Dr. Poo’s 10 ways to have healthy poop to be proud of
By Bill Sears, MD, America’s Pediatrician
My early years as a pediatrician and parent were like an on-the-job poo school. One of my goals as a good doctor was to teach parents how to get their child off to the right healthy poop. I would tell them, “The better you poo, the better you feel.” That’s what led my wife Martha and I to write the fully illustrated, “Dr. Poo: The Scoop on Comfortable Poop.”
10 Pointers for Healthy Poop
Here are some of the fun and easy pointers from the book to learn about healthy poop. Some are based on my 50-plus years of practice and others are based on the estimated 5,000 poop diapers we’ve changed in our eight little Sears poopers and 10 little grandpoopers.
- How can I help my child avoid tummy troubles? One of the best ways to prevent constipation and pain in the gut is to raise a grazer, not a gorger. Follow my Rule of Twos: Eat twice as often, eat half as much and chew twice as long. The better you chew, the better you poo. In Dr. Poo, I show you how to prepare an easy nibble tray using an ice cube tray or muffin tin. It’s perfect for teaching young kids to graze.
- How can I help my child be less constipated? This is one of the top questions I get in the office and on our website! When you eat good foods, your brain asks your gut: “Hey gut, how are things moving down there?” And your gut tells your brain, “As long as you eat my favorite foods, my poo will keep moving.” Start with good fiber-filled foods and lots of fluids. The book also takes you into one of the biggest topics of modern medicine: the microbiome. I’ll make it fun and simple for you. The microbiome is the term we use for the community of gut bugs, those trillions of healthy bacteria that live in your gut. In return for free food and a warm place to live, they do good things for your gut and your whole body. And what is the microbiome’s favorite food? Fiber!
- How can I help my child poop more comfortably? Start the day with lots of fiber and fluids. Martha is a master at making our kids poop more comfortably. One of the ways she did that was to make them a morning smoothie. We call it Stool Aid. The recipe is in the book. A smoothie a day helps keep constipation away.
- How much fiber does my family need? Adults need at least 30 to 40 grams of fiber daily Personally, I eat 50 grams a day. For children, an easy rule of thumb is age plus 10 grams. Using that formula, a five-year-old needs 15 grams of fiber daily.
- What should I eat to support my digestive health? One of the best medical things you can do is eat enough fiber.
- What should I look for in a fiber supplement? Before you take a fiber, look at the label to find out what it contains. Does it contain a probiotic? A prebiotic? How many grams of fiber do you get in a serving? What is the source of that fiber? Is it science-based? Do they have a website where you can read about the science behind it? If there’s science that shows that people who take it poo better, they will be proud to show it. The fiber we use most in our office and at home is science-based Sunfiber, which is gluten-free and non-GMO. Another one we like, and which is popular at the office, is Regular Girl, which is Sunfiber plus clinically proven probiotics.
- What should I do if I see red in my baby’s diaper? Streaks of blood in a diaper, or when you see blood in poop at any age, see your doctor. Most of the time it’s nothing to worry about. It may simply be a little tear in the rectum (a rectal fissure) due to hard poop. To prevent it from happening again, follow Dr. Poo’s recommendations to soften your child’s poop.
- Is green poop okay? Don’t freak out! If you have a happy, healthy baby who is not in pain or dehydrated and is passing poop regularly, an occasional green poop is okay. All poop starts out green when it’s at the top of the intestines because it gets bile. As it weaves its way through the intestines, the green bile gets absorbed and poop becomes brown or brownish yellow. But sometimes it just squirts through a little too fast and it still has shades of green.
- What does healthy poop look like? Dr. Poo contains a helpful, downloadable poop chart so kids and parents can see and discuss what normal healthy poo should look like. You don’t want pellet poop which is hard to pass. Nor do you want pudding poop (diarrhea). What you really want is poop that’s not too soft or too hard. It should come to a taper at the end. We call that tail poop. When you see a tail, that’s your biggest clue that your poo is right for you.
- How often should we poop? That depends on the individual but for adults and children, pooping around three times a day is a good goal.
Parents, I want you to remember that your poo is the window to your health. I want you and your kids to have poops you can be proud of.
About the author: William Sears, M.D. William Sears, M.D., has been advising parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. A father of 8 children, he and his wife Martha have written more than 45 books and hundreds of articles on parenting, childcare, nutrition, and healthy aging. He is the co-founder of the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute for training health coaches, and he runs the health and parenting website AskDrSears.com. Dr. Sears and his contribution to family health were featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.
Dr. Sears, or Dr. Bill as his “little patients” call him, has been advising busy parents on how to raise healthier families for over 40 years. He received his medical training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the world’s largest children’s hospital, where he was associate ward chief of the newborn intensive care unit before serving as the chief of pediatrics at Toronto Western Hospital, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto. He has served as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto, University of South Carolina, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and University of California: Irvine. As a father of 8 children, he coached Little League sports for 20 years, and together with his wife Martha has written more than 40 best-selling books and countless articles on nutrition, parenting, and healthy aging. He serves as a health consultant for magazines, TV, radio and other media, and his AskDrSears.com website is one of the most popular health and parenting sites. Dr. Sears has appeared on over 100 television programs, including 20/20, Good Morning America, Oprah, Today, The View, and Dr. Phil, and was featured on the cover of TIME Magazine in May 2012. He is noted for his science-made-simple-and-fun approach to family health.