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Caring for a Child with an Ostomy

Caring for a child is one of the greatest blessings a parent can receive. It’s also one of the most challenging. It’s even more challenging when a parent learns their child will need pediatric ostomy surgery. So many questions flood parents’ minds when they learn the news.

We want you to know having feelings of worry and anxiety is completely normal. The good news is that you can move past the worry and anxiety into a place of understanding. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have an understanding of what to expect after the surgery and steps to make the transition easier for you. Read on to learn more.
caring for child with ostomy

What To Expect After Your Child’s Pediatric Ostomy Surgery

Here are a few important principles to remember after your child has pediatric ostomy surgery.

  1. You won’t be able to control the output from the stoma. It will happen automatically whenever it’s time. The stoma output may also be relatively constant throughout the day, whether they have a urostomy, ileostomy, or colostomy.
  2. In some cases, the stoma may not function properly right away. Typically, your child’s doctor will want them to stay in the hospital after surgery until they see some output from your child’s stoma. For issues with delayed stoma output that may occur after you get home, consult with your child’s doctor.
  3. The stoma may also be red and swollen for a while. However, as the stoma heals, it will likely get smaller. It’s also important to remember a stoma can grow as your child grows. This may result in needing different pediatric ostomy product sizes over time to fit your child’s changing body.

Keeping Your Child’s Stoma Clean

The skin around the stoma is called peristomal skin. Your child will have no feeling in the stoma itself, but the skin around the stoma can become irritated and sensitive if not taken care of properly.

To help reduce the chance of skin irritation, you’ll need a properly fitting pediatric skin barrier. Using mild soap and water is one of the best ways to keep the area around the stoma clean. Unless directed by your doctor, stay away from baby wipes, oils, powders, or ointments around the stoma.

Diet and Nutrition

Staying properly hydrated is important. In fact, many doctors say the average person should drink an average of 8-ounce glasses of water, 8 times per day. The same goes for your little one. Children with an ostomy can become dehydrated easier. If you notice dark urine, it may mean your child isn’t drinking enough water. So encourage them to drink plenty of water.

It’s also important to know what food can be helpful and harmful to your child.

  • Foods that may cause gas: Yogurt, buttermilk, cranberry juice, and parsley
  • Foods to avoid to prevent blockage of the stoma: nuts and seeds
  • Foods that may cause loose stools: baked beans, tomatoes, chocolate, some dairy, and fried foods.

Parents feeding their baby

Helping Your Child With Everyday Life

As a parent, you know just how much your children move around. Kids are always on the go. Here are a few helpful points to remember.


Your child can take a bath with their pediatric ostomy pouch on or off. Water will not get into or harm your child’s stoma. Just keep in mind that if you take the pouch off, the stoma still functions in the tub. Also, avoid using oily soaps or lotions as they both could interfere with the barrier around the skin.


There’s a common misconception that children with a pediatric ostomy should sleep on their backs. Your child can sleep on their stomach or side without hurting the stoma. Just remember to empty the pouch before bed!


Safety is always important when traveling. Whether you’re traveling by plane or riding in a car, taking the proper safety measures is always important. In a car, it’s recommended to always have your child in a car seat. However, if possible, you should avoid placing the seat belt over the stoma. Also, it’s helpful to have their supplies in a backpack they can carry.

kelly sibley 180 medical employee
Kelly is a Product Specialist at 180 Medical with real-life experience of caring for a child with an ostomy. She and our other specialists offer compassionate service while helping you find the right pediatric ostomy products for your child. Watch her story here.

Questions About Your Child’s Ostomy? 180 Medical is here to help!

Here at 180 Medical, we do everything in our power to get you the resources and pediatric ostomy products you need. If you have any questions or concerns about caring for your child’s pediatric ostomy, feel free to reach out. Our Ostomy Specialists are here to help!

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Call Toll-Free (877) 688-2729

About the Author
Caring for a Child with an Ostomy
180 Medical is a nationally-accredited provider of intermittent catheters, incontinence supplies, and ostomy products.

Our highly trained specialists are glad to contribute information like their extensive product knowledge, fun happenings at 180 Medical, charitable events across the country, and more.