let her before. I feel bad saying no when my daughter asks me for more fruit (although I know too much of a good thing isn’t good), but now we are definitely putting our foot down in hopes that the frequent soft poops, gas and bellyaches are reduced. I’ll be sure to delete this post before she hits middle school (haha).
Eating a low FODMAP diet is one thing when you’re adult, but quite another when you’re feeding a toddler…I feel bad saying no to foods, especially when they are healthy foods. If you follow a low FODMAP diet you’ve probably experiencecd a scenerio like this; “You can’t eat garlic or onion? But it’s so healthy for you!”, or “You can’t eat apples? They are so good for you!”. Yeah, I know, most low FODMAP foods are healthy foods. But, when you have IBS, your body doesn’t necessary do well with these foods, so they may be healthy, but not the best choices if you don’t want to be gassy and bloated all day (or for some, plagued with constipation or diarrhea!). This Halo Top ice cream? The worst! It’s loaded with FODMAPs. Paige wanted to eat some so I gave her a couple bites, but then had to throw it away because she had a melt down when I wouldn’t give her more (and let’s be honest, I shouldn’t have been eating it either! Poor Nick).
Here are some things we’ve had to change in her diet (NOTE: We have tried to work with our babysitter to make sure she follows these guidelines too, but it’s tough when she is feeding her other kids one thing, and then has to say “no” to Paige in favor of something else);
- Limit to only 1/2-3/4 cup of fruit a day
- No blackberries
- NO WATERMELON (this tends to be a real trigger for her)
- No juice (we gave her juice while potty training, ugh, not good)
- Only 1/2 apple at a time
- No guacamole (she loves guacamole, poor thing) — Guacamole not only has high FODMAP avocado, but also garlic and onion. We sometimes give her mashed avocado with lime juice instead (2 Tbsp)
- Limit some of her favorite higher FODMAP veggies (ugh, I hate to do that!)
- CAULIFLOWER (one of her triggers)
- Brussel sprouts
- Read labels very carefully. Some of these ingredients are hidden triggers;
- Chicory Root
The goal is less gas, and more solid poops (less sticky and pasty. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever cleaned a toddler toilet after a BM, or tried wiping their butts, it takes about 10 wipes!). It’s nice that Paige basically warns us that a poop is coming by saying “I have a bellyache”, but at the same time, what child wants a bellyache every time they have to poop? Especially when that child poops two to three times a day.
Ok, that’s a lot of poop talk. Have you ever experienced putting a toddler on a low FODMAP diet?