Seven child-friendly foods to prevent constipation

By Elissa Gonzalez, MD
Medical Resident
Baylor College of Medicine

What is constipation?
Constipation is when a child does not poop more than a few times a week, has pain when pooping, or passes large or hard poop. Constipation can lead to encopresis, which is leaking of poop in the underwear which can lead to embarrassment and other psycho-social issues. Common times for constipation to occur are introduction of solids, toilet training and school entry.

How do we, as parents, prevent constipation?

  • Sit on the toilet Remind your child to use the restroom after every meal to make room for more food. Sitting up straight can also aid in pooping.
  • Fiber Introduce high fiber foods children will enjoy.
  • Hydration Give them plenty of opportunity throughout the day to drink water.

Seven high fiber child-friendly foods:

  • Popcorn An easy on-the-go snack. Avoid extra butter and sugar.
  • Almonds Another easy snack.
  • Dark Chocolate Look for cocoa content of between 70-95 percent or higher
  • Oats Oatmeal it a quick breakfast. Add fruit such as raspberries.
  • Lentils Cook them like your favorite beans.
  • Avocados Mix into any dish such as eggs, brown rice, or tuna salad.
  • Raspberries Pack these for an on-the-go snack.

 How does constipation happen?
When a child eats food it goes from the mouth to the stomach then to the intestines. The body begins pulling water from stool so it becomes solid and waits in the rectum. Signals in the body tell the child there is poop in the rectum and they can decide to relax the muscle and go or hold on to it. Many children are embarrassed by the urge to poop and will hold it.

When the child decides to hold his poop it will sit in the rectum and the body will continue to pull water. It will become dry and hard and difficult to push out. Poop will continue to collect and stretch out the colon making the child lose the urge to use the restroom. The rectum is like a balloon and will go back to its original shape the first time it is stretched out, but if it continues to stretch, then it will be flabby and weak and the poop will build up.  It may take a year for some children to return to normal after treatment.

Already constipated?
Visit with your pediatrician. They may suggest prune juice, medications or even a bowel clean out depending on the severity of the constipation.

If you need a pediatrician for your child, visit www.chofsa.org/findadoc.

November 14 is World Diabetes Day

Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH, FAAP
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Medical Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
Medical Director, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Blog
Baylor College of Medicine
Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by a lack of insulin.  Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, is essential to life, and lowers blood sugar levels by allowing it to be taken up by our cells so we can use it for energy.  One analogy describes insulin as the “key” to opening the door to cells for sugar to come in.  An absence or deficiency of insulin leads to high blood sugar levels; conversely, an excess of insulin results in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels.  Importantly, in diabetes, even though blood sugar levels are high, the sugar cannot enter cells and cannot be used for energy because the “key,” insulin, is missing.  This is dangerous because sugar is the most important source of energy for our body.  There are two types of diabetes–type 1 and type 2.

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Superfoods build super children

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Autumn is my absolute favorite season. The cool, crisp air, warmer-colored foliage, and quickly-approaching holidays energize me to decorate my home and fill the house with scents of baked goods. What mom doesn’t love to fill their little ones’ tummies with apple crisp and pecan pie? So, how do we ensure that our children still get all the nutrients they need through the winter holidays? Recently, several well-reputed physicians in media and health-related websites have compiled a list of “superfoods” that have been known for ages to have health benefits: beans, blueberries, broccoli, oranges, oats, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea (green and black), tomatoes, turkey, walnuts, yogurt.

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Trick-or-treating with food allergies

by Lindsay Lambarth, DO
Baylor College of Medicine, PGY-2
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Did you know that almost 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced severe reactions? And that in the United States, 170 different foods and ingredients have been identified as the cause of allergic reactions?

Halloween can be a difficult time for children with food allergies due to the high risk of reaction when ingredients are not monitored closely.  To help keep trick-or-treating safe for children with food allergies, the Teal Pumpkin Project was created.  Teal pumpkins serve as a symbol of safety during Halloween for children with food allergies and indicate that non-food items are available.

How can you participate?

