It is quite possible for an infant to pass loose stools during the first two months. A baby passing soft loose stool indicates that he is healthy. Since the newborn feeds only on breast-milk the nature of stool would be very soft. Hence it is difficult to distinguish whether the baby has diarrhea or not during this period. Stool pattern of the infant would change once the baby is given other foods in addition to milk. Newborns would pass stool almost after every feed and the mother would understand his stool pattern gradually.
Diarrhea In Babies Symptoms :
If the baby has any one of the following sign it can be said that he is having diarrhea.
- Number of times the baby has stools increases suddenly
- If the baby has several times stool after one feeding
- Nature of the stool is more watery and is different from normal pattern
- Baby is not active as before and cries frequently
- If there is any strains of blood or mucus in his stool
Babies Diarrhea Causes :
The cause of baby diarrhea is many.
- Sudden change in the baby’s diet can lead to diarrhea or watery stool. Any new thing takes time for the infant to settle. It is true with food items also.
- It can be due to food items that his mother eats.
- Baby can develop diarrhea due to allergy (food allergy or fluid allergy).
- If the baby has a fever or develops nasal congestion it can cause diarrhea.
- Viral infection can cause diarrhea but often it settles without any treatment.
- Intake of medications or antibiotics by the mother or baby can affect the stomach causing diarrhea.
An infant who is less than 4 months old should be given additional care. Ignoring the symptoms of diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Following are the signs of dehydration (loss of water balance and electrolyte) which is potentially dangerous.
- Baby may get irritated and cry frequently
- His eyes may not show enough water (dry eyes) while crying
- He may urinate lesser than routine days
- He may become less active
- The infant’s skin may become dry and may not be spongy as before
- The baby may be sluggish
In severe cases of dehydration, the baby becomes very lethargic and there would not be any urine output for few hours. His eyes become dry and sunken. You need to consult your doctor immediately if there is any symptom given above. During such occasions, it is better to continue breastfeeding before visiting the clinic since it helps in managing dehydration. Depending on the case, your doctor may suggest oral solution like Pedialyte along with other drugs to restore normal balance.
No additional tests are required for diagnosing diarrhea in infants. Your doctor would ask few questions like number of times your baby has stools in the day and the nature of stools etc.
Your doctor would recommend continuing nursing even if the baby has diarrhea. It would take minimum 2-3 days for the diarrhea to settle down. In case if the baby is given formula feeds you can continue to give additional feeds as per the instructions of your doctor. Give the baby plenty of fluids to prevent getting dehydrated. Oral rehydration solution can be given now and then to control diarrhea and loss of water. Stop giving any fruit juices if the baby poos lot of time since it can aggravate the symptoms.
Ensure that you are washing hands properly after changing the diapers and using toilet. There is every chance for the leftover stool to be passed on to the baby’s mouth. Keep the hands of your baby clean since he can mess up with the stool while you are changing him. You can call your doctor to get more details about his diet if he has diarrhea. Your pediatrician may give antibiotic or anti-viral medicines if he suspects any bacterial or viral infection.
Home Remedies For Diarrhea :
- Breastfeeding is the first line treatment for controlling diarrhea symptoms. Baby’s natural defense mechanism can get triggered to fight against any organisms through breast-milk.
- White grape juice is effective in managing diarrhea. But you can try this if your baby is more than 5 months old.
- Probiotics supplement is also a best home remedy to reduce diarrhea.
- Breastfeeding mothers should avoid taking greasy foods and include only bland food if the baby develops diarrhea.