Diarrhea in babies is defined as an increase in the number of daily stools or a decrease in their usual consistency (more liquid stools). Each child passes stools at a certain rate (several times a day, daily or every two or three days) and with a different consistency.
It can be caused by infectious gastroenteritis or caused by bacteria such as salmonella , in which case the pediatrician may indicate taking an antibiotic . On the other hand, if the pediatrician suspects an allergy or intolerance , he will perform the appropriate tests on the baby to diagnose it and will remove the food causing the symptoms from the diet.
How can I prevent my baby from becoming dehydrated due to diarrhoea?
In the case of diarrhea in the baby due to infectious gastroenteritis, the most important thing is to replace the fluids and salts that the baby loses through the stool and offer him correct nutrition to help him defeat the infection .
The best way to prevent dehydration is to offer fluids to the baby. In cases of diarrhea, the best are oral rehydration solutions (oral serum) that are already sold at the pharmacy. The baby will continue with his normal diet, without restrictions or changes of milk; It is not advisable to change to lactose-free milk without the pediatrician’s prescription , nor to eliminate dairy products from the diet, it is not necessary to prepare diluted bottles or an astringent diet (it has very few calories and poorly nourishes the child).
In the most severe cases of dehydration, it may be necessary to admit the infant and administer an intravenous fluid.
Should I stop breastfeeding if he has gastroenteritis?
The breastfeeding baby should continue to do so (he will probably nurse more often to replenish the fluids he loses), since he will benefit from the defenses that his mother passes through the milk to overcome the infection. If the child refuses the oral solution, give him another type of liquid such as water or milk . Isotonic soft drinks or sports drinks are not recommended because they have a lot of sugar and few salts; this composition does not hydrate the child well.
In fact, to prevent infectious gastroenteritis in infants, breastfeeding is effective and extreme hygiene measures are taken in nurseries and in the family if someone is infected. There are specific vaccines against one of the viruses that most cause diarrhea in babies (rotavirus)
The stools of the breastfed child
During the first weeks of the newborn, the stool is liquid and colored between yellow and green; sometimes some lumps can be observed. In breastfed infants, stools are liquid or pasty throughout the breastfeeding 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.
When should I consult the pediatrician.
First of all, remember that the use of antidiarrheal medications without the prescription of the pediatrician is not recommended.
- If the diarrhea lasts more than 2 or 3 days
- When you make many bowel movements a day and they are accompanied by vomiting
- If blood, pus, or mucus appears 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), pale, pulse is racing and urinates little.
- If there are doubts about the child’s health status and how to treat it