24 January, 2019
No two people are the same. That’s why a colostomy affects everyone differently. For many, like Vicki Smith’s little boy Harry, it can provide a new lease on life. Here are her tips for other parents on babies with a stoma.
1) Don’t stress, it’s only poop!
2) There aren’t any nerves in the stoma, so your child cannot feel pain if you touch it.
3) Leaks aren’t always obvious. If your child is in distress and you don’t spot a leak, change the bag anyway.
4) Poo can cause sore skin and pain for your child when the bag leaks.
5) Use a barrier when needed. We were advised to always use a barrier, but this made it trickier to stick the bag. Harry never experienced sore skin, so we clearly did something right!
6) Empty air out of the bag. They’re no fun when they go pop in the night!
7) Make sure the skin is dry before you apply the bag.
8) It’s fine to bath the baby with the bag still on. In fact, it’s less messy. I always changed Harry’s bag after his bath, to ensure it didn’t become unstuck.
9) Let babies have time without the bag on. Lay them on a towel or mat.
10) If you think you’re ready to cry, ask for help! There’s always someone that can offer advice on the Colostomy UK Support Group page on Facebook. There’s also your stoma care nurse and the Colostomy UK helpline, manned by volunteers who can arrange for a parent in similar circumstances to phone you. Remember it’s OK not to be OK.
Colostomy UK’S stoma support line can be reached 24 hours a day on 0800 328 4257. We can also put you in touch with volunteers who have children with a stoma and can offer you their own experience based support and guidance