Symptoms

Passing out loose stools is normal among newborns and babies because they basically consume milk, either by breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Once solid foods are introduced to them, you can expect firmer stools. The simplest way to know if your baby has diarrhea is to compare it with his or her usual bowel movement. Take note of the frequency and consistency. If his or her stools become more frequent and watery, then he or she might be suffering from diarrhea.

You should not ignore diarrhea as it may lead to dehydration and serious complications that can be fatal to your baby. Immediately ask help from a pediatrician if you notice signs and symptoms of dehydration such as urinating less often than usual (fewer wet diapers), irritability, dry mouth, no tears when crying, unusual drowsiness or lethargy, sunken soft spot (fontanel) on the top of the baby’s head and skin that isn’t as elastic (doesn’t easily go back to normal when pinched).

Causes

There are several reasons why babies suffer from diarrhea. One of the most common causes is infection, either viral (rotovirus, adenovirus, calicivirus, astrovirus, and influenza) or bacterial (salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus, campylobacter, or E. coli) in nature. Aside from this, diarrhea can also be due to antibiotics because these may possibly kill the normal flora that protects the baby’s digestive tract.

Lastly, diarrhea may also be a result of food intolerance or sensitivity. One common example is lactose intolerance. This means that the body fails to produce enough enzyme called lactase which is necessary to digest lactose found in cow’s milk and other dairy products.

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Treatment

Since babies with diarrhea lose significant amount of fluids from their body, it is imperative that you replace what is lost. Hence, aside from increasing the intake of milk through breastfeeding or bottle feeding (if formula milk has been ruled out as the cause of diarrhea), giving oral rehydration solution (ORS) will also help. You can make ORS at home by simply mixing six (6) level teaspoons of sugar and half (1/2) level teaspoon of salt in one liter of clean drinking or boiled water (cooled). Moreover, as an adjunct to this, you can also modify your baby’s diet if possible. Simply follow the acronym B-R-A-T which stands for banana, rice, applesauce and toast.