She Says… Poop (or lack thereof)

I deal with poop on a regular basis. The baby’s. The dog’s. My own. Today, for instance, I’ve already cleaned up one of Owen’s poopsplosions (you know, the kind where it begins to creep out the leg hole of the diaper and threatens to drip all over his outfit, my outfit, whatever wrap/carrier we’re using, etc.), and I’m about to walk Schnitzel to the vet and am hoping (?) to pick up a poop sample on the way. And it’s only 9:00am.

Recently, though, Owen’s had a bit of a change in his pooping schedule, and it threw me for a loop. Mostly because I think it was my fault, but I’m not entirely sure.

It all started when the pediatrician recommended I give Owen oral vitamin D supplements (since he is exclusively breastfed). Apparently in recent generations there has been an increase in rickets, which is a bone issue that is a result of a lack of vitamin D. And since most of our country is vitamin D deficient (and it isn’t transferred through breastmilk), many pediatricians and doctors are recommending vitamin D supplements. So there’s a liquid form of vitamin D that’s available at the drugstore called Di-Vi-Sol. You give the baby a dropperful each day. There’s also a super concentrated form of vitamin D that you only need to give them a drop of each day, so you can put it on your nipple or the nipple of a bottle. I went to the drugstore to pick it up the other day, but they didn’t have the super concentrated form, and actually all they had was Poly-Vi-Sol (also a liquid vitamin supplement made by the same people who make Di-Vi-Sol). It has the vitamin D he needs, as well as a bunch of other vitamins, plus iron. I called the doctor’s office to ask if that was safe/recommended, and they said yes. Apparently he doesn’t need those other vitamins, but they can’t hurt, and they mentioned that the iron would be good for him as well since he is exclusively breastfed, and many people are low in iron even if they don’t test as anemic. So I brought it home.

Since the stuff is a dark brown, sticky liquid, I figured I’d give it to him the first time in the bath, in case it all came right back out. Day 1 = success. He looked shocked when I put it in his mouth, and sort of gulped/coughed until it all went down. I had a drop of the stuff on my finger, so I decided to try what I was feeding my baby. WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. It is beyond vile. I almost threw up, and was impressed that Owen took it like a champ. Day 2 = he did fine again. Day 3, Owen swallowed the mouthful, and then his eyes went wide and his face went red, and his little body started heaving like he was vomiting. VOMITING, not just spitting up. He heaved and hurled and screamed until it all came back up in a sticky, yellow, bubbly mess. The poor thing wailed like someone had just dropped him on his head, and nothing would make him feel better. I rocked him, I nursed him, I wiped his mouth out with a burp cloth. I felt horrible.

Now, back to poop. Starting around this day, Owen got super fussy. He is definitely in that 6 – 7 week peak of fussiness, so I chalked it up to regular fussiness. But it got bad. And I realized he wasn’t pooping. Like, at all. He had gone from pooping at almost every feeding (or at least 3 – 4 times a day) to not pooping at all! And it went on like that for 3 days! FINALLY, he pooped. And boy, did he poop. After some quick Googling and a call to my mom, I surmised that the iron in the supplement may have stopped the poor kid up. Believe me, I know that feeling (hello, pregnancy… and post-pregnancy… and, ok, while I’m being honest, pre-pregnancy…). That stupid supplement had not only choked my child almost to death (or so it seemed), it had also constipated him and made him fussy/gassy FOR DAYS. Honestly, that was sometime last week and although he’s pooping a bit more regularly now, I found a weird dark black poop in a diaper yesterday and I BLAME THE VITAMINS.

I asked around to my other mom friends, and it sounds like only about half of their pediatricians prescribed these vitamins, and since I know you can get vitamin D from sun exposure, I vow to leave my baby half-dressed and take him outside for 10 minutes a day to get his vitamin D instead of pumping him full of vile medicine. I truly believe that my breastmilk should be able to give him everything he needs, isn’t that how nature intended it?

Do you give vitamin supplements to your infant?

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39 responses to “She Says… Poop (or lack thereof)

  1. oh man! i took 3 months of iron pills last year and it was AWFUL (mostly b/c of the lack of pooping. hahaha!). i did a bit of vit d in the winter but not super regularly because i wouldn’t remember. now my doctor has me on b12 but i never remember to take that either! i mostly just try and eat a good variety of stuff and assume i’m getting what i need. i CANNOT swallow multi vitamins to save my life, so i’ve given up on taking those….

