How can I tell my baby has diarrhea ?
It may be difficult to tell if your baby has diarrhea or not. This is because baby stool is usually soft and loose especially if he is breast-fed. Newborns also poop frequently as much as after every feeding. However a sudden change in the pattern of a baby’s bowel movement. That is he poops more often than usual or stool is more watery, then he probably has diarrhea. Baby diarrhea is usually accompanied by fever, poor feeding or nasal congestion. Note that most cases of diarrhea are short-lived.
What causes baby diarrhea ?
Baby diarrhea is usually caused by a virus and goes away on its own. Other possible causes include :
- bacterial or parasitic infections
- food allergies
- drinking too much fruit juices
- use of antibiotics by baby or breastfeeding mother
- uncommon diseases such as cystic fibrosis
What is the effect of diarrhea on my baby ?
Diarrhea can alter the normal electrolyte balance of the body. When the body loses lots of water and electrolyte as a result on diarrhea, it leads to dehydration. Diarrhea can be dangerous especially in newborns.
Call your doctor immediately if your baby has diarrhea and younger than 6 months old or experiencing symptoms such as
- abdominal pain
- fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- pus or blood in the baby’s stool or black, white or red stool
How to treat baby diarrhea .
Doctors don’t usually recommend over the counter anti diarrheal medication for infants. They may prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infection or anti-parasitic medication for a parasite infection.
In severe cases, baby diarrhea may cause dehydration in infants . Dehydration is treated intravenous fluids through IV in the hospital.
Your doctor may also recommend oral rehydration solution (ORS). which you can get at your local pharmacy. This solution contains fluids and electrolyte to treat dehydration.
Breastfeeding mothers might have to adjust their diet or remove certain foods that may trigger diarrhea.
If your baby is on solids, you will be advised by your doctor to switch to bland, starchy foods like strained bananas, applesauce, and rice cereal until baby diarrhea ceases.
Babies on solids who have diarrhea should avoid foods that will trigger diarrhea. These include :
- foods that are high in fiber
- greasy foods
- milk products such as cheese
- sweets such as cookie and cake
To prevent diaper rash, you can do the following :
- change diaper frequently
- rinse baby’s bottom with water
- use protective ointment and creams such as desitin
- air dry baby’s bottom
Babies and dehydration. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001965.htm. Accessed December 17, 2014
Diarrhea in babies. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-diarrhea-causes-treatment. Accessed December 17, 2014