Well, we had our appointment. We've had a super busy weekend so I actually haven't had a chance to post about it, but I was also pretty emotional and frustrated about it on Friday.
Apparently there is nothing wrong with her. She has unexplained severe diarrhea that they consider normal and call "toddler's diarrhea," which has been mentioned to me by the last 2 Peds. I don't want there to be anything wrong with her, but I knew that I would feel a million times better about accepting this as a final diagnosis knowing that we had ruled everything else out. I sincerely thought they would agree that she has food allergies/sensitivity, but the Dr. said he was fairly certain we could rule that out. The reason behind my frustration is that it just seems so unacceptable that we can view severe diarrhea as "normal." An hour after we left the appointment she had a blow out so huge that I had to change her clothes (not unusual for us), but apparently that's normal even though she's almost 1.5 y/o. To say that there's nothing wrong with her and there's nothing I can do, that I haven't already been doing, to help her, just leaves me feeling helpless. Her tummy aches and hard round belly are apparently due to gas. Also, this toddler's diarrhea can last up until 5 years of age. Fun times.
He did tell me that I feed her too much fruit and that her daily fluid intake is too high. There was some miscommunication in the visit as far as her fluid intake, but I was already exhausted and didn't feel like correcting him. I knew it wouldn't make a difference in what he would have to say anyway. But even on that front, I was trying to make sure she was getting enough fluid because of the diarrhea.
My instructions are to limit her consumption of fruit, to only 1.5 TBS a day and only allow her fluids (primarily milk, then water) during mealtimes/snack times, not to exceed 32 oz total. Also to have very structured meal times and put a limit on how much time I give her to eat, without any distraction. No walking around with a snack or sippy cup. For awhile I was letting her eat in the living room to the wiggles or a
book, because she would eat more if eating wasn't the main focus. That's changed over the last couple of months, so now we do structured meal times, serving food at the table time during the
same hours (almost) every day, but when she asks me for food at random I
give it to her. She's so picky and for a long time wouldn't eat anything at all, so I guess it's become habit for me just to give her food when she asks. I don't know how I'm supposed to tell her no when it's not meal time or snack time, though it does make sense that she would consume more in one sitting if I don't allow her to take a bite here and there all day. I told him I was offering her food or snack every 2 hours (because that's what I had been told previously and also read) and his response was "Whoa! That is entirely too often, that it should only be every 3-4 hours." He also said that it doesn't matter what I feed her, that it's mostly cultural. Hmmm. He wasn't going to schedule us for a follow up but said that if I had followed my instructions and we still had issues after another 6 weeks that we should come back and run some tests. He wanted to avoid this if possible, because they're pretty invasive.
I really walked away feeling defeated (is that the right word?) and guilty. Obviously the choices I had made for her weren't helping, and I couldn't help but feel like I'm partially to blame. I'm not feeding her the right foods: too much of this, not enough of that; though I feel like I'm constantly cooking for her and offering her a huge variety of foods at every meal hoping she'll try something different.
I've had a couple of days to think about it and I'm feeling a lot better about it now. Still frustrated that there's no concrete solution available to help my poor baby, but I've had time to process everything and let it soak in. I am obviously glad to hear that there is "nothing" wrong with her and also a little relieved that I'm not having to offer her food every 2 hours, though I do think I'll have a hard time telling her no if she requests food. Hopefully the change in meal/snack times will help her with eating more so it won't be an issue. The other super positive thing is that he told us there was no worry for allergies, and gave me the okay to slowly get back into dairy again. He did recommend that we stay on Almond Milk though. This is HUGE for us because I'll have SO many more meal options for her as her favorite foods were dairy (which I'm sure is probably the case for most toddlers). So we'll be going back to edamame and yogurt as our snacks!
We will make these changes and see if it helps in the least bit. In the mean time we will just start thinking positively and deal =)