  2. We only send preemies home on vitamins and yes, it does affect their poop. If you do want to give him some (say, in the middle of winter when it’s hard to get sun exposure) it’s easiest to mix it in with about 1/2 oz of thawed breast milk and feed it with a bottle. Then put him to the breast. Taking that stuff straight is like you or me taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach before breakfast… I know I’ve thrown up about 10 minutes after making that mistake!

    If you do find the vitamin D supplement, that shouldn’t be nearly as bad. But you can still mix it with a little breastmilk in a bottle to give it to him. Good luck!

    P.S. Poly-Vi-Sol always smells vile. Kudos to you for tasting it! I know I never will :o)

  3. I took iron during pregnancy and had some serious black poop (sorry, TMI).

    I don’t give Eli any supplements. Our pediatrician (who I LOVE) is very laid back and very natural. She tells us to not give him any medicine unless absolutely necessary. I figure that breastfeeding is the best and most natural thing, so as long as I am getting the vitamins and minerals I need, then he is, too. My OB suggested that I continue to take an iron supplement once a week and a daily multivitamin while I am breastfeeding.

    I do try to take him outside for a few minutes everyday to get his Vitamin D, though.

  4. We didn’t give any vitamin supplements. I am still breastfeeding (but he’s eating baby foods and table foods now, too) but I’m assuming because we’re in Georgia, we didn’t need that. We get ours in the walk from the house to the mailbox! Ha!

  5. I like your idea of sitting Owen in the sun for a few minutes each day- that sounds natural and just what you need to do!!!

    Breastmilk is fed exclusively to babies all over the world for several months, and they live healthy lives. I think your mom’s intuition of putting Owen in the sun is jusssttt right (but I am not a mom yet so I have no reason to say this other than it seems to make sense!)

  6. In my mind, nature did intend for breastmilk to supply necessary nutrition, but it also intended for us to live outside 24 hours a day. There is a ton of research supporting the fact that a huge population of children has suboptimal vitamin D levels, which not only causes rickets but has been linked to a variety of autoimmune diseases. In Boston in winter, it’s nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D from being outside even for hours and your adult body relies on its stores. The baby doesn’t have that luxury (or the ability to stay outside for hours on end in Boston winter!). It’s recommended by the AAP that breastfed babies be supplemented vitamin D, so it’s not like there is a rogue group of doctors advising some crazy vitamin supplement. That said, poly-vi-sol stinks and makes my kids vomit too. I compromise. As soon as they could chew well, I gave them half a flintstones. Until then, I either use vitamin D or poly-vi-sol a few times a week. Even if I didn’t, they’d probably be ok given the odds, but I hated to risk something I could easily fix.

  7. We use the concentrated vitamin D drops. We haven’t had any side effects and he loves them and usually sticks his tongue around trying to look for more 🙂

  8. My doc told us to get her out in the early morning sun and that should be enough vitamin D for her. I also take her out in the afternoons with one of those Aden&Anasis blankets draped over the stroller. Some sunlight filters in, but not enough to be too much (especially since my doc said no sunscreen/block until 6months because their skin is so permeable.)

    I have no interest in causing any GI discomfort in my baby, so I go outside everyday instead of using the vitamins. Even in the winter I’m always out with the dog, so the baby will get sunlight then too.

    Also, you might think the poop is bad now, but if you ever switch Owen to formula, the poop is SO much smellier than breastmilk poop. I also hear that once they start solids, it gets even worse 😛

  9. We give our baby Carlson Baby D drops that were recommended by our pediatrician. We ordered it from Amazon. We live in California and Evan (11 and a half weeks old) does go outside but the drops were still recommended (honestly though, while we try to remember to give it to him everyday we sometimes forget. He probably gets the drops 4 out of 7 days). He has had absolutely no problems with the vitamin drops on either his tummy or his poop. He is still pooping pretty regularly and it hasn’t changed too much in color or consistency. Good luck!

  10. I had read all those recommendations back when still pregnant so I knew I’d have to supplement Vit D. But my doctor didn’t say anything at the 1 month so I asked my mother in law (who is a nurse there) and she didn’t seem concerned and said to wait. We have our 2 month next week so I’ll ask again. We did buy some stuff at the store and tasted it (eww) and decided to wait until told (why fix something that isn’t broke we thought).

