CARING FOR YOUR BABY: DIGESTIVE DIFFICULTIES

Vomiting. Most babies vomit, or ‘spit up,’ from time to time, usually right after being fed. It usually does not mean anything—not even if it happens daily—provided the baby is healthy and is gaining weight. If your baby does not seem well, if he vomits a large amount more often than once a day, and above all, if he vomits with great force (projectile vomiting), be sure to consult your doctor. Colic. Many babies have attacks of colic until they are about three months old. A baby with colic is apt to pull up his legs and to expel wind. Putting him on his stomach and patting him on the back may help. Your doctor will try to determine what is responsible for these attacks, so that they can be eliminated. Occasionally, the baby’s diet needs alteration; or he may need more relaxation and less stimulation. Diarrhoea. Young babies usually have between one and ten bowel movements a day, and these are usually quite loose. Breast-fed babies have a green-yellow stool with a birdseed appearance. Bottle-fed babies tend to have a more pasty, moist, and yellow bowel movement. However, if the number of a baby’s bowel movements increases a great deal and if the stools become watery and perhaps greenish, you should consult your doctor.

Constipation. A breast-fed baby is almost never constipated. If he should be, give him a little strained prune juice; try a teaspoonful at first, increasing the amount the next day to two teaspoonfuls, if it has not been effective.

A bottle-fed baby who is really constipated—that is, whose movements are hard as well as infrequent—should also be given prune juice. In addition, substitute brown sugar, for the sugar you have been using in his formula, and avoid boiling the milk. Do not do anything else about constipation without consulting your doctor.

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