I have a confession; I examine my children’s poop. No, no, not like you are visualizing, I don’t pick through it with tweezers. I just observe its shape, consistency and yes, its odor. I know to some this probably sounds crazy and may even make some of you gag with disgust.
For me, this began after studying the digestive system in Holistic Anatomy and Physiology: Learning about the digestive system, it’s complexity, it functions, and its importance to overall health and well-being. I mention “well-being” because there have been numerous studies that show a direct correlation between an unhealthy gut and mental illness, depression, anxiety and yes, childhood behavior. Studies have not concluded if this is a brain to gut connection or a gut to brain connection. All they have concluded is that gut health is important. When I refer to guts, I am talking about the gastrointestinal tract which is home to all the beneficial bacteria that primarily acts as the support team to your intestinal lining. A healthy “microbiome” (aka various beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract) will promote health, protect from disease, help fight infection, facilitate proper nutrient assimilation and aid in controlling inflammation.
Lets get graphic! Here is a fantastic infographic published by Health Works to help you interpret you and your child’s bowel movements.
Also, watch for these symptoms as they may be signs that your child’s Microbiome may be out of whack:
***Always consult with your child’s health care professional if you feel intuitively nudged to do so or if their symptoms do not improve with simple dietary changes. Many of the following symptoms may be signs of various other health conditions. ***
- Consistently irritable
- Unusually weepy
- Sleep problems including difficulty falling and staying asleep
- Appetite changes
- Frequent colds and cases of flu.
- Has a shorter than normal attention span
- Easily angered or agitated
- Depression & anxiety (always seek professional assistance if you notice any signs of depression or abnormal anxiety)
I wouldn’t just leave you hanging with these symptoms and information and no recommendations as to what you can implement today to help your child’s gut rebalance, heal and develop to its fullest potential!
Here are some kid-friendly foods that aid in healthy digestion and help promote a healthy inner ecology. Add these foods as a snack or to meals:
- Apples & Pears (peel on for added fiber)
- Baked Potatoes (make this a fun meal by setting up a bar with different toppings!)
- Beans, beans, & beans (I recommend introducing these around 8-10 months)
- Lentils (I recommend introducing these around 8-10 months)
- Yogurt or kefir
- Any edible berries with seeds (a handful of raspberries has as much fiber as an entire apple!)
- Plenty of fluids. Limit juice to a maximum of 4 oz. Per day.
Focus on offering water as it will aid in fiber assimilation and proper elimination.
Fermented foods are also great for kids. You can find several recipes in our Fermented Food Guide. Free download when you sign up for our newsletter!!
Endless Love & Gratitude,