Don’t just wrap up that diaper and chuck it down the chute! The colour and consistency of baby’s stools is a tell-tale sign of his health. Find out more about what’s normal and what may warrrant a visit to your paediatrician.
Constipation may manifest in symptoms of pellet-like bowel movements and signs including arched backs, crying and tightening buttocks coupled with difficult bowel movements. Just like for adults, frequency and texture of poop are indicators of possible constipation. Frequency of coo may differ for breastfed babies and those on formula. As a rough guide, babies 0 to 4 months of age poop on average three to four times a day, and after the introduction of solid foods, that reduces to approximately one bowel movement per day. If baby’s poop seems hard or difficult to pass, alarm bells should ring as well as hard stools may cause anal walls to stretch and therefore the presence of bright red streak in blood. A firm belly and signs of discomfort like straining faces and refusal to ingest food is sign that bowel movements are overdue. (Henry, 2013)
An easy way to prevent constipation is to remember the acronym BRAT for Bananas, Rice, Apples and Toast (Ooi, 2014), foods that help to promote bowel movements. If baby is showing signs of constipation, try the following changes to his diet: Offer your baby a small daily serving of water (or pure apple, prune or pear juice if he is above 6 months old) in addition to usual feedings to see if things improve. If baby has already started solids, then replace rice cereal with barley cereal for more dietary fiber or offer pureed prune or peas.
Baby diarrhea may be challenging to tell as infant stools are naturally on the watery side. Pay attention when your baby’s bowel movements change suddenly to become more watery and loose and he poops more than usual. Causes are diarrhea are aplenty, so just take note of the following: If baby has diarrhea during or after a course of antibiotics, it is probably caused by the medication so talk to your doctor for alternatives! Cut back on fruit juice that contains fructose-these are not good for baby in the first place-and ensure that the right amount of water is mixed with his formula too. Food allergies (most commonly milk protein) or food intolerance (such as lactose intolerance) may also cause diarrhea alongside symptoms such as gas, abdominal pain or bloating. Diarrhea may also cause symptoms of lactose intolerance, which is why we are often told to avoid milk post episodes of diarrhea. Bacterial and viral infections that are usually accompanied by symptoms of fever would require a visit to the GP or paediatrician. Do not self-medicate by giving your child diarrhea medicine prescribed for adults. (Unknown, Unknown)