TOI­LET TALK

Your Baby & Toddler - - Talking Point -

It’s not the most pleas­ant task, but mon­i­tor­ing bowel changes can give you in­for­ma­tion about your child’s health.

IN A NEW­BORN A for­mula fed baby: Stools can be soft, formed and yel­low, and will most likely oc­cur daily.

An ex­clu­sively breast­fed baby: can ex­pe­ri­ence very wa­tery, ex­plo­sive poos that range in colour from yel­low to green. They can have up to six stools a day, but as time goes on may only have only one poo nappy per week. “It’s ex­tremely vari­able with breast­fed ba­bies,” says pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Stephen Higgs.

IN A TOD­DLER Chil­dren of this age will nor­mally have a stool each day, or ev­ery sec­ond day, and it will be brown and solid and oc­ca­sion­ally loose. But it’s still vari­able. “Even a tod­dler can have up to four nor­mal stools a day, how­ever,” says Dr Higgs.

WHEN TO WORRY

Di­ar­rhoea, par­tic­u­larly if ac­com­pa­nied with vom­it­ing, should be care­fully mon­i­tored. If the child is well, not fever­ish and eat­ing well, and gain­ing weight, there is no cause for con­cern, says Dr Higgs. A child is con­sid­ered con­sti­pated if he has not pooed for more than 48 hours and is re­luc­tant to go to the toi­let be­cause it will hurt. “This be­comes a vi­cious cy­cle as the wa­ter in the stool is re­ab­sorbed by the body, mak­ing it even harder,” says Dr Higgs. A pos­si­ble block­age or bowel ob­struc­tion should be in­ves­ti­gated if the child has not pooed for a week, has a dis­tended ab­domen, is un­com­fort­able, goes off his food or starts vom­it­ing,” says Dr Higgs.

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