Shhh, I have a secret. I'm obsessed with my kids' poop.
I had a dietician friend once tell me, "Well what goes in must
come out, right?" And while there is truth to that, I never thought
there would come a day that I would be a PPA (Professional Poop
Analyst). I've even gotten to the point that I have my husband
trained to report back to me the deets on my kids' poop. It is
something he'd rather not add to his parental resume but how is
this for a text from your husband?
Husband: Son pooped in the potty, solid, good and healthy, now
Me: Good. Glad it is getting better, keep me posted.
Yep, he's a professional PPA now, too. Makes me proud.
I happened to be sitting next to a friend in a conference who is
a fellow PPA when this text came to me. I showed it to her, she
chuckled and gave me the thumbs up. Yes, I'm not the only one out
there (You know who you are!). And yes, I have trained others, in
case you were wondering.
When my daughter was first born and I got the low down on what
breastfed babies poop is supposed to look like, I wanted to make
sure she was, well, normal. As a first time mom I looked at all her
diapers knowing that by day three or four her poop would change
color. Whew, what a relief when it did. I tell ya, the stresses of
being a new mom. I also remember when my daughter had her first
solid poop. When I was changing her diaper I thought, "Aww, she's
becoming a human." It's was like she was a mammal from a different
species or something.
Then came my son. He had issues from the get-go. Bloody streaks
in his diaper scared me because I knew that it indicated a food
allergy. I showed my husband so he could keep on the lookout for
those streaks. He was a little freaked out, but he listened to my
commands. I took the small amount of dairy I had in my diet out and
the bloody streaks went away. Then he suffered from constipation
around 5 months but a little cooked organic pears did the trick.
But something didn't happen for him like it did for my daughter;
his poops never changed, formed or became solid. I did not
understand why, but knew it was linked to his diet and so I had to
do some continuing education to keep my PPA credits up.
As gross as "What goes in must come out" sounds, what comes out
really does tell a story on what is going on in our insides. The
more I read around, the more I learned about the perfect poop.
There are charts on what is supposed to be normal, like the Bristol
Stool Chart. While it's a good start, it only tells you the
beginning of the story.
So, what is your poop story? Let's chat:
Floating poops? Ah, don't worry. That just means you have
trapped gas in your stools, which is most likely caused from a diet
low in fiber and refined sugars. Once you begin to eat more fiber
from fruits and veggies, and grains from insoluble fiber, your poop
will sink to the bottom, which it should.
Poop that is so stinky it makes you light a match? And it
floats? That is a sign of malabsorption of nutrients in combination
with a diet high in processed foods and low in fiber and good fats.
This is most likely caused by imbalanced gut bacteria, trapped
small intestinal bacteria overgrowth and possible food
Soft and smelly and leaves some skid marks? This is caused by
increased fat in the stools called steatorrhea. This may also mean
there's not enough good bacteria in the gut so if this is a
constant thing, then you want to talk to your doctor about it. The
inability to properly digest fats can lead to a deficiency in
Vitamins A, D, E and K, all of which can lead to various diseases
affecting the pancreas or the gallbladder.
Pooping rabbit turds? That is easy: constipation. You should be
going to the bathroom once daily. Healthy folks will sometimes even
go twice per day. This means you need more water, fiber and
exercise to help move things along. Adding some probiotics, chia
and grounded flaxseeds will help, too. But don't rely on laxatives.
Over time it will make your colon less efficient in doing its job.
Check out my
Homemade Miralax Recipe: Pearberry Smoothie. Moms swear by
Yellow stools? Take caution. This is common with folks who
suffer from acid-reflux or GERD. It means food is passing too
quickly in the digestive tract. It can also mean insufficient bile
output which means you are not breaking down fats properly. Poop
gets its brown color from the bile made in the gallbladder and when
output decreases, stools turn yellow.
Black and red stools? Head straight to the doctor. Unless you
ate beets recently, this is a clear warning sign that you need to
get further evaluation and something more severe is going on
There you have it, now you know how and why I am a PPA. It
wasn't until recently, after I discovered sensitivity in my son's
diet, that my son's bowels became mostly normal. If your child is
not pooping normal, take a look at the possibilities. Diet, water
intake and exercise all play big roles. Talk to your doctor if it
doesn't get better after that. A Pediatric Gastroenterologist (GI)
may even be your best bet because most doctors don't fully
understand what it means to have a healthy poop.
Want more scoop on your poop? You can earn your PPA certificate
from the University of Google, too.
Jasmine blogs to inspire you to make positive, healthy changes.
See more of Jasmine's stories here.
Let us plan your weekend with the best family events and activities in Chicagoland.
Start the week right with deals, prizes, parent life hacks and more delivered straight to your inbox.
Need last-minute ideas for a weekend of family fun? No worries. We've got you.
Get the inside scoop on the people, places and things we are loving right now.
Resources, tips, inspiration and more for parents of children with special needs.
Score exclusive offers from our fabulous advertisers.