The joy of a flushable poo!


I just know that any of my friends or followers who don’t have children will have just read this title and backed off in a hurry – hee hee! I know, I know, its probably way TMI but this is a subject that’s very close to my heart (well, very close to my toilet as well!) at this moment in time.

EJ has recently been suffering from many particularly delightful runny nappies and for about a week he was even taking out about 4 outfits a day (which did the poor, strained washing machine no good whatsoever). The thing was that, despite what, for all intents and purposes, would be described as diarrhoea under any other circumstances, he was absolutely fine in himself, running around, happy as the proverbial Larry. Then one day I suddenly had a flashback to a similar stage in JJ’s development and a quick web search revealed that both children had, most likely been suffering from a syndrome which is probably not all that uncommon and goes by the name “Toddler Diarrhoea” (not very imaginative, I think I’d prefer “Exploding Nappy Syndrome” or “Sudden-onset Heavy Internal Turbulence”*).

For those who may have a child with similar puzzling nappy contents, it may be interesting to know that this phenomenon can (and probably is) caused by diet and nothing to do with food intolerences. The information I have says that you should make sure your child has a good daily intake of fat (such as full fat milk, etc), take in a normal, but not excessive amount of fibre and, the one I’ve found to be most pertinent – too much fruit juice and/or squash. Apparently some of the sugars in fruit juices are not easily absorbed into the bowel and sit in there causing water to be retained which leads to those delightful runny poos!

It galls me to say this, but I think the advice about juice and squash is probably spot on as, since cutting back EJ’s consumption his poos are finally back to good old peel and flushables! I say it galls me as there is a bit of a back story to this. I realise that its pretty common good advice to give your children milk and water over other drinks for as long as possible but the hubster’s ex has, for years, made it her mission to rule over my step-daughter’s liquid diet with the flexibility of an iron girder. As a dental nurse I guess that’s not surprising and its the teeth themselves (rather than any real dietary concern) that is her primary – if not exclusive – battleground. Even now at nine, my step-daughter will not allow herself to accept so much as a sip of lemonade on Christmas Day – trained and groomed just like her mother’s agile whippets!

I vowed that I would never be such a harridan as a mother and allow my poor children some little pleasures in their young lives (or perhaps I’m just WEAK willed and don’t know how to say no!!). At the age of weaning and really quite quickly losing interest in baby milk, I tried in vain to get JJ to drink other liquids – cow’s milk or water. But no dice. He went through norovirus at about 6 months and I discovered that formula was simply exacerbating the diarrhoea he was suffering from and in the end invested in a few sachets of Diarolyte (blackcurrent flavoured). To my astonishment he downed a 7 oz bottle of the stuff (he was probably starving at the time mind you having gone cold turkey from milk for 24 hours on doctor’s advice) and after that I wondered and suspected that I could kick start his life as a consumer of non-dairy fluids by gently easing him onto some harmless (reduced sugar) Ribena. Hey presto, one hydrated and content child. Who then progressed to fruit shoots, smoothies and now, yes, I’m sorry to say I gave in the battle with (the very occasional!) lemonade! (Never Coke mind you, I’m not having sugar and caffeine in the boy’s system!).

Of course, along came EJ and, as soon as the powers of observance came into play he was damned if he was going to put up with that crap from the tap when his big bro was swilling the good stuff! Hence the fact that we practically by-passed weaning and went straight to the Happy Meal Fruit Shoot. Parenting FAIL!

Having said that, I do believe that it is worth the effort to attempt to wean him OFF the squashes by increasing the dilution little by little. He’s a much better drinker than JJ was and I know he’ll kick up a fuss but he will drink if he is thirsty at the end of the day.

And don’t lets forget solid poo = happy mummy!


For information, Toddler Diarrhoea is apparently more common in boys than girls and strikes between the ages of 1 and 5.

