It’s not unusual for your baby to experience soft and loose stool, especially in the first couple of months. However, you will probably be sure that your baby has diarrhea when it happens. The bowel movements will be frequent and the poop itself will have a watery consistency. Infant diarrhea causes disinterest in eating and sometimes even baby fever.
Even though baby diarrhea treatment is very straightforward, you need to know what is causing it first. There are a lot of factors that might impact your baby’s bowel movement. This is why you should make sure you know exactly what, when, and how much is your baby eating.
What May Cause Diarrhea?
Viral infections are a common cause of diarrhea. Children under the age of 2 that experience diarrhea usually get infected by rotavirus. Fortunately, there has been a significant drop in children who get this intestinal infection since the rotavirus vaccine was introduced back in 2006. Pediatricians suggest that kids who get vaccinated may still get rotavirus but will recover faster and have milder symptoms.
Antibiotics are also one of the popular infant diarrhea causes. One out of ten children who take antibiotics develops stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea. As you probably know, antibiotics target both bad and good bacteria in our stomachs. This leads to diarrhea and other stomach troubles. You should always consult with your doctor if you think antibiotics are causing your baby’s diarrhea. This baby diarrhea treatment is different than others. Suddenly stopping giving antibiotics to your child may cause a bacterial infection to reappear and can also lead to antibiotic resistance. This is why you should always visit your doctor first.
Parasites are common among children. Babies who spend their time in day-care centers are more like to suffer from an intestinal infection or contract giardia. This usually happens because a child puts a contaminated food, toy, or even its hands in its mouth. Children usually deal well with parasites and there is no special treatment required.
Lactose intolerance may develop at any age. Pediatricians say that about 3% of all children are allergic to milk. With milk being an essential part of all dairy products, you need to check if this is the reason for your baby’s diarrhea. Baby formulas usually include cow’s milk, so this will also be a big no if your child is lactose intolerant. Also, breastfed babies can develop an allergy to milk if their mom is consuming a lot of dairies. Milk allergy usually results in vomiting, diarrhea, and developing hives. Your pediatrician may recommend a different formula if your baby has a milk allergy. If you’re a nursing mom and you notice your child having problems with bowel movements, consider changing your diet (stop taking foods that contain milk protein).
Starting solids is another one of infant diarrhea causes. You baby’s bowel movement can easily be changed once you start changing your baby’s diet. Gluten, peanuts, dairy, eggs, and shellfish can all cause sensitivities and food allergies that lead to diarrhea.
Teething may also cause serious diarrhea in babies. As you already know, a teething baby will put whatever it can in its mouth. Their own hands, teething toys, a pillow, you name it and it will be in its mouth. These items may be contaminated and lead to baby diarrhea pretty easy.
Sometimes, there is no obvious reason why your baby might have diarrhea. However, if this ever happens, you shouldn’t be worried since this happens to a lot of babies for no particular reason.
Treating Baby Diarrhea
It’s always the best to let diarrhea go away without giving any medicine to your child. The body is getting rid of germs when your baby suffers from diarrhea, so you should just let it happen. Also, pediatricians strongly forbid parents to give anti-diarrheal medication to their kids since they are not FDA approved for babies. However, there are a few tricks that might help your child with discomfort.
Lots of liquids
Giving your child lots of liquids is the most important aspect of baby diarrhea treatment. The main reason for this is that infants are much more likely to dehydrate due to their small bodies. Your child probably won’t each much if it suffers from diarrhea and it will also lose a lot of fluids through poop. Make sure you offer your child its baby bottle or breast more often than usual. You can also use a pediatric oral rehydration drink if you previously consulted with a doctor about it.
You shouldn’t give fruit juice to your child and always wait for your doctor’s consent if you plan on switching formulas. Juice contains a lot of sugar and may only worsen the diarrhea symptoms.
If your baby already started eating solid food, you can continue with their normal diet. What doctors usually recommend to add in a diet are crackers, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and pretzels. Some doctors also recommend the chicken. In addition to these ingredients, some doctors also recommend yogurt because it contains certain probiotics that might help restore healthy bacteria in your baby’s stomach.
Protecting your baby’s bum
Frequent wiping, soiled diapers, and acid in diarrhea may easily lead to diaper rash and skin irritation. You should be changing your baby’s diaper as frequent as possible. Also, use warm water and a soft washcloth instead of wipes. Air-dry your baby’s buttocks. Make sure you apply a moisture barrier or diaper ointment, like zinc oxide or petroleum jelly each time you change your baby’s diapers. Consult with your doctor if the rash is not improving after a couple of days. Sometimes, this can indicate a yeast infection which will result in a prescription treatment in most cases.
Sometimes, a doctor will prescribe an antibiotic if the diarrhea is persistent for a long period of time. Make sure you combine an antibiotic with a baby probiotic your doctor approves to prevent further problems with your child’s belly.
Always keep an eye for the signs of dehydration. If diarrhea leads to severe dehydration you will probably be required to take your child to a hospital for a dose of intravenous fluid.
Diarrhea can sometimes be contagious. So, make sure you always wash your hands thoroughly after you change your baby’s diaper. Remind others in your family to do the same to lower the risk of spreading the disease.
Baby Diarrhea Prevention
There are some ways to lower the risk of diarrhea in your child. However, you should know that it is impossible to prevent it from ever happening.
Washing hands is crucial for your child. Your baby will put its hands in its mouth often. Also, if it eats with its hands there’s a possibility of getting diarrhea. Teach your kid to wash its hands after using the toilet and before eating. This is the best way to prevent almost all diarrheal infections that might be contagious. Also, stop your child from sucking its thumb and biting its nails. This is where you will find most germs.
Your job is to keep all bathroom surfaces as clean as possible. Also, wash vegetables and fruits before offering them to your child. Don’t wash your pet’s bowls and cages in the same sink where you prepare food and do the dishes. Germs living in animals may easily get into your child’s body and cause diarrhea. Some animal-related illnesses might be really dangerous to your child, so you should really pay attention to what you’re doing.
Of course, keep your child’s toys and other items it gets contact with clean and in a safe place.
When to Contact the Doctor?
You should consult with your doctor if diarrhea happens and your child is not 6 months old yet.
Also, if your child experiences frequent watery bowel movements and this condition lasts for more than three days. Another good reason to contact a doctor is if your child won’t drink fluids and vomits frequently.
If you notice that your child is experiencing severe stomach pain and has blood in diarrhea, immediately contact your doctor to get adequate help. This is not a common thing and it may be caused by something harmless, but you want to be sure that everything is fine.
Baby Planet Overview
Baby diarrhea is something that you will probably have to deal with at some point in your life. Good news is that it is usually harmless and lasts short. However, it will certainly raise concerns for you as a parent and you should know what causes it and what is the treatment for it.
There are many causes to diarrhea and you simply can’t prevent all of them. You can do your best and try to minimize the possibility for the condition, but your child will probably have a problem with it. Treatment for baby diarrhea is straightforward, usually without any medication. However, in certain situations, you will have to consult with your doctor to see if your child should get some medical help.
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- Dehydration and Diarrhea, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov