Stools of babies are supposed to be soft and loose. Newborn babies have stools frequently after every feeding. Because their stools are quite frequent, you may not know if your baby has diarrhea.
If the quantity of stools increases all of a sudden or more than one stool per feeding, it might be an indication of baby diarrhea.
Causes of Diarrhea in Babies
Baby diarrhea does not last very long usually. It is generally caused by a virus and gets normal by itself. Some reasons for the occurrence of baby diarrhea are:
- A change in the diet of a breastfeeding mother or a change in the baby’s diet.
- Use of antibiotics by the breastfeeding mother or the baby.
- Bacterial infection to the baby. The use of antibiotics is needed to cure such an infection.
- Cystic fibrosis
Dehydration as a side effect of Diarrhea in Babies
Children under 3 years of age and infants are prone to dehydration and getting sick quickly. A baby becomes dehydrated when it does not get enough liquids or water. You will have to watch your baby closely to notice the signs of dehydration. Some of the symptoms are:
- No tears while crying and dry eyes.
- Diapers are not as wet as they are usually.
- Lethargy and lack of activity.
- Irritable behavior
- Constantly dry mouth
- Skin dryness. This means that the skin does not go back to its normal form immediately after pinching.
- Sunken eyes and fontanelle.
Taking Care of Your Baby to prevent Dehydration
These are some of the things that you can do to ensure that your baby does not get dehydrated.
- Give sufficient water and liquids to the baby to ensure that there is no lack of water in their body.
- You should keep breastfeeding your baby while nursing as it prevents diarrhea and helps the baby to recover quickly.
- Use a full-strength formula if you are using one unless your doctor advises differently.
Consult a Doctor
Talk to your doctor if your baby still seems dehydrated and thirsty after or between feedings. The doctor may suggest Inflyte or Pedialyte to the baby. Some other liquids containing electrolytes might be recommended. Some of these liquids are as follows.
- Give two tablespoons of Pedialyte or Infalyte every hour to the baby. Do not give water after it.
- You can try giving your baby a Pedialyte popsicle if it is difficult to give it as a syrup.
If your baby does not take the medicine well and throws up, lower the amount and start with 1 tablespoon. Do not give any solid food in case the baby is vomiting. Keep in mind that you cannot give any antidiarrheal medicine to the baby unless the doctor says so.
Feeding Your Baby in Baby Diarrhea
If your baby was eating solid foods before diarrhea started, feed things that are not too hard on the stomach. You can start with:
Do not give foods that can increase diarrhea. Don’t give food items like:
- Apple juice
- Full-strength fruit juice
How to prevent diaper rash
Diarrhea may cause diaper rash to the baby. To prevent it, here are some things that you can do.
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently.
- Clean the baby’s bottom with water and reduce the use of baby wipes.
- Let the bottom of the baby air dry before you put on a diaper.
- Use a diaper cream to avoid a rash.
Keep your hands sanitized before and after changing the diapers as diarrhea caused by germs can spread very easily.
When should you call the doctor?
If you notice any of the following signs, call your doctor and discuss the situation with him.
- Diarrhea and fever for over 2 days
- More than 8 poops in the past 8 hours
- Continuous vomiting for over 24 hours
- Presence of blood, mucus, or pus in diarrhea
- Unusually inactive behavior of the baby
- Signs of having stomach pain
For babies and infants, diarrhea can be dangerous. It can lead to severe weight loss and dehydration. Loose stools occasionally are not an issue but persistent loose stools in increased frequency are something you should worry about. If your baby is a newborn and has fever along with the loose stools, call your doctor right away. Also, be on a lookout for signs of any stomach pain, loss of appetite, excessive sleepiness, signs of dehydration, and blood in the baby’s stool.