Yet another breastfeeding v. formula-feeding post!

bottle feeding

The fact that I’m writing a post which adds to the breastfeeding vs. formula-feeding debate may show that, despite that time being a thing of the past for me, and truly feeling that the decision I made to formula-feed my second child early on was the right one, I guess I do still have some defensiveness to express over the choice. This probably stems from having started up a parenting blog and consequently finding myself reading a wide-variety of other similar blogs which are written by (mostly) mothers who are bringing up children, in part, younger than mine and for whom this debate is still especially raw.

Pros of formula feeding over breast feeding for me: freedom; sleep; sociability (because I never felt comfortable about breast-feeding in public and my first baby was a fussy and frequent feeder); lack of pain; lack of the possibility of pain (through developing mastitis/blocked ducts etc); with sleep comes sanity – the ability to avoid depression; the ability for other family members to share the lovely close feeding experience; time for my elder child; the possibility of introducing routine into all our lives at an early stage; happiness and enjoyment of my first few months with a new baby; a happier, more chilled out baby due to a happier, more chilled out me.

The cons: the cost of formula (which does of course fall quite quickly after 6 months when the introduction of solids means the milk intake reduces); the faff of sterilising and having to carry lots of equipment to do so if I was staying overnight at my parents (although in reality the ‘faff’ that breastfeeders might imagine they are avoiding is little more than hardship of washing a plate or putting a ready meal in the microwave); the thought that my baby might be less robust not having taken in all those good antibodies (although he did get a week of colostrum and, at 13 months seems incredibly robust compared to my eldest who breastfed exclusively for the first 20 weeks – I also know that formula will have given him some vitamins like D that breast-fed babies don’t get); the fact that I will not have the same protection from breast cancer as studies have shown prolonged breastfeeders benefit from.

I do not believe that my formula-fed baby will suffer from lower IQ than a breast-fed baby. I lost my baby weight as quickly with my formula-fed baby as I did with my breast-fed baby so I don’t think the weight loss thing is relevant. I have a fantastic bond with my formula-fed baby and did so from a much earlier point than I did with my breastfed baby due to the whole more chilled out nature of our feeding experience.

The fact that breastmilk is such an amazing part of what our bodies do – changing over time to provide just the right amount of nutrients to meet the needs of the growing child – is awesome. However, the fact remains that formula is sold to the market as a safe and healthy alternative to breastmilk (it wouldn’t be let anywhere near the public if there were the slightest real concern about any kind of prevalent detrimental effects) shows that formula-fed children will grow up with very few (if any) significant disadvantages compared to their breast-fed peers. Environment, class, money and parental age are all likely to affect the outcomes for each and every child (which is not to generalise that children from lower class, more economically deprived backgrounds will always do worse educationally but just to say that there is certainly more liklihood of a difference for these reasons that there is because of the ways in which each was fed as a baby).

I was wondering what arguments other formula-feeding parents put forward for their own choices and came across this article called The Unapologetic Case for Formula-Feeding, which was written by an American journalist in response to the call for formula to be kept under lock and key in hospitals in New York last year.

Personally, I feel that some of her arguments are somewhat wishy-washy and easily shot down (I don’t believe that fathers have less of a bond with their breast-fed children just because they were unable to join in the feeding process for example). The point she seems to be missing is that the style of feeding should be an informed choice for each parent based on their own circumstances and nature. Am I a bad mother because I actively chose to stop breastfeeding my second child after five days (not frivolously and with absolutely the maximum information available)? Is it worth anyone criticising me for making this choice because some of my reasons were for my benefit (and only secondarily for the benefit of the baby)? Am I a pariah for choosing to stop breastfeeding more for psychological reasons than physical ones (I was perfectly capable of breastfeeding physically)? Will my much-loved baby, who will be provided with the best of everything we can afford and given all the time and intellectual input we can muster be living a doomed life because his chances of contracting two of the most common forms of inflammatory bowel diseases will be slighly higher?

Only time will tell.

Bit late but I’m linking this post to the #bloggirls linky: