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 Frequently Asked Questions

Q: My child passes stools after every feed. Last night he passed around 6 stools. He also hiccups very often.

Divya (Nainital, India)

A: A healthy breast-fed baby can pass up to 20 stools per day. So also may not pass stools for 1 week. Both are normal and no need to treat. Also hiccups are normal.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My child has been suffering from diarrhoea-like symptoms for the past three days. Stools vary from watery to a curd-like consistency, accompanied by vomiting and fever. Stool frequency was 5-7 times a day and he has been vomiting 3-4 times a day. What should I do?

Anusha (Chnnai, India)

A: I think your child has viral diarrhoea. This generally starts getting better after 3-4 days. Give your child 'Econorm' granules (half packet dissolved in half glass of water twice a day for 3 days).

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: Our baby girl is suffering from mild diarrhoea at the moment and is under medication (2nd day). She was passing greenish stools before the medication and is still continuing to do the same. As she is not eating any food that is green in colour, why are her stools green?

Rekha (Goa, India)

A: If your child is passing green stools, this does not mean that her stomach is upset. It means that the stools are being hurried, and what you are seeing is the undigested bile. Once the stools decrease in frequency, the colour will return to normal.

Q: My son has got diarrhoea. He passes stools around 8 to 10 times a day, and after every meal. What should I do?

Kundana (Gurgaon, India)

A: Your son is gaining weight adequately, so I do not think he has any problem. If you are worried then you should check with his paediatrician. He may have milk protein or sugar intolerance. Sometime, other gastro-intestinal disorders may cause malabsorption resulting in diarrhoea. But I don't think he has any disorder as he is growing well. He may be having functional diarrhoea for which there is no cause. Infants often have watery diarrhoea intermittently associated with constipation. They might pass it immediately after waking up and after feeds. They may even pass undigested foodstuff in their stools. They may also have suffered vomiting in earlier stages of infancy. There is no treatment for this and there is no need to worry, as they will definitely grow out of it.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: My daughter seems to have constant gastric complaints. At times, she has dehydration. The paediatrician cannot solve this problem. After feeding her milk or any type of food she has loose motions. What can I do?

Malini (Mumbai, India)

A: You have not mentioned what milk feeds you are feeding your girl. If you are feeding her fresh cows milk, you can change it to formula milk. If she is still having the problem then may be she is not digesting the milk, and she may be lactose intolerant. Milk contains a sugar called lactose, which cannot be digested by some individuals. This sugar stays in the intestines and bacteria acts on it, producing gases. The unabsorbed sugar brings more water into the intestines, causing diarrhoea. It is very common in Asians. See whether she can tolerate other milk products like curd, yoghurt etc. If she is not tolerating any milk products, you can try lactose free formulae. If she has blood in her stools accompanied by rash, she may be allergic to the milk protein and in this case you can try soya milk. Her weight gain seems to be satisfactory. So, donŠt worry. At the age of 1, children should be eating what adults eat. If you think milk is the problem, stop giving it for a while and see how it goes.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: I introduced solids to my baby when he was three months old. After that, since I started going out to work, he was given lactogen regularly. During this period he passed firm stools two to three times a day. For the past two months he is being fed cow milk. At the same time his bowel movements have become more watery. He passes watery stools three to four times a day. He shows no signs of any illness. Is this normal? Is it because of teething or do I need to take him to his paediatrician? Anther problem is that some white patches appeared on his forehead, and are refusing to go. His doctor says there is nothing to worry about.

Sunaina (California, U.S.A)

A: The stool pattern of children on artificial feeds can be variable. As long as your child is playing well and gaining weight there is no need to worry. White patches on the face occur during growth. As your child grows, they will disappear.

Dr. Balasubramanian

Q: For the past 7-8 days, my child has been passing watery stools. Recently, we found blood in the stool. We consulted a physician. It was revealed that she has contacted bacterial dysentery. Is this dangerous for my child? What food can I give her? She doesn't eat! How could she have contracted it?

Nitin (Banglore, India)

A: Bacterial dysentery is quite common problem, especially if you are bottle-feeding the child. Give the appropriate antibiotic prescribed by your doctor. It is not a dangerous disease if treated promptly.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My daughter keeps passing stools in her nappy. I don't believe this is normal. The consistency of her stools are very soft. She passes stools a lot more often than she urinates.

Praneila (London, U.K)

A: I think your child may be having functional diarrhoea or toddlers diarrhoea. It is quite common for some infants to have this. The symptoms of this are they put on adequate weight and grow properly, have intermittent diarrhoea, have previous history of infantile colic or reflux (sicky baby) and/or have associated psychosocial stress factors. The reasons apart from these functional causes are excessive fluid intake, sweets, overeating etc. Your child seems to be overweight. So just make sure she is not consuming too many carbohydrates.

