Easy steps on treating your baby’s diarrhoea
Normal baby stools are soft and loose. Newborns have frequent stools, sometimes with every feeding. For these reasons, you may have trouble knowing when your baby has diarrhea. Your baby may have diarrhea if you see changes in the stool, such as more stools all of a sudden; possibly more than one stool per feeding or really watery stools. How do you act if that happens?
- Keep your baby hydrated. Although rarely serious when treated properly, diarrhea can send your baby to the hospital if he becomes dehydrated, so your first concern should be giving him enough liquids. If your baby isn’t also vomiting, continue to give him breast milk or formula. If your baby can’t keep breast milk or formula down, call his doctor, who may suggest that you start giving him a pediatric electrolyte solution. These solutions are available in drugstores and come in flavors that most babies will readily drink if they’re dehydrated. They’re generally easier to keep down than breast milk or formula, too.
- Stay away from sugar. Avoid sweetened fluids like soft drinks, athletic drinks, sugar water, and undiluted fruit juices. Also avoid Jell-O. All of these contain sugar that draws water into the intestine and makes the diarrhea worse.
- Give an older baby well-balanced meals. Doctors now advise continuing to feed solids to a baby with diarrhea who’s already made the transition to finger or table food. A standard, healthy diet may shorten your baby’s bout of diarrhoea because it restores essential nutrients needed to fight infection. If your baby temporarily refuses to eat, don’t worry. As long as he stays hydrated his appetite should return in a day or two.
- Feed your baby yogurt. Studies have shown that live bacterial cultures, found in yogurt, are a safe and effective way to cut down on the amount and duration of diarrhea. If your baby’s already eating solids, plain, unsweetened, whole-milk yogurt is an easy way to treat the problem, especially if your baby loves the taste of it.
- Change diapers regularly. Keep your baby dry. Use care and tenderness – and diaper cream – at changing time, since it’s easy for a baby’s bottom to become red and irritated from the loose stools.
- If your baby’s uncomfortable during a bout of diarrhea, comfort him as much as possible.
Don’t give your baby any anti-diarrhea medicine unless his doctor prescribes it. These medicines can be dangerous for babies and children. See the doctor immediately if your baby is 3 months old or younger and he has diarrhea. If he’s over 3 months, call the doctor if your baby has diarrhoea and doesn’t seem to be improving after 24 hours. Also if your baby has diarrhoea and any of the following symptoms:
- Vomiting multiple times
- Signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, not having had a wet diaper for six hours or more, and crying without tears
- A high fever
- Blood in the stool
Frequent hand washing is your best defense, because the microorganisms that cause diarrhea are easily passed from hand to mouth. Handling a soiled diaper, for instance, can transfer these microorganisms to your hands before you wipe your baby’s mouth. Your baby can also catch a diarrhea-causing infection from putting his fingers in his mouth after touching toys or other objects that have been contaminated with the stool of an infected child. Always wash your hands thoroughly for at least 15 seconds with soap and warm water after handling soiled diapers or using the bathroom and before preparing food. Wash your baby’s hands often, too. Also, be surto follow safe cooking preparation practices.