How to Recognize a Baby's Gastrointestinal Symptoms

By Tuan Dinh

A healthy gastrointestinal tract allows your baby to digest food and is central to normal development. Having gastrointestinal problems might interfere with your baby's nutrient intake and result in serious health consequences. Learn how to recognize if your baby has gastrointestinal problems.

Keep track of your baby's bowel movements. A baby has constipation if she does not have bowel movement for at least three days. Another sign of constipation is hard and dry stool. If you breastfeed your baby, the risk of constipation is low.

Check your baby's stool for signs of diarrhea. Baby stool is generally soft. If your baby poops more frequently and her stool is softer and more watery than usual, then she might have diarrhea. Her stool maybe also greenish yellow. Diarrhea may cause dehydration, fever and vomiting. Contact your doctor immediately.

Check for the symptoms of milk allergy after your baby consumes milk. The symptoms of milk allergy include diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty in breathing. You may want to stop feeding your baby cow milk. You can reintroduce cow milk later when your baby is older. Symptoms of lactose intolerance start 30 minutes to 1 hour after consuming products that contain milk. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include gas, bloating diarrhea and abdominal pain. Note that lactose intolerance is rare in babies.

Vomiting may indicate that the gastrointestinal tract is either irritated or swollen by an infection or blockage. If your baby vomits, keep her lying on her stomach to minimize vomiting. Vomiting normally goes away. Contact your doctor immediately if your baby's vomiting does not stop.

Ten percent of newborns suffer from colic. Colic may come with contractions of the intestine which trigger abdominal pain. Swaddle your baby to calm him down.

About the Author

Dr. Tuan Dinh has 10 years of experience in writing and publishing in science and medicine. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering from University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering/nuclear engineering from Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.