Ten most commonly asked questions:
- How often should my child have a bowel movement?
Bowel movements vary between individuals. There is a natural decline in stool frequency from about 4 per day in newborns to 1 daily at 4 years of age. Constipation is defined in infants and preschool children as at least 2 weeks of:
- scybalous, pebble-like, hard stools for a majority of stools, OR
- firm stools 2 or less times a week; AND
- no evidence of structural, endocrine, or metabolic disease.
- My child is having very dark stool now that he is on Neocate. Is that normal?
Babies who take Neocate formula will have stool that is darker in color than what they likely had on a different formula. The stool may be very dark green, almost black in color. Their stools may become hard and less frequent. A laxative may be needed to help your child pass his stool. Please call our office if you have any questions about Neocate.
- My child has blood in his stool. What should I do?
Contact your physician immediately for evaluation. There are many conditions that can cause blood in the stool such as anal fissure from a hard stool, colitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and others.
- My child spits up frequently during the day. Is that normal?
Spitting up is a normal occurrence in infancy. In general, babies will spit up the most between the ages of 4 and 6 months. Spitting up should decrease in frequency between the ages of 6 months and 18 months. If your baby is a "happy spitter" there should be no reason for concern. However, if your baby is losing weight, appears to be in pain, has frequent upper respiratory infections, turns blue or chokes, has forceful vomiting more than one time per day, or has any other symptoms associated with spitting up that concern you, you should have your child seen by a health care provider.
- How much formula should my child get during the day?
The amount of formula your child takes depends on his or her age and weight. In general, a newborn will take 2 to 3 ounces of formula per feeding every three to four hours. By 1 month of age, you baby will likely take 4 ounces of formula at each feed about every 4 hours. By six months of age, you baby will likely take about 6 to 8 ounces of formula 4 to 5 times per day.
- What foods are associated with allergies?
Many foods can cause an allergic reaction however the most common food allergens in children are cow's milk, soybeans, peanuts, eggs and wheat. Other foods that commonly cause allergies are fish, shellfish, tree nuts. There is a higher prevalence of food allergy in children with atopic dermatitis as well as asthma.
- If my child was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux, which foods should he avoid?
Children with gastroesophageal reflux, or any inflammation of the GI tract, should avoid the following foods: fatty / fried foods, caffeine, chocolate, onions, peppermint, spicy foods, carbonated beverages, tomatoes, citrus products, pepper.
- My child was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. Where can I get more information?
Some helpful websites are: www.celiac.com, www.csaceliacs.org
- Should my child stop taking his antacid medication prior to his pH probe placement?
Your child should temporarily discontinue all medications he is on to treat gastroesophageal reflux prior to and during his pH probe study. If you have any questions about a particular medication that your child is on, please call our office prior to your child's pH probe study.
- What is irritable bowel syndrome?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common problem of the intestines, or bowels. People with IBS may experience abdominal pain and abnormal bowel movements. They may have constipation, diarrhea or both. IBS can be associated with mucus in the stool and bloating.
IBS may be caused by abnormal functioning of the intestines. The muscles in the intestines may contract slower (leading to constipation) or faster (leading to diarrhea) than normal. These abnormal contractions can lead to pain. If you think your child has symptoms consistent with IBS, you should discuss your child's symptoms with his health care provider.