What is an ostomy? What does an ostomy look like?

This is a picture of Jack’s ostomy (colostomy) after his bath. The way that I generally explain it is that it’s like the intestine is a sock. The surgeon cuts into a section of the intestine, then pulls it up above the belly and folds it over like a sock and attaches it to the skin. The result is called a “stoma.” As you can see there are 2 little stomas next to each other, one coming from the top of his intestine and the other coming from the bottom of his intestine.

Infant Colostomy
Jack’s Colostomy

We cover the stoma with an ostomy bag. I’ll show a step by step how to on changing the bag in another post. Instead of pooping like we do, Jack’s bowel empties from the stoma that comes from the top of his intestine into the bag. We then use a syringe to clean out the bag when we do diaper changes.

Hollister Ostomy Bag
Hollister Ostomy Bag
Convatec Wafer with Hollister Ostomy Bag
Convatec Wafer with Hollister Ostomy Bag

Yes, we still do diaper changes. Jack’s urethra and kidneys remain the same, so he still has wet diapers just like any other baby does.

You can see there is a little bit of redness on his skin around the stoma. That is from the wafer that attaches to his skin to hold the bag and protect his skin from breakdown. The longer the bag stays on the better the skin holds up. On a good run we’ll get 3 days-ish out of the bag/wafer. On average, we have to change it about every day and a half. This photo was taken when Jack was 7 weeks old and going through the 6-8 week colicky phase. The more belly movement (from crying) that he has, the shorter the timeframe for the wafer sticking and staying on. This redness is from a few days of daily bag changes. For this reason, we try not to allow him to CIO (cry it out). Crying not only causes a lot of belly movement that makes the wafer come off, but it also causes a lot of gas, which fills up the bag and causes pressure that also makes the wafer/bag weaker and not last as long. His skin is a lot less red when we get more time.

Convatec Little Ones Wafer
Convatec Little Ones Wafer


Stay tuned for a step by step pictorial on how to change the bag and some of the tricks we’ve learned that make it a lot easier.


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