Jan 14, 2010

Lactose and leaking diapers, or "How diarrhea causes diarrhea"

When I woke up yesterday morning, the very first thing this mom did was check the baby's diaper, looking for something I had been waiting to see for two sleepless nights: poop.

And hallelujah, there it was! Gooey, sticky, massive poop. Not yellow-brown water. Honest-to-goodness poop.

It was beautiful. It meant the baby's diarrhea was gone. No more changing diapers every hour all night long. No more poop-stained pajamas and shirts that were casualties when the diaper could not absorb fast enough the great gushing geyser of EJ's pwet (anus).

What had caused it?

Well, frankly, we never found out what caused the diarrhea to begin in the first place. We needed a lab test for that.

But since the baby didn't seem dehydrated, I just kept on breastfeeding him, since five years of baby-raising experience taught this Filipino mom that breastfeeding was an excellent way of managing infant vomiting and diarrhea.

But it was different this time. The baby's sickness was lasting longer than I was used to. Finally, I remembered to search my online bestfriend when it comes to child raising: babycenter.com.

And finally, I found the answer -- lactose intolerance.

Wha-aat? But isn't that something a baby is born with?

Well that's what I thought anyway. And since the baby has been drinking my milk for nine months already, lactose intolerance just never crossed my mind.

Diarrhea-induced diarrhea

But lactose intolerance it was. Apparently, diarrhea can supress the body's ability to produce lactase, which is needed to digest the lactose in milk. So the child becomes temporarily lactose intolerant, which results in more diarrhea. It's a vicious cycle: diarrhea-induced diarrhea.

The solution, of course, was lactose-free milk. We got the smallest pack we could get and started the baby on it immediately. After two hours, the diarrhea stopped.

That night, I was forced to give the baby a bottle for his night feedings. No such thing as lactose-free breastmilk, unfortunately.

But it paid off. Thirty-six hours of lactose-free milk and the baby was well enough for his body to start producing lactase again. The lactose intolerance was gone, and so was the diarrhea.

Welcome back, poop! I am so happy to see you!

 

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