Diarrhea in newborns

Diarrhea in newborns

There are two main causes of diarrhea in newborn babies, gastroenteritis and cow’s milk protein allergy. Avoid dehydration and consult the pediatrician about the possibility that the baby suffers from an allergy

Content Summary

  • Causes of diarrhea in the newborn
    • When to consult the pediatrician?
  • recommended treatment
    • What to do to control diarrhea?

Diarrhea is defined as an increase in the number of stools and/or a decrease in their usual consistency (more liquid stools). Each child passes stools at a certain rate and with a different consistency . During the first weeks of the newborn, the feces are liquid and color between yellow and green ; sometimes some lumps can be observed.

  • In breastfed infants, stools are liquid or pasty throughout the lactation period and they may have a bowel movement each time they breastfeed.
  • Children who drink artificial milk tend to have more consistent and less frequent stools.

Both situations are normal and are not diarrhoea, the baby will look well, there will be no signs of dehydration, vomiting or fever.

Causes of diarrhea in the newborn

There are two main causes of diarrhea in newborn babies: gastroenteritis (usually caused by viruses) and allergies to cow’s milk protein . The most serious consequence of diarrhea in the newborn is dehydration , especially if it is accompanied by vomiting.

When to consult the pediatrician?

In newborns it is advisable to always consult the pediatrician  but these are the symptoms that you should watch out for:

  • If you have many bowel movements a day and they are accompanied by vomiting
  • If blood , pus, or mucus appear in the stool
  • If the baby has a fever
  • If the baby completely refuses food and liquids
  • If the baby has signs of dehydration : dry skin, mouth and eyes (no tears or drooling), is pale, has a very fast pulse and urinates little
  • If there are doubts about the child’s health status and how to treat it

recommended treatment

To prevent infectious gastroenteritis in newborns , breastfeeding is effective and extreme hygiene measures are taken in the family if there is someone infected. There are specific vaccines against one of the viruses that most cause diarrhea in babies ( rotavirus ).

  • In the case of diarrhea due to infectious gastroenteritis, the most important thing is to replace the liquids and salts that the baby loses through the stool. The breastfeeding baby must continue to do so; She will probably breastfeed more often to replace the fluids she loses. This makes it benefit from the defenses that the mother passes through the milk to overcome the infection. You can resort to offering the breast on demand and/or supplementing breastfeeding with rehydration fluids.
  • It is not advisable to make the change to lactose-free milk without the prescription of the Pediatrician or to prepare diluted bottles. If the Pediatrician suspects an allergy to cow’s milk proteins , he will carry out the appropriate tests to diagnose it and will give the baby a special milk (in the case of the breastfeeding mother, she will follow a dairy exclusion diet).
  • In the most serious cases of dehydration, it may be necessary to admit the baby and administer an intravenous fluid .

What to do to control diarrhea?

  • Babies dehydrate easily, offer the breast or bottle frequently.
  • You must replace the fluids and salts that you are losing. In mild cases through food and fluids. In the most severe cases, by intravenous fluid.
  • Extreme hygienic measures in the family to send infections.
  • The defenses present in the mother’s milk will help you recover
  • Do not change the baby’s diet without first having the approval of the pediatrician.
  • Pay attention to warning signs:  more frequent bowel movements, blood. pus or mucus, fever, refusal to eat and drink.
  • Ask your pediatrician for information about rotavirus vaccines , one of the viruses that cause more diarrhea in babies

You have doubts? Sign up for Savia, MAPFRE’s digital health services platform, and talk to a pediatrician so they can help you with the health of your sons or daughters. You can also buy a face-to-face consultation with a pediatrician at the best price and with the best specialists.

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