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So your baby has a stoma…

Babies sometimes have a stoma formed as a temporary means to allow them to pass faeces. Your doctor will provide more details on how long to expect your baby to have his/her stoma.

In hospital, the Stomal Therapy Nurse will have given you lots of information on caring for the stoma, the purpose of this article is to provide you with more tips for managing everyday life with your baby that has a stoma. This can be a very busy time for you and being a little organised will ease your day.

  • Remember the stoma does not hurt when you touch it so don’t be afraid to cuddle your baby. This is an important time to have mummy/daddy cuddles.
  • Bathe your baby with the stoma bag off, he/she may poo in the bath but that’s no harm. The warm water will be nice to wash your baby’s tummy; don’t add any baby oils into the bath water as this may stop the new stoma pouch from adhering to your baby’s tummy.
  • The stoma is usually red or pink, when your baby cries it may change to a deeper red colour but will return to normal when your baby settles.
  • Always check that the skin around your baby’s stoma is healthy and not broken or bleeding, if any of this happens contact your Stomal Therapy Nurse for advice.
  • After a short time you will get used to the routine of changing your baby’s stoma, it is good to be organised and have everything prepared before you start taking the stoma pouch off. Your Stomal Therapy Nurse may have provided a list of the items needed and instructions on each step in the pouch change. Keep this with your stoma supplies and refer to it when getting ready to do a pouch change.
  • At first it is good to have your partner to help with changing the pouch but practice doing this by yourself too as you may have to do it by yourself when he/she is not around to help.
  • Always check the pouch at every nappy change, there may be a collection of wind that needs to be released or maybe some poo that can be emptied into the old nappy. When you’re out and about it’s handy to carry a zip lock bag to empty the stoma contents into, this can then be disposed of easily and it can save a mess.
  • You may need to dress your baby in a bigger nappy to cover the stoma pouch; it is better to have a bigger nappy rather than one that cannot contain the stoma pouch and may be pushing it off or catching in the baseplate.
  • Prepare a small kit to take with you when leaving home for a few hours or the day. Include a prepared stoma pouch, some cleaning wipes, a zip lock bag for stoma contents and a rubbish bag. This will save a panic if the pouch leaks and requires a change while you’re away from home.
  • When attending hospital or doctor appointments for your baby, always carry this little kit as the doctor may want to remove the stoma pouch to examine the baby.
  • Dressing your baby in onesies stops inquisitive hands playing with the stoma pouch and lifting it off. If your baby has grown out of onesies or the climate where you live is too hot for this type of clothing, talk to your Stomal Therapy Nurse about other options to cover the pouch and provide support.