Top 5 “Healthy Tummy” Questions to Ask Your Pediatrician Today 

By Dr. Tanya Altmann

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Selecting the right pediatrician for your baby requires a lot of careful consideration and research.  However, once you’ve found the right one, it’s equally important to know the right questions to ask.  A good place to start is with what I call “healthy tummy” questions because oftentimes, good health begins with the gut.  Here are the top five questions I recommend for all new parents to ask their pediatricians today, followed by my quick overview of the answers. 

Question 1: How do I know if my baby is getting proper nutrition? 

Answer: Breastfeeding is a significant first step in making sure your baby is getting all of the nutrients he or she needs.  However, recent research shows that nine out of ten U.S. babies are missing the right good gut baceria to absorb all the amazing nutrition in breastmilk. Due to modern medical interventions such as increased C-sections and antibiotic use, an infant often doesn’t get the best start with the right gut bacteria, which makes them more prone to being populated by an overabundance of harmful bacteria which can lead to issues like eczema, allergies, colic, diabetes, and more.  Moms can combat the harmful bacteria, and repopulate their infant’s gut with good bacteria by feeding  their newborn probiotics like Evivo as early as day one. Evivo contains a strain of good bacteria known as B. Infantis that fights bad bacteria and helps babies retain more of the nutrients they need to build a strong gut microbiome from day one.

Question 2: What is considered “abnormal” when it comes to spit-up? 

Answer: Spit up is common, particularly with babies who are two to seven months old.  Even though it’s considered normal for babies to spit up at least once a day (usually within an hour of eating), there are three signs in addition to spit up that warrant further investigation by your pediatrician.

  1. Vomiting. There is a real difference between vomiting and just spitting up, and it’s important to know the difference.  Vomiting is the forceful, strained, throwing up of stomach contents that results in discomfort or pain for the baby.  Spitting up, on the other hand, is done with ease and doesn’t irritate the baby.  It’s may be accompanied by a burp. 
  2. Poor Weight Gain.  If a baby is spitting up all the time, he may not be absorbing the nutrients he needs to gain weight properly as needed for healthy growth and development. If this is the case, talk to your pediatrician about ways to decrease spit up and keep more nutrition down for proper weight gain.
  3. Changes in Bowel Movements.  Babies poop a variety of frequency, colors and consistencies, but sometimes changes in frequency, consistency and color may be a sign of GI issues and should be brought to your pediatricians attention. 
Question 3: When should I be worried about my baby’s poop?

Answer: Infant poop can come in a wide variety of frequencies and textures, but new research shows that the healthier an infant’s gut microbiome, the fewer and more well-formed stools he or she has each day.  Infant stool can also come in a variety of colors, but it is usually either mustard yellow or greenish-tan in color. And if your baby is eating solid food, you may see even more of a rainbow of colors. 

It is important to note that, if your baby’s stool is white or gray in color, call your pediatrician as this can be a sign of a liver or gallbladder problem.  Red or black stool also warrants a call to your pediatrician as it may be blood from an intestinal issue such as infection or allergy and may need further work up. 

Question 4: What can I do if my baby has excessive gas?

Answer: Let’s face it - having gas is uncomfortable, no matter your age.  But for babies, gas can be especially painful, disruptive, and a reason to cry. That said, all parents should know a few quick tips to help their babies relieve excessive gas.  The first is to burp your baby, which allows gas bubbles to escape from the stomach and up out of the mouth.  If that doesn’t do the trick, lay your baby on her back and gently move her legs around in circles, similar to riding a bicycle.  This helps to push gas out the bottom and alleviate stomach discomfort and can also be fun for your baby.  You can also try massaging your baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction.  In addition, exercise, and for babies that means Tummy time—is a great way to minimize gas and help strengthen important muscles.  Talk to your pediatrician if your baby continues to be fussy, cry, or has any feeding problems.  

Question 5: How is colic related to tummy troubles and what can I do to prevent it?

Answer: Colic may be associated with an imbalance in baby’s gut bacteria. This often means the bad bacteria (i.e E. Coli) outweigh the good bacteria, causing inflammation. One way to reduce the bad bacteria linked to colic is to increase the number of good bacteria, which can be done by feeding your baby probiotics such as Evivo.  Evivo contains the specific strain of good bacteria known as B. infantis which can significantly increase the good gut bacteria and reduce the levels of harmful bacteria to help resolve discomfort associated with colic.

Always remember that there are no questions too “silly” or “off limits,” for your pediatrician.  The more you ask, the better informed you will be when certain issues arise.  So, be inquisitive and start asking these - and more questions -  today!