Archive for the ‘East Valley Childrens Center’ Category

March 2012

Normal, healthy infants do not need to have a bowel movement every day. Infants may go up to a week without a bowel movement, though some breast fed infants will have five to ten seedy bowel movements each day. There is very wide variation between children. As long as the stool that is passed is soft, the baby is not constipated regardless of the frequency. Constipation means painful bowel movements that are difficult to pass and noted to be small and hard, or ball-like, in appearance. Remember, some grunting, groaning, and fussing with bowel movements is normal and does not necessarily mean constipation.

If your 6 to 18 month infant has difficulty with painful bowel movements or large, hard bowel movements, the problem usually is the diet. Baby foods generally tend to be constipating because there is little nondigestible residue. Of the baby foods, cereals, squash, carrots, and meat tend to be the most constipating. Foods that contain nondigestible material such as the vegetables (except for the carrots and squash), and foods that contain bowel stimulants such as fruits (especially prunes), tend to increase the frequency of bowel movements. Introduction of whole milk often is associated with less frequent, firmer stools.

Refer to our website for information on treating constipation in toddlers and older children.

For treating constipation in infants, you may try the following:
1) Increase fluid intake by adding additional water in between feedings. One or two ounces twice daily is usually sufficient.
2) Add one teaspoon of Karo syrup to a bottle of formula once or twice daily.
3) If the above are not successful, an ounce of prune juice once or twice daily may be tried. No laxatives or enemas should be used without consultation.

March 2012

Parents often become more concerned over the type and frequency of stools that their child has than about any other single bodily function. Occasionally a child will have sufficient difficulties with his/her bowel movements to cause concern, but this is actually quite uncommon. Normally a baby will have from one stool every three to four days up to six or seven stools in a single day. Bottle fed babies usually have fewer stools than breast fed babies.

The appearance of the stools will vary from loose, mushy, watery stools to firm, toothpaste consistency stools. They will occasionally have mucous mixed throughout. The color will vary from mustard yellow to dark brown with an occasional green stool (especially when the baby receives iron fortified formula). Breast fed stools tend to be looser and more frequent than bottle fed stools. One accurate description of a breast fed stool is “Karo syrup with a little cottage cheese mixed in.”

As long as the stools are passed spontaneously with little signs of distress, they are normal. However, it is normal for a child to grunt and strain with bowel movements and occasionally turn red in the face, though prolonged crying may indicate difficulties. Never use cathartics, laxatives, enemas, or suppositories without first consulting us. In most instances, when stool problems are present, dietary manipulation is all that is necessary to resolve the difficulties (see section on “Feeding”).

March 2012

Occasionally, a yeast will cause or worsen a diaper rash. It is referred to as a “fungal infection”, a “yeast infection”, monilia, candidiasis, and cutaneous thrush. The yeast, Candida Albicans, grows rapidly on the lining of the mouth as well as in the diaper area. In the diaper area, the rash tends to occur most often around the genitals with extension onto the mons pubis (the skin above the genitals), and in the skin folds. The rash appears pink to red with an irregular but sharply defined border. Frequently, there are small blisters or pimples along the border area called satellite lesions. There is often peeling of the skin at the edges of the rash.

Treatment requires careful attention to hygiene in the diaper area (frequent changes, avoidance of disposable wipes, careful washing with water and occasionally with mild soap and water, and medication. LOTRIMIN, MICATIN, and MONISTAT creams may be purchased without a prescription and applied two to three times per day until the rash clears.

Oral thrush usually requires a prescription medication. However, it can usually be controlled by carefully wiping the white plaques from the gums, cheeks, and lips with a gauze pad. If you believe your newborn has thrush that requires prescription medication, please call the office to schedule an appointment.

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East Valley Children's Center 3200 S. George Drive, Tempe AZ 85282 ( map )
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Office Hours: By Appointment Only. M-F 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Evenings & Saturdays on urgent basis only.