Number 2 Issues
Whether it’s moving too fast or too slow, bowel issues can be scary for parents. That’s especially true for new parents, who may be wondering if everything is normal, or if it’s time to call the doctor. Here are some tips.
If a soiled diaper shows green, that’s actually normal. Healthy newborn poop color ranges from yellow to green to orange to light brown, or any combination of these. That color is caused by normally occurring bacteria as well as bile, the digestive juice used to neutralize stomach acid during digestion.
Green, yellow, and orange stools are usually no big deal. But if you see black, bright red, or a colorless/ivory color, these can be signs of a more serious condition. Colorless, pale, or ivory-colored poop may indicate bile is not being secreted and is cause to see a doctor. Black and red can indicate bleeding (dried blood can turn black), so these are also reasons to contact a doctor right away.
The first thing parents should understand is what diarrhea is—and what it isn’t. Loose stool is not considered diarrhea. But if the stool is watery and is occurring as much as 12 times a day, you should check for other symptoms as well.
If your little one is under three months old, has a rectal temperature of 100.4 F or higher, vomits, refuses feeding, lacks energy, or exhibits signs of dehydration (mouth is dry, isn’t urinating for three hours or longer), call the doctor.
Constipation is unusual in infants. And it can be easy to mistake normal behavior for a problem. Under normal circumstances, a bottle-fed baby will usually poop once a day, but she may go a day or two without passing stool. One who is breast-fed may not be feeding enough if he isn’t pooping once a day, but can actually go as long as a week between movements under normal circumstances.
If you suspect constipation, try to determine if your little one is excessively fussy, spitting up more often than usual, if the baby strains for longer than 10 minutes while trying to pass stool, or if the stool is unusually hard, particularly if it contains some blood. These can indicate real constipation.
What do you do if real constipation is suspected? You can try apple or pear juice, which can help add water to poop and make it pass more easily. Limit the juice to one ounce per month the child is old. So a three-month-old could normally be given three ounces of juice per day. If you’ve already introduced solid foods, try fruits and veggies—especially prunes. If these home remedies for constipation don’t work, call the doctor.