My daughter has been struggling. I am now realizing I could have made her life so much better years ago. I want to share with you how one parenting decision changed my daughter’s life. Perhaps by sharing our story you can help your child sooner.
The first signs that something wasn’t right occured when she was a baby. Breastfeeding was a challenge, and I fought to make it work. I eventually had to supplement with formula. She was a baby who spit up often and in large amounts. She also struggled with constipation from the onset. We had to do suppositories and watched her body fight against regular bowel movements. We talked to the doctor, and suppositories were the answer in her early years, but Miralax was suggested after we continued to say it was an issue. We used it for a Miralax, and it seemed to work, but I didn’t like the thought of having my child needing a drug for the rest of her life. I was uneasy about some of the things I had read about using it long term also. She was a good eater, and we tried to keep her diet high fiber, but she still struggled in this area.
Headaches also became an issue for her. She would get migraines every once in a while that would make her throw up. Her daddy gets them too, so we believed they might just be a family trait. The frequency of headaches seemed to be getting worse and also seemed to be tied to the constipation.
Acid-reflux-like symptoms also started to be frequent. She would often complain of throwing up in her mouth throughout the day. I was concerned about her esophagus, as was the doctor, so a medicine was prescribed to try and neutralize the acid. I didn’t want to cause permanent damage to her throat, but I also wasn’t comfortable continuing the medicine forever. There had to be another solution.
Stomach aches also became common. I was pretty sure it was linked to the constipation, and she did experience relief after she had a bowel movement. With all the symptoms she was having, I was sure something wasn’t right. The next solution was to go to a GI clinic to get her scoped – or at least that is what the doctor was suggesting.
Another problem we had been having for a while was behavioral issues, and it seemed to be getting worse. She felt her body was out of control at times, which sounded like restless legs to me. This is something I experience, so I know what it is like to have energy in the limbs that you can’t expel and feel frustrated about it. She was an amazing kid a huge percentage of the time. She is bright, fun, creative and kind. I received nothing but glowing reports from school, but there were many times at home where she felt completely out of control. Frustrations would send her whirling. Sometimes I couldn’t figure out the trigger. Things would just snap. Her emotional intensity, fits of rage and impulsive behaviors became too common – occurring almost daily.
We were making changes in our parenting. She has been getting older. We have seen hope that we’re going to get on top of it. We have worked hard – all of us. I hope you’ll visit my parenting tip tab to see more of my approaches. I’ll also link to a few helpful articles at the end of this post. That said, she still struggled with both behavior and body, and we weren’t convinced that the GI clinic was the best next step for us.
The One Parenting Decision that Changed my Daughter’s Life
We decided we would visit a naturopath. I asked friends on Facebook and found a local name. We visited him, and it was a bad experience. He didn’t really talk to my daughter at all. He questioned me about my choice to do vaccines and spoke while leaning over his desk with his arm wrapped around his head. His bedside manner wasn’t great, and he really was the epitome of why I was hesitant to visit a naturopath in the first place. I was sent home with tests I was suppose to run at home and then mail into a lab. I wasn’t sold. We didn’t do the tests.
I didn’t give up on the idea of naturopathy. I had my skepticism. There are many who are going to encourage you not to drink the Kool-Aide. Do all these herbs, supplements and food changes really make a difference? Are there studies there to support it? Some swear by it and others say it was all a waste of money, but I was needing answers.
I decided to reach out again on Facebook and a number of friends gave me a new name. We made an appointment, and my daughter’s life will never be the same. I really liked this doctor – we all did. She talked directly to my daughter, being empowering, empathetic, encouraging and clear. She took a 96 food panel to see if there are foods that my daughter’s body doesn’t tolerate. She listened to my hypothesis that it was dairy and decided, with me, to try to eliminate dairy before we received the tests back. She also added in a couple supplements, including prebiotics and probiotics. The goal was to try and heal her gut. The doctor assured us all that the goal isn’t to be rid of dairy for good but to remove it for a while, heal the body and then re-introduce. She said my daughter would take ownership over the process and be able to decide what feels good or makes her feel sick. She did this while stroking her hair and yet not babying her. We were assured that my daughter’s symptoms were classic food sensitivity and she should start feeling better within a week…a week.
I also asked, privately, about the behavior issues. She told me that when the gut is off the serotonin levels in the brain are off and that what we were doing should help.
The prediction that my daughter would feel better within a week was 100% true. After that first week, she has been having a bowel movement daily, something she has never experienced. I have had zero complaints of stomach aches, headaches or throwing up in the mouth. We have not used ibuprofen one time, even though it probably was part of her life 3 times a week before. Her body is working again.
What about her behavior? For a couple weeks I was thinking, “Who is this child?” It was like she matured 2 years overnight. There was peace in our home. We had been seeing progress through our parenting changes and the fact that she is just getting older, but this was dramatic. Things are still going pretty well, but this week has been a bit rough so I’m not saying we have arrived. The fact that I’m learning is that we never really will arrive. After all, my daughter is a child, and she is human. That said, I have a lot of hope that getting her healthy will heal a variety of wounds. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to have self control if she was feeling miserable all the time. I know how grouchy I get when I’m sick and uncomfortable. She was living with that daily.
I could beat myself up for not discovering this sooner, but I celebrate that we have figured it out now. I also use these experiences to pass information on to you so that I can help be a resource or a solution if you are worried about behavior issues or health problems with your own children. Help your child get healthy by being willing to look at the body as a whole. Yes, there is a time and a place for western medicine, but I love that there are more natural solutions, and I encourage you to explore those. I didn’t know it would be this easy.
Looking for More Parenting Tools?
Are you on Periscope yet? I have been broadcasting live parenting tips there, with a question and answer time. I encourage you to join the scoping fun by following me @MeaningfulMamaJ. This parenting journey is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart. I talked about some of the behavior problems we have been trying to navigate. I would love for you to journey through my parenting tips tab to find more help, but here are some good posts to start with: