Diarrhoea is an illness that can cause parents a lot of concern because it is dangerous for children and highly fatal for babies. It is characterised by loose stool in high frequency, typically lasting for a day or two. Diarrhoea may lead to dehydration in babies – a potentially malignant illness that signifies a loss of essential fluids and minerals, preventing the body from functioning properly.
If you suspect your baby has diarrhoea after noting the watery poop, you have to resist the temptation to give him any over-the-counter medication. You have to be wary of dehydration and begin the process of rehydrating your baby.
Firstly, let’s identify what diarrhoea is, its causes and how to get rid of or stop diarrhoea in babies.
What is diarrhoea in babies?
A baby is said to have diarrhoea if he has about two to three watery poop daily. Diarrhoea is often fatal for babies and eventually leads to dehydration.
Signs of diarrhoea in babies
Signs of diarrhoea in babies include:
- Loose, watery bowel movement.
- Baby’s poop appears greener, slimy or darker than usual.
- Baby’s poop may contain blood or mucus.
Causes of diarrhoea in babies
Diarrhoea is caused by varieties of factors, ranging from infections to diet. Here are some of the causes of diarrhoea in babies:
Microbial infection accounts for the majority of the diarrhoea infections reported across the world. Bacteria, parasites or viruses can cause this infection. For instance, viruses like rotavirus are responsible for most diarrhoea in young children. A bacterial infection like salmonella can infect the intestinal tract of babies causing severe diarrhoea. When diarrhoea in babies occurs as a result of infection, it can cause stomach cramp, feverish condition and vomiting.
Food sensitivity or intolerance
For babies already introduced to solids, exposure to certain food can cause diarrhoea and other digestive problems. Feeding cow milk to babies before at least six months of age can cause fussiness, bloated stomach and diarrhoea.
Though the link between teething and diarrhoea in babies have met serious contention in the medical community, it has been proven that the excessive saliva produced by babies during teething can irritate the intestine. Thus, enabling the production of loose poop.
Some babies may experience diarrhoea after taking antibiotics. Though very mild, antibiotic diarrhoea can cause up to three watery poops in a single day. This is because some antibiotics may eliminate ‘good’ and benign bacteria that live in your babies’ gut.
What can I give my baby to stop diarrhoea?
Is there a cure for diarrhoea? Are there certain medications you can give your baby to mitigate the symptoms of diarrhoea? Read below:
Firstly, avoid over-the-counter anti-diarrhoea medications because they can do more harm than good to your baby. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or anti-parasitic medications depending on his evaluation and the cause of diarrhoea. If your baby has severe diarrhoea and acute dehydration, your doctor can recommend oral rehydration fluid, which will replace the lost fluids or electrolytes.
If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you will need to do a routine elimination diet to make it easy to detect and avoid foods capable of causing diarrhoea or adverse reaction in your baby.
If your baby is weaned, give him the following food items to harden and make his poop bulky:
- White potato
- Cooked vegetables
These food items can help to firm your baby’s poop during a diarrhoea bout. It is also essential you avoid some certain food items, these include:
- Caffeinated or Carbonated drinks
- Apple juice
- Fried food
- Dairy products
Dehydration in babies
Babies are very vulnerable to dehydration, especially when they have severe diarrhoea. Dehydration is severe and can be deadly in babies. It is of great necessity to keep your baby hydrated throughout the diarrhoea bout. Here are some symptoms of dehydration in babies:
- Persistent dizziness and lethargy
- Sunken eyes
- Sunken fontanel
- Dry tears
- Parched or dry mouth
- Infrequent urination or dry diapers
If you notice any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.