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.