As a parent it gets hard to watch the baby suffer from the tiniest of discomfort. Growing up is a process where your baby’s body catches several infections and that is how he builds his immunity. It’s very natural for him to put his hands in his mouth or to eat something which might upset his stomach. Instead of panicking and feeling sad for your baby, you can turn the healing mode on and give the best care to your child.
Diarrhea is when your baby’s normal pooing routine changes to multiple episodes of watery motions. Your baby will loose lot of water in his stool and the odor will also be foul. There are a number of reasons why your baby might suffer from diarrhea.
What causes Diarrhea?
Many bacteria like salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus, E coli are responsible for making a baby suffer from diarrhea. The effect of these bacteria is so severe that the baby suffers with abdominal cramps along with loose watery motions. Sometimes the motion is also accompanied by fever and blood in the stool. Blood is an alarming sign and you need to be extra cautious. Take him to the pediatrician if you see some blood in the stool.
Number of viruses the rotovirus, adenovirus, calicivirus, astrovirus, and influenza can cause diarrhea. A viral infection is also accompanied by vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, chills, and body ache.
Sometimes a recent cough or cold might lead to an ear infection. If this is the case then your baby will show his discomfort and will either pull his ears or rub his temples. A poor appetite along with vomiting is normal.
When your baby is on any medication which includes an antibiotic, he might suffer from diarrhea. The antibiotic is supposed to kill the bad bacteria in his body but in it’s course of action, it kills the good bacteria too and it leads to a bout of diarrhea.
Teething doesn’t cause diarrhea. The fact is that your baby puts his hand in his mouth to soothe the itching. His hands might be dirty and may lead to the stomach infection.
How long does the diarrhea last?
Mostly in babies the watery motion can last upto 3-8 days. The weakness can be seen for a little longer. He may take upto 1-2 weeks to gain his health back.
Effects of diarrhea
In diarrhea the baby loses lots of water and minerals in his stool. It is called losing the electrolytes and it may lead your baby to dehydration. Babies tend to get dehydrated very quickly and it may deteriorate his health further.
Call your baby’s doctor if you notice these signs of dehydration in your infant:
- Peeing less often (fewer wet diapers)
- Acting fussy or irritable
- Skin that isn’t as elastic as usual (doesn’t spring back when you gently pinch and release it)
- Unusual drowsiness or sluggishness
- Sunken soft spot on the top of the baby’s head
- No tears when he cries
Also, call the doctor if your baby has diarrhea and is less than 6 months old and develop these symptoms:
- Fever of 102 degrees or higher
- Belly pain
- Blood or pus in his poop, or poop that’s black, white, or red
What to do?
- First of all, give lots of liquid to your baby. Make sure that you replace all the fluids your baby is loosing either in vomit or in stool.
- ORS is a must. You need not just make him drink water, you need to replenish the electrolytes he has lost. Keep giving him a sip in every five minutes. This will make him retain it in his body and he will not vomit.
- The doctor might give antibiotics to your baby to kill the bacteria which is causing the infection. Give him the medication on time.
- Also it is often forgotten that Zinc plays a very important role in our bodies. It is a vital micronutrient essential for protein synthesis, cell growth, immune function, and intestinal transport of water and electrolytes. Give your baby a Zinc supplement. It will make him heal faster and he will also feel hungry.
- If your child eats solid foods, the doctor might recommend switching to bland, starchy foods like strained bananas, applesauce, and rice cereal until the diarrhea stops.
- To support his health and to give him nutrition you can choose strained bananas, applesauce, and rice cereal until the diarrhea stops.
- Babies with diarrhea should avoid eating anything that can make it worse, including:
• Greasy foods
• Foods that are high in fiber
• Dairy products especially milk
Diarrhea which is caused by viral or bacterial infection is contagious. It is always advised to keep the baby at home till the time he is fully recovered. Keep the diapers clean and make sure that the hygiene is maintained.