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Pediatrics/Newborn(20 days old) gas/digestion troubles

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Question
Dear Dr Kumar,

Our newborn (just 20 days old) seems to be struggling a lot to either digest or pass gas/bowel movements.

- His face turns red and then dark with the force he is trying to exert. He folds and turns his hands, pushes his legs. Of late we see him spitting milk sometimes (undigested milk).

He is in this state most of the times when he is awake. He evens gets up from sleep with this discomfort. Here's a video of him in this state:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSooJCkUwF8&feature=youtu.be
The video is short but he keeps doing this for 30-45 mins and then falls to sleep tired, gets up and starts doing this again.

We have tried gas drops, it didn't help much. Thinking of trying homemade ghutti.

Could you please give us some advice on handling this? Its becoming too painful to watch and manage.

Regards,
Dev

Answer
Hi Dev,

Relax! Your baby sounds fine to me. All the "problems" you have described are NORMAL for a 20-day baby.

Babies turn red as they have high hemoglobin (about 15-18 mg/dL) as compared to older children/ adults. Their thinner skin make them appear even more red. The normal "pressure sensation" of normal bowel movement is perceived by babies as "discomfort" (they don't understand as yet what is going to happen) and they turn red whenever they strain, cry, etc. This is NORMAL.

The stool, ultimately is not hard; rather it is rather loose..hence there is no need for them to "struggle" to pass...It just appears to us that they are struggling.

The "twisting and turning" is only a form of babies' activity. The more bay does it, the more active is the baby (and it's good!)

Occasional spitting (regurgitation) (and even spitting after every feed in some babies) is normal and is likely to persist till they start sitting (around 6 months of age). Just continue burping after every feed and positioning baby on his rt side after ever feed for half an hour. It reduces the chance and amount of regurgitation.

They pass lot of gas as they are on breasstfeeding only that is superbly digested and totally converted into liquid and gas (hence loose stool with lot of gas)....This is again NORMAL.

Since all these are Normal phenomenon, no medicine/ ghutti would work. Every thing will keep settling gradually on its own over next few weeks to months. So relax and enjoy parenting!!

Best wishes,
Dr. Puneet Kumar,
Kumar Child Clinic, Dwarka,
New Delhi, India

www.KumarChildClinic.com

+91-9818356846  

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Dr. Puneet Kumar

Expertise

I would be happy to answer general queries on prevention and treatment of ailments in newborn, infant, toddler, child or an adolescent. Needless to say, it will not be possible to answer any query requiring specific diagnosis of a particular subject.

Experience

I have worked in various capacities (medical officer, resident, senior resident, consultant) in public as well as private sector in Pediatrics and Neonatology. Today, I have over 15 years of experience in the field.

Organizations
Currently, I am running my own clinic (Kumar Child Clinic) in Dwarka, New Delhi and am attached to Lifeline Hospital, Dwarka as consultant pediatrics and neonatology. I am also developing my clinic website into a comprehensive child health/ parenting website (http://www.kumarchildclinic.com)

Publications
(a) Chapter "National Immunization Schedule" in Frontiers of Social Pediatrics, Jaypee Publishers: 2nd edition, 2016. (b) Article, "All about Pertussis vaccines" in special issue of Indian Journal of Practical Pediatrics, July-Sept 2015 (c) Three chapters (DTP vaccines, Pneumococcal vaccines and Poliovirus vaccines) in "Textbook of Pediatrics for Post-graduates" First edition: 2015. (c) Chapter: "Alternative delivery methods of vaccines" in IAP textbook of Vaccines, First edition, 2014 (published by IAP/ Jaypee Brothers) (d) Special Article: "50 years of Immunization in India: Progress and Future" in January 2013 issue of Indian Pediatrics (e) Four chapters in "FAQ: Book on Vaccines and Immunization Practices" First edition, 2011 AND 2nd edition, 2015 published by Jaypee Brothers. (f) Three articles in special issue of Journal of Pediatric Sciences on “Controversies and Challenges in Pediatric Vaccination Today" in Sept, 2010. Co-edited the series also. http://www.pediatricsciences.com/issue/view/1050000010 (f) Regular column, “How do I treat” in Pediascene (www.pediascene.com) (g) Review article, “Role of Anti-Poliovirus Agents in Polio eradication and beyond” in Polio Pulse, April, 2008. (h) Chapter on “Acute Infectious Diarrhea” in Textbook of Infectious Diseases in Children. (An IAP Publication), 2007. 2nd edition in 2011. (i) Book-Review (IAP Pediatric Drug Formulary, 2004) in Pediascene, March 2005 (http://www.pediascene.com/page.php?cid=6&catid=9&id=132 ) (j) Case-report on Osteopetrosis. Jharkhand Journal of Pediatrics, Dec-2002.

Education/Credentials
After MBBS, I have done DNB residency in Pediatrics.

Awards and Honors
Winner of IAP practising pediatrician's quiz in 2001.

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