If your infant is experiencing an upset stomach or other gastrointestinal issues after receiving formula, you might simply need to switch formulas to one more suitable for babies with sensitive stomachs.
Be sure to check if this solves the problem.
Sometimes, multiple preterm infants in the same nursery will develop NEC.
Although this can be merely a coincidence, since NEC cannot be spread directly from one infant to another, outbreaks can affect multiple babies in a NICU due to bacteria in formula or other factors.
Some of the most common treatments for NEC include stopping feedings, removing gas bubbles from the intestine through a tube, administering fluids through an IV, and a course of antibiotics.
Infants who don’t respond to these treatments or have a more serious condition might need a longer period to recover before they can have normal bowel movements again.
In some cases, particularly when perforations in the intestinal lining occur, infants may require surgery to treat gas bubbles and remove damaged tissue.
During surgery, a physician will remove the portion of the infant’s intestine that is perforated or where the tissue has been sufficiently damaged to the point that a rupture is likely to occur.
While surgeons will try to preserve as much of the intestinal tract as they can, in severe cases, they might have to reroute the baby’s stools so that they don’t continue seeping into the abdominal cavity.
A surgeon may choose to perform what is known as an ostomy and reroute the intestines outside of the abdomen, usually somewhere near the stomach, allowing the infant’s waste to pass out of a stoma (or opening) in the abdomen.
In addition to preventing waste from getting into the abdominal cavity and causing infections, it also gives the rest of the intestinal tract more time to recover from the infection.
Once the infant has fully healed, the surgeon can reverse the ostomy and reconnect the intestinal tract so that the infant can pass waste out of the anus as they usually would.
This usually takes place after at least six weeks have passed so that the baby has sufficient time to recover.
Malabsorption tends to occur more often in infants who had to have a portion of their intestine taken out due to tissue damage.
If the intestines won’t properly absorb food, then the baby can’t get the nutrients it needs to gain weight and develop.
If a baby is experiencing malabsorption, they might have to receive nutrients through an IV until their intestines are fully healed.
While it can be difficult to watch a baby with NEC suffer, discontinuing feedings and seeking treatment is the best option.
Even babies who suffer tissue damage in the intestinal wall or intestinal strictures and must have a portion of their intestines removed often make a full recovery and are able to return to regular feedings within a number of weeks.
With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three. She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.
In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.
In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!
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