  1. Place a teal pumpkin in front of your home (classroom, office, or wherever treats are provided this season) to show that you have non-food items available.
  2. Provide non-food treats such as pencils or stickers for trick-or-treaters.
  3. Display a flyer or poster to inform others of what the teal pumpkin stands for. Follow the link below for free resources and flyers to print.

https://www.foodallergy.org/education-awareness/teal-pumpkin-project/free-resources

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Diez razones por las cuales los pediatras dicen: “la leche materna es mejor”

Por Danielle Roberts, M.D.
Residente de Pediatría, PGY2
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

En la vida, darle la bienvenida a un bebé al mundo puede ser una de las experiencias más emocionantes y también aterradoras. Muchos padres planean la llegada de su hijo por meses, desde cómo anunciarán el embarazo a los familiares, cuándo será la licencia materna y paterna, preparar el cuarto del bebé…y la lista continúa. Llegará una boquita más para alimentar y es muy importante pensar en qué va a comer el nuevo bebé. Es posible que usted haya escuchado de los muchos beneficios de la leche materna; ¿sabía que hay docenas de maneras en la cuales la leche materna puede ayudar a los bebés y a sus padres?

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Ten reasons why pediatricians say, “Breast is best!”

August 1 – 7 is celebrated each year as World Breastfeeding Week.

By Danielle Roberts, M.D.
Pediatric Resident, PGY3
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Welcoming a new baby can be one of the most exciting and sometimes scary experiences in a lifetime. Parents may plan for months, starting with pregnancy announcement ideas, scheduling maternity and paternity leave, preparing baby’s room… the list goes on. With one more precious mouth to feed, it’s also important to think about what the baby will eat. You may have heard about some of the benefits of breastfeeding—did you know there are dozens of reasons why breastfeeding is recommended over formula?

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Dear Parents: Let’s celebrate National Breastfeeding Month!

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Pediatric Primary Care Physician
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

August is National Breastfeeding Month and August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week! We all know the many wonderful benefits of breastfeeding for mother and child, so let’s take a moment to provide some validation and calm fears. Breastfeeding can be difficult and exhausting. Just because it is primitive and innate for humans, breastfeeding is not necessarily intuitive. It will sometimes take practice for both you and your baby before it becomes easy and comfortable.

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Organic? Hormone-Free? Non-GMO? Get the Facts

By Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH, FAAP
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
Baylor College of Medicine
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

For us parents, nourishing your child is one of the most innately primitive experiences. From the wide open baby-bird like mouths of your infant to the look of belly-filled satisfaction on the face of your ever-growing teen, nothing is more rewarding than feeding your child.  But with all of the “healthy” options at the grocery store, how are you to know which choices are truly healthy and worth the extra cost?

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Just say no … to the latte?

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik, MD, MPH
Pediatric Primary Care Physician
Director, ComP-CaN (Comprehensive Peds for Complex Needs)
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Today’s teens are on the go. In my own home, we juggle piano, Tae Kwon Do, violin, dance, and running 5Ks with schoolwork, eating healthy family dinners, sleeping, and, of course, having fun and being a kid!  Of those activities, sleep is most likely the first to be neglected, and teens often turn to caffeine and energy drinks to stay alert and in action.  But how much caffeine is too much and what’s in energy drinks anyway?

What is caffeine and what does it do?
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, colas, and energy drinks and is known to enhance performance in adults; however, it has not been studied in children and teens. It raises heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature; helps improve attention and wakefulness; and prevents fatigue.

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Taking a closer look at type 1 and type 2 diabetes

By Dr. Ruchi Kaushik
General Pediatrics
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease caused by a lack of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, is essential to life, and helps in the metabolism of glucose, a simple sugar derived from the carbohydrates (“carbs”) in our diet. It lowers blood glucose (glucose = sugar) levels by helping glucose enter our muscle cells so we can then use it for energy. One analogy describes insulin as the “key” to opening the door to muscle cells for glucose to come in. An absence or deficiency of insulin leads to high blood sugar levels; conversely, an excess of insulin results in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels. Importantly, in diabetes, even though blood sugar levels are high, the glucose cannot enter muscle cells and cannot be used for energy because the “key,” insulin, is missing. This is dangerous because glucose is the only energy source for red blood cells and the brain.

Diabetes mellitus is of two types, type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes, the cells of the pancreas are either absent or destroyed. These individuals have a lifetime dependence on injectable insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more complicated. The body’s cells have become resistant to insulin.  Essentially, the cells have changed their “locks.” Traditionally, type 2 diabetes has been a disease of adults; however, with increased rates of childhood obesity, as many as one-third of all new cases of diabetes in adolescents is of type 2.

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