How do I know if my baby has diarrhoea or poop

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Your baby’s poop is the key to finding out how healthy he is. A lot of mothers find it challenging to detect whether their baby has diarrhoea or healthy poop. While checking your baby’s diaper, you can discover poops of different appearance, smell, and even texture. Though the way your baby’s poop looks depends on his diet, babies are more likely to have soft poop. It is often not a problem if your baby poop has a softer texture, but if he passes out watery or loose stool continually, then it might be a symptom of diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea can be fatal for babies. It causes the baby to lose vital bodily fluids (electrolytes) required for proper body function. It also leads to dehydration and its attendant health issues. A lot of factors can cause diarrhoea in babies. This can range from microbial infection to food intolerance/ allergy.

This article will provide you with the symptoms of diarrhoea in babies, the treatment of the ailment as well as how to prevent your baby from having diarrhoea.

How do I know if my baby has diarrhoea or poop

Signs your baby has diarrhoea

Read: Can i give my baby Pepto Bismol

As I have mentioned earlier, your baby’s poop may have different appearance and frequency. It may be normal for your baby to pass poop several times a day. So how can you tell if your baby has diarrhoea or a healthy bowel movement?

A healthy baby’s poop may typically have a brown, green or yellow appearance. It might have a soft or pasty texture. Baby’s bowel habits may also come in varieties of frequencies. A lot of factors influence this occurrence. The most prominent are diet and age.

A newborn baby tends to have more frequent poop than older babies or toddler. Most times, the frequency of bowel movement is determined by feeding.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you will notice that your baby’s poop appearance is yellow or brown. It shouldn’t worry you. For formula-fed babies, their poop often has a brown tint, characterised by a more solidified texture than breastfed baby’s poop. This makes it easy to detect diarrhoea in formula-fed infants.

Read: How to stop green poop in babies

Causes of diarrhoea in babies

These are the three major causes of diarrhoea in babies:


One of the major causes of diarrhoea in babies is microbial infections, which include bacteria, parasites, fungi and viral infection. Salmonella and Rotavirus are the primary organisms responsible for diarrhoea in babies. These germs can be gotten from babies when they take in unclean water or food. Babies also contract this kind of infection from contaminated surfaces around their surroundings.


Weaning is the introduction of solid food to babies. This situation may sometimes lead to diarrhoea. Foods like milk, fish, groundnut, eggs can trigger food allergy or insensitivity, causing your baby to pass out watery poop. Cow milk, most notably, can irritate your baby’s stomach lining causing severe diarrhoea. In developing countries, babies who grow up in an environment devoid of proper sanitary conditions are more likely to be exposed to diseases like diarrhoea.

Mother’s diet

In breastfed babies, something from the mother’s diet can trigger food sensitivities or allergies. This happens because what the mother eats will get to the baby through the breast milk. Foods like yoghurt, pears, hot sauce, coffee and tomatoes can cause diarrhoea in babies. A food elimination diet can help detect which food is bad for your baby’s digestive health.

Dehydration in babies

Apart from watery and runny poop in increased frequency than normal, diarrhoea can also cause dehydration in babies. This condition can be life-threatening for babies below six months. Since baby loses fluid too quickly during diarrhoea, some of the signs of dehydration you should be wary of include:

  • Infrequent urination/ dry diapers
  • Crabby or cranky behaviour
  • Dry tears
  • Dry mouth
  • Sunken fontanel.
  • Feverish condition.
  • Greenish or reddish poop.
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your baby, seek urgent medical attention.

Read: When should babies poop become solid

How to treat diarrhoea in babies

  • Frequent breastfeeding is one way to treat diarrhoea. Breast milk has all the essential nutrients that are effective against diarrhoea.
  • Loose and watery poop is caused by an irritant from the mother’s diet. Avoid food items that can cause liquid poop.
  • If your baby is weaned, feed him starchy food or fibre-active food items during diarrhoea.
  • Ensure you wash your hands after changing your baby’s diaper or using the toilet. Diarrhoea can be very infectious. Good hygiene is an excellent way of preventing diarrhoea.

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