June 19, 2024

Vita Nectar

Health is the main investment in life

Digestive Issues In Newborns: Here’s how to manage common digestive issues in newborns |

2 min read
While welcoming a newborn into the family is a happy moment, there can be certain difficulties, particularly with digestion. Gastric issues in newborns can be uncomfortable for both the infant and the parents. The capacity of a baby to consume and process food is essential to their growth and development. While the majority of newborns adjust to eating, nutrition absorption, and bowel movements without any problems, some may experience typical digestive problems that need close observation and treatment.
Identifying digestive issues in newborns involves recognizing various signs and symptoms.
Vomiting, characterized by spitting up after feedings due to the immature sphincter muscle between the stomach and oesophagus, is generally considered normal. On the other hand, violent or projectile vomiting might be an indication of something more serious, particularly if the vomit is coloured or has a green tint, which could suggest an intestinal blockage that has to be treated right once.
Reflux, marked by constant spitting up, gagging, or choking during feedings, suggests an issue that can be managed by adjusting feeding positions, offering smaller amounts more frequently, and ensuring the baby stays upright. Seeking medical attention is crucial if reflux symptoms worsen or if the baby exhibits signs of breathing difficulties.

Diarrhoea, characterized by watery and frequent bowel movements in contrast to normal yellow, formed stools, demands attention due to the risk of dehydration. Contacting the paediatrician is essential if there’s a sudden change in bowel movements or if the baby displays signs of lethargy or poor eating.

Colic, presenting as prolonged and excessive crying in an otherwise healthy infant, typically begins around 3 weeks, peaks at 6 weeks, and gradually improves by 3 months. Potential causes include adjustments to the new environment, temperament, or oversensitivity to gas.
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Practical advice for managing infant digestive issues includes burping the baby during and after feedings to release trapped air, keeping the baby’s head raised during feedings to prevent reflux and discomfort, making sure the latch during breastfeeding minimises air intake, adjusting milk flow to prevent air gulping, and incorporating tummy time after feedings to relieve gas and aid digestion (with caution to wait a bit after feeding). When it comes to how long gastrointestinal issues in babies last, reflux and colic usually go away by the time the child is 3–4 months old, virus infections that cause diarrhoea go away in a week, but bacterial infections may take longer, and constipation is usually treatable with medication or dietary adjustments.

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While some baby digestive problems could go away with time and care, others might need medical assistance. If symptoms worsen or last longer, see a paediatrician for a full assessment and advice that is appropriate. Newborn digestive issues must be managed and resolved with patience, attention, and prompt medical assistance.
(Author: Dr Santosh Kait, Consultant, Neonatologist, Sahyadri Super Speciality Hospital, Nagar Road, Pune)


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