  11. Can you find one that’s JUST vit D with no iron? Iron is bad for poop cycles 😦

  12. poor Owen’s bowels. Who knew?? Our doc hasn’t said anything about vitamin supplements. I don’t think I would use them if they did that to Ava. I’m so glad you noticed.

  13. I give my son the Vitamin D drop daily (well, honestly, more like 3-4 days a week because I forget a lot!). I’m a little bit paranoid about him getting a flat head so I’m all for making sure his bones are as strong as possible!

    Also, babies can change their poop frequency around Owen’s age. I know that Harry occasionally goes on a “poop strike” and will not poop for a few days and when he goes, oh, he goes! But that’s supposed to be normal in breastfed babies! I would guess that the iron constipated Owen but he may also just be moving to a point where he doesn’t poop as often.

    My baby is only 12.5 weeks old so I am in no way an expert–just figuring this stuff out along the way!

  14. Our pedi recommend the Tri-V-Sol without iron. He said we probably get enough D from incidental sun exposure, but it wouldn’t hurt. I give it in his daily bottle and our son seems to take it ok that way.

  15. No I do not. I decided against it once reading the ingredients. The pharmacist agreed with me. My pediatrician did suggest it it but that was about it. Also, we live in California so I figure that we get enough sun/vit D.

  16. The first time I gave my three month old daughter those drops she threw up everywhere, much like Owen did on try 3. I’ve never had it in me to try again. I guess I should though…

  17. The American Pediatric Academy and the Canadian Pediatric Society both recommend that Moms give 400 IU Vitamin D to their breastfed babies on a daily basis as of birth. A few of your readers mentioned Baby Ddrops. Baby Ddrops is a liquid Vitamin D3 that has no preservative, no coloring, no taste, no sugar, no gluten. You only need to give 1 drop to your baby to give them the full 400 IU – truly, just 1 drop. You can place on nipple while breastfeeding, on bottle, on pacifier, or on teether. You can find more about them here http://ddrops.ca/ddrops-baby.php , they are also on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/babyddrops and on FaceBook http://www.facebook.com/babyddrops.

    Disclaimer: I am a work-at-home Mom who works on projects for Ddrops Company on a contract basis (and I give Baby Ddrops to my 5 month old baby since the day he is born and he does not even realize that I do so.)

  18. My husband is a recently diagnosed (Type 1, insulin dependent, juvenile, pick your name) diabetic. His endocrinologist blames the lack of vitamin D (which has also been linked to diabetes) on the lack of sun exposure and everyone wearing sunscreen to walk to the mailbox. So we rarely put sunscreen on our kids unless we think they will get burned. Those vitamins with iron do taste HORRIBLE. My last ped. did recommend just vitamin A, C, and D that I started with solids (mixed into cereal) for our youngest when he was 5 or 6 months old. At 9 months I finally started the iron supplements, because I added it up and he definitely wasn’t getting the recommended amount.

  19. I givce nothing to my 3mo, except medication when we had thrush. Not nice! I live in a very sunny country (actually the area I live is called the sunshine coast) so I get him to have his vit D through sun. However I AM taking a pregnancy/breastfeeding multivitamin… but those will be passed through the breast milk.

  20. Our pediatrician told us to give LO the vitamin D, too – and she LOVES it. We just give her the straight vitamin D drops, and it smells really yummy, like orange candy. It is like crack for her and instantly calms her down when she’s fussy. She also went started (around 6 weeks) a different “poop pattern” – she used to be quite regular and then started going a few days between poops, which scared me, too, but now I know it is normal. We talked about it in my mommy/baby group yesterday and they said up to 2 weeks for breastfed babies is normal as long as the belly isn’t distended or they are in a lot of pain.

  21. another chime in to defend your pediatrician – vit d supps are recommended by the american academy of pediatrics for breast fed babies, including full-term ones. however, if you got the ‘with iron’ form, that one actually can have extra iron that absolutely could have caused all of those effects. (there is a ‘pvs with fe’ and ‘pvs without.’) the tri vi sol is fine too, and the drops should be fine as well since vitD is really the main thing you want from there.

