Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.

Tummy problems

Colic, constipation, diarrhoea, vomiting, poisoning, gastric flu? Tummy problems are some of the most frequently occurring and pressing ones. To combat them effectively, you need to learn causes and symptoms of various ailments. When you learn to distinguish between them, you will be able to react quickly and help your baby.


 

Colic 

Cause:
- poor functioning of the gastrointestinal tract
- swallowing too much air during feeding (breast suckling)
- problems with digestion

What happens? What are the symptoms?
When soon after feeding the baby starts arching its back, cries, or has a distended belly, he may have a colic. How to distinguish between normal crying and that caused by colic? Observe. The baby with colic cries for over 3 hours during more than 3 days, and the whole thing lasts about 3 weeks. Cuddling may help for a moment, but when the colic does not pass, the baby will continue crying and will not want to eat anymore. Colic usually occurs between 2nd and 16th week, and ceases around 3rd month. Apart from crying and a distended belly another specific sign are flexed legs.

How to prevent it?
First of all, observe whether the baby burped after eating and massage his belly.
When you breastfeed, drink camomile and fennel infusions facilitating removal of gases. Ask a doctor for more information on a correct breastfeeding technique, so the infant does not swallow too much air.
When the baby is on the formula, give him the above-mentioned infusions or fennel water to drink.
When those methods fail, consult a doctor. He will certainly prescribe an appropriate formulation for your baby. You should know, however, that you simply have to survive colic, as all treatments bring only a short improvement. When the gastrointestinal tract matures a little, all symptoms will disappear.

Constipations

Causes
- poor functioning of intestines
- incorrectly selected formula
- incorrect diet.

What happens? What are the symptoms?
When you suspect your baby suffers from a stomach ache (he tenses and arches its back) and has problems with passing stool, then he probably suffers from constipation. Check a diaper content. Hard stool (small, compact balls) is also a sign of constipation. Other symptoms include lack of appetite, flatulence. However, when the baby passes stool less than once a day, but it is still of mushy consistency, then it is not a constipation.

What should you do?
1. Exercise the baby: bend his legs in the knees, pressing them delicately against the tummy, and then straighten them.
2. Massage: massage the baby's tummy
3. Tea: give the baby a few tea spoons of fennel tea.
4. Change the baby's diet, after consulting it with a specialist.
5. Consult a doctor when:
- your baby is constipated regularly, and frequently.
- constipations occur rarely, suddenly, but lasts very long,
- there is blood in the baby's stool.

Diarrhoea

Causes: - viral or bacterial infection
- food allergy
- incorrect diet,
- treatment with medicines
- teething


What happens? What are the symptoms?
How does the stool look during diarrhoea? It is more watery than usual, foamy and may have an unpleasant, sour smell. Other symptoms of diarrhoea include tummy ache, lack of appetite and general bad mood, a very high fever may also occur. Generally, during diarrhoea the baby will defecate more frequently than usually. You should also check the stool for mucus or blood.


What should you do?
When the diarrhoea occurs or you suspect it, contact a doctor immediately, especially when it concerns a newborn. Older children have to drink a lot, to protect them against dehydration. However, often the baby does not want to drink a lot. Thus the best solution is to contact a doctor.
When you breastfeed, and your baby has a diarrhoea, you must be particularly careful with what you eat. Do not eat food that may cause diarrhoea or heavy food. A baby fed with formula may be given only drink for about 4 hours. When an older baby is already on solids, I recommend food such as rice or cooked carrots.

Gastric flue

Cause:
- rotaviral infection of the gastrointestinal tract

What happens? What are the symptoms?
You may know those unpleasant symptoms, as adults with gastric flue have similar signs: diarrhoea, vomiting, weakness, lack of appetite, and fever may also occur.

What should you do?
As in case of diarrhoea, you should immediately contact a doctor, who will help the baby in the fastest and most efficient way. Home methods may fail.

Poisoning

Examples of causes:
- drinking incorrectly prepared formula,
- eating food past its best before date

What happens? What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are similar to gastric flue: diarrhoea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and fever may also occur.

What should you do? Also in this case, you should immediately contact a doctor.

Parasites - infections

It hapend when:
- there is a pet at home
- the aby puts dirty hands or unwashed food into his mouth.

What happens? What are the symptoms?
When the baby has a tummy ache (it does not necessary have to be a sharp pain), no appetite, sleeps uneasily (grinds its teeth, scratches around its bottom), he may be infected with parasites. Additional symptoms may include diarrhoea, flatulence and constipation, and rash.

What should you do?
You should definitely take your baby to a doctor. Do not delay, a series of stool tests may be necessary. When the doctor diagnoses a parasitic infection, he/she will probably prescribe a medicine to be taken not only by the baby, but also by the rest of the family.

Allergy and food intolerance


Examples of causes:
- the baby may be allergic to, e.g., milk or other products. Ensure that ingredient is not included in his diet.
- food intolerance: allergy to, e.g., lactose, gluten.

What happens? What are the symptoms?
Frequent tummy aches accompanied by lack of appetite. Observing for a longer time, you may notice the baby does not put on weight, has reccurring diarrhoea and constipations. Those symptoms occur after eating a product which the baby may be allergic to or does not tolerate; the baby may also develop rash.

 What should you do?
I would recommend noting circumstances in which the symptoms occur. This will help adapting your baby's diet to his needs during consultations with a doctor.

Appendicitis

Cause:
- infection

What happens? What are the symptoms?
First of all, sharp pain in the stomach (at the beginning, in the navel area, and later lower to the right), not passing away after an hour. The baby flexes his legs when laying. Additional symptoms, not always occurring, may include a fever and vomiting.

What should you do?
When the above symptoms do not disappear after an hour, I recommend seeing a doctor. If your worries are confirmed, hospitalisation and surgery will be necessary. 

 

 

 

 

 

Katarzyna

Mum of 5 year old Gola, 12 years of professional experience

Marta Piątkowska

Midwife
- consulting

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