New parents: you will relate to this. You will be completely obsessed with your child’s poop habits. All the time.
You’re going to know all about their ins and outs (literally). As much as we worry what goes in, we also worry about what comes out.
So as new parents, it’s important to find a good paediatrician who can answer your concerns about your child’s poop habits. But what questions should you be asking?
Good Poop Habits: What Should They Be?
We ask a local paediatrician what are her six most commonly asked questions about child poop and these are the questions that parents should also be checking up with their paediatricians during their visits.
Dr Joann Rajah, from ABC Children Specialist Clinic, shares what parents most commonly ask her when it comes to poop.
1. "My child's poop is green in colour. Is it normal?"
Green poop in children is pretty common. One of the main reasons is that the poop passed through the intestines too fast, so much that bile (green pigment) cannot be fully absorbed by the body.
This would explain why green poop is frequently seen during episodes of diarrhea. The green poop could also be a result of intake, like green leafy vegetables or food colouring.
2. "My child only poops once in 3 days. Shouldn’t it be daily?"
Bowel movements vary from child to child. Most children will either have 1-2 bowel movements in a day or once every 2-3 days. What is more important is the consistency of the poo. If your child only has bowel movements once in every 3 days but is passing soft stools with no discomfort or pain, then there is nothing to worry about.
3. "My child poops daily but in a tiny amount and pebble-like. Is it alright?"
An ideal stool would be one with these characteristics – smooth, sausage-shaped with minimal cracks on the surface. Bristol 3-4 on the chart. Although a child may be passing poo daily, if the consistency of the poo is hard and pebble-like and the child feels discomfort or needs to strain, the child most likely has constipation and would require intervention.
4. "Should every child take prebiotic supplements?"
Prebiotics has some benefits to overall gut health in kids and can be found in foods such as asparagus, garlic, onion,wheat, honey, banana, barley, tomato, rye, soybean, cow’s milk, peas, beans, and recently, seaweeds and microalgae1.
Since a healthy gut microbiome ensures a better immune system, it is important to include such foods in a child’s diet.
However, every child responds to prebiotics differently, therefore it would be prudent to check with your child specialist before attempting to start prebiotic supplements for your child.
5. "My child passes smelly gas. Should I be concerned?"
Passing gas is a normal occurrence in both children and in adults. Gas is caused by swallowed air during eating or drinking or from diet high in fibre such as beans and cabbage. Drinking carbonated drinks can also lead to excessive gas production.
Sometimes, the gas may be very smelly as it is influenced by the diet that the child takes. There are certain diseases that can cause foul-smelling gas which include constipation, bowel infection (gastroenteritis), malabsorption like Celiac disease and lactose intolerance.
1 Davani-Davari, D., Negahdaripour, M., Karimzadeh, I., Seifan, M., Mohkam, M., Masoumi, S., . . . Ghasemi, Y. (2019, March 9). Prebiotics: Definition, Types, Sources, Mechanisms, and Clinical Applications. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6463098/
6. "What are examples of food to limit in order to maintain a healthy gut?"
Some examples of food to limit would be:
Highly processed foods
Processed food such as ready meals and processed meats tend to be high in sugar, artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates and trans fats. This group of food not only disrupts the healthy gut microbiome but also contributes to obesity.
Fried foods are often cooked in oils rich in saturated or trans fat which can irritate the lining of the stomach leading to bloatedness, stomach pain and diarrhea.
Food high in sugar
This includes drinking too much fruit juices or overindulging in desserts and sweet snacks like donuts, cupcakes etc. A diet high in sugar in early life has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. A high sugar diet also predisposes children to dental caries if they do not brush their teeth regularly.
Keeping your child’s gut healthy all the time
What children need is a balanced diet and one that meets their nutritional intake everyday. Then, parents can worry less about their child’s gut health.
Dumex Mamil® contains a Unique Prebiotics Mixture GOS/lcFOS (9:1), which helps to maintain good gut health, which supports good nutrients absorption for your child’s overall growth23.
Mamil® is engineered with D-GestPro+™, which is a combination of Unique Prebiotics Mixture GOS/lcFOS (9:1),
Protein, Calcium and Vitamin D sourced from cow’s milk as well as 96mg DHA* content.
With their health taken care of, parents can focus more on other aspects of their development.
*Mamil® Step 3 contains 96mg DHA content based 3 servings per day
2 Slavin J. Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1417-35. 3Coudray C, Demigné C, Rayssiguier Y. Effects of Dietary Fibers on Magnesium Absorption in Animals and Humans. J Nutr. 2003;133(1):1-4