Diarrhea in babies
Children between the ages of 1 and 3 years may be affected by toddler’s diarrhea. In this form of diarrhea, a child who is healthy passes watery faeces that often contain recognizable pieces of food, such as raisins, carrots, peas, or beans.
How is diarrhea in babies caused?
It is most often met with in bottle-fed babies, and the most frequent reasons in their case are first, that the food is not perfectly adapted to the child, and second, that everything is not sterile, and sufficient care is not being taken with bottles, napkins, etc. The other causes mentioned above are common to both breast-fed and bottle-fed babies.
What we must do is to weigh the baby weekly to see whether he is gaining or losing weight, and at the same time we can modify the mother’s milk by hygienic or dietetic measures. Sometimes the milk may be either too rich or too poor in some one constituent and this is what causes indigestion.
We can by careful study gain some idea of the particular element in the food which is giving trouble. This holds good also for bottle-fed babies, but of course in their case it is easier at once to modify the food. In spite of this we should never advise that a breast-fed baby be removed from the breast without an attempt to modify the mother’s milk. If we can find out which constituent in the milk (whether mother’s or cow’s) is disagreeing with the baby,.
The cause of toddler’s diarrhea is not certain. It may be insufficient chewing of food or excessive sugary drinks. This is usually due to carelessness in the preparation of the milk or in the sterilizing of the bottle, or to a chill. One or two teaspoonsful of castor oil may be given, and the feeds should be diluted or omitted altogether and replaced by water.
What are the symptoms?
Where symptoms of indigestion appear in breastfed babies, this is not an indication that the baby should be at once taken off the breast. Apart from passing watery faeces with pieces of food in it, your child will probably feel generally well. A constant nappy rash may be a problem.
Remember that constipation often precedes diarrhea, and is apt to cause it. The hard stools irritate the bowel, and they also indicate that the digestive processes are not going on as they ought. It should be remembered that diarrhea and vomiting are symptoms, not diseases. When a baby shows signs of intestinal upset we must try to find out the causey more than that we must try to prevent its occurrence.
Should I consult a doctor?
Although toddler’s diarrhea is not a cause for concern, your child should be seen by a doctor to make sure that the condition is not the result of an infection or another disorder. The doctor will check whether your child’s growth is normal by measuring his or her height and weight. Toddler’s diarrhea does not affect growth, so failure to grow normally may suggest another disorder. As a precaution, the doctor may send a sample of stool for laboratory analysis.
Diarrhea is never a thing to be treated lightly, and the advice of a doctor should be taken early rather than late. It is very apt to be fatal to young babies, especially in the hot weather and rains when it most frequently occurs.
What can I do to help?
No treatment is necessary for toddler’s diarrhea and no dietary restrictions have any effect on the condition. It may help, however, if you mash or liquidize the foods that your child has difficulty in chewing and digesting.
Mothers often do not understand this and think the baby is being starved. It should be explained to them that as the processes of digestion and absorption have temporarily ceased there is no need for food, indeed it does harm by irritating the already tender bowel. The baby will be able to take his food again all the quicker if the intestinal canal has a rest.
If diarrhea occurs in breast-fed infants the milk may be diluted by giving the baby water to drink before he takes the breast, or else the child may receive no breast milk for a few feeds. The mother must in the latter case carefully withdraw the milk from her breasts in order that the supply may be kept up.
What is the outlook?
Your child will grow out of toddler’s diarrhea by 3 years of age and will not suffer any lasting adverse effects.
Home remedies for diarrhea in babies
Diarrhea occurs most often in children between the ages of one and three. It can lead to dehydration quite rapidly, particularly if the toddler or preschooler is also vomiting. Seek medical attention immediately if your child seems extremely ill, is lethargic, or is showing signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, no tears, dry mouth, or decreased urination, which, in babies and young toddlers, means fewer wet diapers).
- To prevent dehydration, make sure that your baby is consuming plenty of liquids. Offer the breast to your breast-fed baby often. If your baby is drinking formula, ask your health care provider if he recommends diluting the formula to provide extra fluid or temporarily switching your baby to a lactose-free formula (if your child usually drinks a formula that contains lactose). When a child has diarrhea, the intestinal enzyme that is responsible for digesting and absorbing lactose can be temporarily damaged, triggering additional diarrhea when products containing lactose are eaten.
- Offer your child smaller feedings more often. If your child still has difficulty tolerating these feedings, your health care provider may suggest a pediatric hydration formula (sometimes called “pediatric rehydration formulas”).
- Well-meaning friends and family members may suggest that you offer your child apple juice and ginger ale to keep your child well hydrated, but the high sugar content in these products can lead to further diarrhea and diaper rashes.
- Others may suggest that you put your child on the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast). While this is a diet that has yet to be scientifically proven to prevent diarrhea, many dietitians, pediatricians, and moms swear by this diet.
We recommend reading the article: BREASTFEEDING PILLOW REVIEWS