  22. I give my baby the Tri-Vi-Sol drops which include Vitamins A, C, and D. No extra iron and she loves it!

  23. A bit of a can of worms, huh? 🙂

    I’m with you and so is our pediatrician. Just like so many other things, you can find arguments on both side. We opted to trust my body to nourish the baby that I grew.

  24. I give my daughter (who is just a few days younger than your Owen) the same Vitamin D supplement every time we bottle feed, which is only about every 2-3 days. She takes it well. Our pediatrician is also the one who prescribed it since Hadley is exclusively breastfed. She does not have any problems with pooping…still explosive. However, our pediatrician did tell us not to be surprised if she goes several days without pooping. She said that is not uncommon for breastfed babies. She said if it gets to be 5 days then to call, otherwise there is no need for concern.

  25. Like Rachel I’ve given my sons Trivisol (which is yummy, I have also tried that), with no issues.

  26. Ugh, this sounds awful! I hope he’s feeling better. I’ve been giving my daughter the Di-vi-sol since she was 1 month old and she seems to really like it. She opens her mouth wide when I give it to her! She now expects it daily. It is recommended that exclusive breastfeeding moms give 400IU of vitamin D to their babies, but obviously it’s personal preference and you’re right that the sun can give him vitamin D as well.
    And we had one of those poop explosions today – all over her outfit, the crib sheet, her mattress cover…fun times!

  27. Vitamin D is actually present in breastmilk, if the mother is not deficient. I take 1400 IU per day plus whatever I get in fortified milk products and sun exposure. I also don’t put sunscreen on my baby unless we will be out in the sun for more than 15 minutes at a time.

    I tried the TriViSol drops but she wouldn’t take them. And we tried!

  28. No, because it’s not necessary. All the Vit D babies need is in the breastmilk in the form that is best absorbable/usable by babies, unless the mother is deficient for some reason. In addition, the baby’s skin manufactures its own vitamin D. The AAP is certainly not the end-all of information on any one subject–any of their recommendations bear further research.

    If we followed all the recommendations, most women wouldn’t get ultrasounds, given that they aren’t FDA approved unless medically indicated. Why aren’t the peds following that recommendation? Dating a pregnancy is NOT a medical indication.

    I’d get a blood test to determine my Vit D level before giving my child a supplement.

    More information:
    http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/vitamin-d.html

  29. Oh my goodness! How awful! My pediatrician said to give my baby that vitamin supplement but to make sure and get it without iron….probably for that reason.

    I say definitely go with sunshine for vitamon D. You should definitely not supplement vitamin D when you can get it naturally in a form that is not only farm more concentrated but much easier to absorb.

  30. I agree with your last statement! I thought breastmilk was supposed to supply all the nutrients! I like your idea of going outside for a bit..it doesn’t sound like these supplements are treating him well at all 😦 poor guy Well you tried right?

  31. We give the tri-vi-sol to our son. He loves it. This morning he grabbed the dropper from me and sucked it down on his own. I didn’t notice a change in his poop at all. It isn’t always sunny out around here.

  32. Thanks for the info

  33. What should i do? My son having hard stool and he cried every time during his bowel movement.. should i bring him to doctor?

  34. What should i do? My son having hard stool and he cried every time during his bowel movement.. Should i bring him to doctor again? but the medication can only temporary solve his problem..

  35. Hi, you could try home remedies! but in the long run, I will better suggest you to switch to milk powder that contains high pre-biotic!

  36. I thought all of the milk have pre-biotic ingredient? isn’t it? I also looking for child constipation solution….

  37. I will recommend Mamil to u if u need a solution for your child constipation problem.. bcos last time my son always got this problem but after he switched to Mamil the problem was solved.. I am so happy with the results cos it has the highest level of DHA and does not contain any sugar.. It has pre-biotic ingredients that prevent constipation…

  38. Halley Leong

    My LO poo now is in healthy form bcos of Mamil. I used it bcos my sister in law introduced me at the first place where I was just like u all too, looking for solution for this constipation prob. U can try switching to mamil if ur LO facing such prob..

  39. Thanks for sharing! I found this article while trying to find similar cases to my 5 month old. He can go a week and have only one bowel movement, which doesnt concern the dr because the stool is soft.
    However, when i remember to give him his vitamin d supplement (only vit. D), he always poops that day. Strange.

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