A newborn baby could not grow and develop unless he’s able to eat and digest properly. Any difficulty in absorbing nutrients and any bowel movement problem post-breastfeeding could be a temporary issue or a more complicated health condition. Here are the symptoms of gastrointestinal disorders in babies:
It’s normal for a baby to spit up some milk while burping or after feedings due to the weak sphincter muscle separating the stomach from the esophagus. But it’s not normal for a baby to have a severe vomiting or suffer from projectile vomiting or spit a great amount of milk after most feeds, for these types of symptoms might indicate indigestion problems in breastfeed babies.
GERD or Acid Reflux:
If a baby suffers from GERD, he’s more likely to spit up constantly all what he eats during a feed, choke on his milk or stop suddenly from breastfeeding.
A GERD condition is caused by the stomach content going backwards to the esophagus either due to food allergy or by failure of the valve at the bottom of the esophagus. In most cases, GERD doesn’t require any intervention. However, we advise the mother to go by these tips in order to alleviate her baby’s discomfort:
- To nurse the baby small amounts of milk at frequent intervals.
- To hold baby in upright position during and after breastfeeding.
- To stimulate baby to burp while breastfeeding.
- To leave baby in upright position for around 30 minutes after each feed.
- To avoid tightening diapers on baby’s tummy.
- To mind calling the physician whenever the vomiting increases in severity or whenever the baby refuses to breastfeed or has difficulty breathing during and after breastfeeding.
In the first days after birth, it’s quite normal for a baby not to be able to digest milk and retain it in his stomach. But, it’s not normal that he continues in the same way for more than just few days, as this might be the result of congenital stomach and intestinal defect, and needs to be referred to a physician for treatment.
A newborn baby may become dehydrated due to diarrhea and heavy bowel movements. That’s why it’s advisable to immediately treat these kinds of symptoms and consult the pediatrician whenever a change occurs in baby’s stool consistency, color or frequency.
Colic is one of the digestive disorders that hit babies during the first three to four months of life. In most cases, colic symptoms start showing in babies 3 weeks after birth. They reach their utmost during week 6 then gradually start reducing again by month 3.
There are no proven causes for colic, but some believe that the following factors may lead to colic symptoms: baby not coping with his environment, excessive gas and milk intolerance.
Regardless of which type of gastrointestinal disorder might hit your child during the first stages of life, remember that the following practices can be very beneficial to your bundle of joy and can help ease most of his discomforts:
- Make sure you nurse your little one at short but close intervals.
- Learn to massage your baby in a very gentle manner, while passing your fingertips over the digestive pressure points in his abdomen.
- Have your baby spend some time on his tummy, as it could help him digest and give him comfort by putting great pressure on his belly.
- From time to time, put your baby in a sling to keep him in an upright position, stimulate his bowel movement and massage the pressure points in his tummy through constant direct contact with your body.
In addition to the gastrointestinal disorders mentioned above, other types of problems, more dangerous but less common may also hit babies while in utero and cause them congenital malformations, either in the esophagus or the stomach, the intestine, the abdominal wall, the anus or the rectum. In such cases, treatment would be complicated and often requires surgical intervention.
Read More: Breastfeeding Your Baby With Acid Reflux
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