Rumbly in the Tummy: How to Treat Stomach-Related Illnesses

Bloody Stool

baby looking down at tummy

What You See: A "red flag" (poop with a streak of blood)

The Diagnosis: Constipation

You're changing baby's diaper and you see...blood. A streak or speck on the surface of formed poop almost always means the skin around the anus is slightly torn, causing it to bleed. This tear also means baby is constipated. Once he's no longer stopped up, the skin will heal and the bleeding will end. However, if you see poop that contains blood or mucus, see a doctor. And if you're wondering how often your baby should be pooping, here's a rule of thumb: Start worrying if the time between his bowel movements is spread out longer than usual. For instance, if he usually goes once a day and starts going every third or fourth, that's a potential problem.

Treat It: After each diaper change, apply petroleum jelly around the anus. When baby is constipated, the "fix it with food" mantra really sticks. If your child isn't yet on baby food, give him two to four ounces daily of apple or pear juice -- they contain sorbitol, which helps keep things moving (talk to your doctor if your baby is younger than 4 months). If he's already eating baby food, feed him jarred fruits; if he's on table food, give him plenty of fiber-rich veggies and beans and cut back on dairy. Not improving within a day or two? Talk with your doctor about a stool softener.

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