Causes and Symptoms
One of the most common reasons of diarrhea is a change in the diet of the baby and sometimes, even a change in the mother's diet (if the baby is breastfed). Diarrhea also commonly occurs in babies owing to viral and bacterial infection. Food poisoning and viruses like rotavirus have also been reported to be its major causes in the US, amongst infants.
Some babies who have a relatively weaker immune system also suffer from diarrhea owing to food intolerance and increased food sensitivity. If the infant cries and feels restless most of the time, it may be due to stomach ache, which may be due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); that can also be a cause of this condition in toddlers. Babies may also show signs of diarrhea due to reaction towards some medications (antibiotics) or several intestinal diseases. Some of the most common symptoms, that must be given immediate attention are as follows:
- Multiple vomiting in a short span of time.
- All symptoms of dehydration that include, but are not limited to dry mouth, crying without tears and problems of blood in stool or a black stool, occurring after intervals of more than four - five hours per day.
- High fever that shows frequent body temperature changes is a sign of diarrhea.
- Stomach ache and diarrhea have been linked closely. Infants showing unrest and discomfort may often reflect problems of this condition.
- Increased frequency of loose stools.
- Poor feeding, running or congested nose in babies can help doctors to link diarrhea and poor health of babies.
Dehydration in babies can be controlled and treated by giving ample amounts of fluids to the baby. Treating diarrhea involves focused approach on keeping the child hydrated and fresh. While plenty of fluids like grape juice and water can work wonders, ORS solution is always a great alternative to boost the energy of your kid, who may feel weak due to being dehydrated. Another aspect of the treatment is to make changes in the baby's diet. The baby must be fed with light meals and foods that are easy to digest.
If the baby is a bit old, and is able to eat solid foods, then fibrous foods like carrots, bananas and potatoes help in reducing diarrhea stools. Generally, mothers who breastfed their baby during this time, often stop it owing to the fact that the mother's food may be causing it to occur. It is advisable to consult a doctor in this matter.
It has been found that breastfeeding during diarrhea helps the baby to recover faster and it also prevents the disease from getting severe. Mothers must also ensure that they always wash their hands before touching the mouth and hands of the baby. Very often, microorganisms are transferred from a moist diaper to the mother's hands and subsequently to the child. Hence, it is highly recommended that mothers take care in maintaining proper hygiene.
Administering intravenous fluids are amongst the most important steps taken to treat baby diarrhea. Since taking the right diet is very important, ensure that you're not letting your child or baby eat anything that is harmful in this condition. Especially butter and oil must not be given to the baby during this period.
Many parents worry if diarrhea in their babies and teething are related. There have been few theories regarding this. However, generally, not many medical professionals believe that there is any link between these two. Doctors explain that babies have a weaker immune system as compared to the time they were in their mother's womb and so they are highly likely to get infected from bacterial or viral infection leading to diseases like diarrhea.
Cuddling, loving and hugging your baby when he or she is unwell, and keeping in touch with a pediatrician can go a long way in treating the child effectively. Since diarrhea can occur frequently, it is advisable to take care of a baby's diet, hygiene and health regularly.