When it comes to your baby’s poop, how do you know when something is wrong? MH speaks to the experts.
WORDS ANGEL DREWGUS
Babies may strain before passing stools which is normal but seldom cry unless constipated and pass a hard stool which sometimes may have streaks of blood. Infants with bloody stools and irritable cry should be assessed urgently by a paediatrician to rule out other medical or surgical conditions, advises Dr Sridhar Arunachalam, associate consultant, Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine, Singapore General Hospital.
Some babies may grunt or groan when passing a poop, but that is quite normal. That is because, babies poop while they are lying down, and so they have to put in extra effort to coordinate the abdominal muscles to pass the poop while relaxing the anus. As babies grow, they will learn to pass stool without crying too much.
When Something is Wrong
Bloody stools are abnormal. It can vary from streaks of blood to significant amounts, explains Dr Arunachalam. Urgent medical attention is warranted. Constipation leads to blood streaks as hard stools can break the skin and stain the stools with blood streaks. Infections and surgical conditions of the gut can cause bloody stools as well.
Black tarry stools indicate altered blood due to bleeding higher up in the gut especially after the first week of life (as it is difficult to differentiate from meconium stools).
Pale stools are again abnormal. It can be associated with prolonged obstructive jaundice (due to lack of bile secretion) during the newborn period. Urgent medical attention is required for the baby to undergo early evaluation and intervention.
Dr Arunachalam stresses that any change in consistency and frequency from the usual pattern (resulting in watery frequent stools) need attention as babies can become dehydrated especially when the output exceeds the intake. Early medical attention to check the baby is essential. Diarrhoea can be mostly due to an infection but other causes like milk allergy, medications and such also need to be considered.
With the responsibility, emotions, and demands that come with having a baby, life can seem complicated, and it may be easy to get overwhelmed. All you want is what is best for her. Trust your instincts and use your common sense as your guide.
Your baby trusts you, now you just need to trust yourself. Laugh at watery poop, blame your husband for the baby’s bad gas and bring the fun back into raising your child.