When you’re a new mom everyone wants to give you advice, whether you want it or not. I’ve gotten advice from new moms, old moms, even women who aren’t moms. Then of course there’s the pediatrician, but even their words are still only advice. With all of these ideas, suggestion and solutions coming my way it left me wondering who really knows what’s right? What works?
One Friday I noticed I hadn’t changed a poopey diaper in a while. I didn’t panic, this had happened before. When my son was about 2 months old he skipped a day of pooping. I immediately thought something was not right. A friend of mine, who was also a new mom, told me that this was normal. After a while babies’ bowels start to regulate, and while they may not poop every single day or with every feeding, their body finds its own rhythm of eliminating waste; she assured me I should not be worried. In addition to her advice I hit up my Uncle Google (he knows everything!). He consulted with a host of other moms and peds and I learned that this was totally normal for breastfed babies. Some babies who were exclusively breastfed have been known to go up to 10 days without pooping, and it’s just fine. So with this information my worry subdued, and within the next day came the poop.
By Monday I began to realize this was not what I had experienced before. And by Tuesday, there still was no poop, and my concern increasingly grew. Once again I consulted with Uncle Google. All I told him was “5 months old constipated.” And like magic he had answers from moms and peds all over the place. But this time it was a little overwhelming. There were so many stories and home remedies. But one thing that kept coming up was Karo syrup. I had only heard of it being used for making desserts. In addition to Uncle Google I was getting advice from my mom, grandma, aunts, even my dad (that one was a shocker). By Wednesday, there was still no poop, so I called the pediatrician. I was advised to give him prune juice or apple juice. Uncle Google had mentioned this a couple of times too. So to the store we went, and I bought both apple juice and prune juice. One of these was going to work!
Wednesday my son had a healthy share of prunes, but still nothing…well not much. His bowels began trying to move but he was straining, and the little bit that would come out was dry. Uncle Google (and his mommy friends) had told me this was a definite sign of constipation. So again I reviewed their remedies and consulted some more with my mom. I tried working his legs more, and even began massaging the area around his “exit hole.” By Thursday afternoon there was still no poop and I was pissed. I was determined to do whatever I needed to do to relieve my baby of his discomfort. A couple of moms on Google had mentioned brown sugar in water helped relieve their baby of constipation. So back to the store we went to pick up some brown sugar. While there I came across the Karo syrup. I stopped and checked it out, turned it over to read the label and ingredients: corn syrup, salt, vanilla. Nothing I couldn’t pronounce, and no acids to preserve shelf life and color. But still I was reluctant. Is corn syrup safe? I put it back and headed home.
That night my son began to get irritable, and he began spitting up more than usual. While playing in the mirror with his dad he began crying out of nowhere. This time we both knew we had to do something to help him poop. I kept telling his dad about the Karo syrup, but he insisted we let it happen naturally. It eventually got to the point where I was ready to go in with a rectal thermometer and his dad was willing to let me. But my son was too squirmy; he wouldn’t be still long enough for me to get it in. Severely frustrated I gave up.
I vented to a group of women I knew from college. Once again I got all kinds of suggestions, silly ones, serious ones, even medical ones. But one friend suggested I try Karo syrup. This was all the confirmation I needed. Friday morning my baby and I made our way to the grocery store for the third time, and all we picked up was a bottle of light Karo syrup. We got home and I made a bottle with 1 tablespoon of Karo syrup and 3 ounces of breast milk. My little man took it to the head and 30 minutes later he was relieved…and so was I.
But I had gone through so much overwhelming advice: give him this juice, feed him that food, stop giving him food at all, rub his tummy, massage his butt, pray, use a suppository, try a thermometer, give him a laxative, so on and so forth. But I learned from it. I learned that being in the medical field doesn’t make you an expert. And while many things work, and different things work for different people, as a mom you make the decision of what works for your child. And for me Karo worked. It worked so well, I’m almost tempted to put a little Karo syrup in everything I eat to keep me regular.