Q: I nurse my baby and give him one solid feed. A few days ago he developed viral diarrhoea. My doctor asked me to give him Walamycin. I had his stool test done. He had a mild bacterial infection. My doctor says that there is nothing to worry about - the infection should clear on its own. I am worried. Should I continue giving him solids or should I only nurse him till it clears?

Janki (Mumbai, India)

A: I think you are unduly getting worked up. Such stools are normal in breastfed children. You are doing a perfectly good job as far as your son's feeding is concerned. Do not stop the solid feeds. Continue with what you are doing.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My daughter has diarrhoea. We have given her a lot of medicines, including antibiotics (Normet) but the motions have not stopped. We are extremely worried as she is becoming very weak. Please help!

Chintan (Jaipur, India)

A: Try giving Syr. Wallamycin 5 ml 3 times for 5 days.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My daughter has been passing loose motions for the past month. She passes stools about 8-10 times a day. Her stools are sometimes green in colour. The water quantity in the motion is not much. We gave her Gramoneg (Nalidixic acid) for 5 days, but she hasn't improved.

Sohan (Chennai, India)

A: There is no need to give your child any medication since she is passing semi-solid stools. Your child is just experiencing what is called a gastro-colic reflex, which is normal in babies. There is no need to worry. Continue feeding her as before.

Dr. Subba Rao

Q: My daughter is eleven months old. She was premature by three weeks. Since the last month she has been having repeated bouts of diarrhoea. The first time she had greenish stools with mucous for which the doctor prescribed Gramoneg & Aristozyme drops. Two days later her temperature shot up, but the doctor told me to persist with the above medicines. However, even after the course got over, she still had loose motions. A couple of days later she got severe watery diarrhoea and vomiting. The above doctor refused to examine my baby so we rushed to another doctor who prescribed Negadix, Sporlac, domstal, Vomiteb, and mother's milk. After a week, her stools normalised, but then once again she started passing loose stools 3 to 4 times a day. This time he is having Normet and Sporlac.

Jyotika (Mumbai, India)

A: 1. How can I prevent my daughter from getting diarrhoea? Answer: Nine months is the time when children tend to put everything in their mouth. Just ensure that all her toys are clean, that she does not lay her hands on dirty things like chappals, and that her nails are cut regularly. This should help in preventing diarrhoea 2. Is her diet adequate? Answer: Her diet seems to be adequate but you may gradually start giving her more of the foods that you eat albeit without spices. Your goal by the end of 15-18 months should be to get her off baby food completely and have her eat everything that is made for everybody else at home. 3. My doctor tells me to give her mother's milk 3-4 times a day and no feed in the night. Is this correct? Answer: Your doctor is correct. By and large, by the age of 9 months, night feeds are not essential as far as nutrition is concerned. After that age, the child is generally using the breast as a pacifier to put herself back to sleep. 4. As I am breastfeeding her often, what should be the consistency of her stools? Answer: The consistency of stools also depends on the other foods that you give her, and only adequate fibre and fluids will ensure that the stools are well-formed and soft. 5. There is a history of asthma in my family. Is it necessary to give her external milk in addition to mother's milk? My daughter so far has had no problem with egg yolk and banana. Answer: As there is a history of asthma in the family, it is a good idea not to give her any external milk, at least until her first birthday. External milk also contains an animal protein, which may lead to allergy. 6. She has not yet started teething. Should I worry? Answer: There is no cause for concern on this front. 7. How long do I need to sterilise her utensils? Answer: Since she is having frequent bouts of diarrhoea, it may be a good idea to continue sterilising at least until the rainy season is over. Beyond that, just washing the utensils clean is good enough. 8. Do I need to give Cecon drops on a regular basis? Answer: Cecon drops are not required on a regular basis. 9. How do I prevent mosquitoes from biting her? Answer: Use a mosquito net, especially since there is a history of asthma in the family. Other mosquito repellents tend to irritate the airway. 10. How do I make her drink water? Answer: Try not to force her to drink water. If she is thirsty, he will have it on his own. 11. Do I need to give her a Chicken pox Vaccine? Answer: This vaccine is not essential. The immunity of this vaccine will last for 20 years. 12. Does what the mother eat affect the baby's stomach? Answer: No. 13. If the mother has diarrhoea, will the baby have diarrhoea? Answer: No.

Dr. Ajit Gajendragajkar

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