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Diarrhea in Babies and Toddlers

Babies and diarrhea – an unfortunate pairing but a common one. Diarrhea in babies needs immediate medical attention because a baby may become seriously ill once the symptoms advance into further stages. By adopting proper care and methods, diarrhea in infants and toddlers can be successfully treated.

What causes diarrhea in babies?

One of the most common reasons of diarrhea is a change in the baby’s diet and if the baby is breast-fed, a change in the mother’s diet may also be the culprit! Diarrhea is also known to occur in babies following viral and bacterial infections. Food poisoning and viruses like rotavirus have also been reported as causes for diarrhea in babies.

Weak immune systems and sensitive tummies

Some babies who have relatively weaker immune systems also suffer from diarrhea owing to food intolerance. These babies are sensitive to even small changes in their diets. If the infant cries and feels restless most of the time, it may be due to stomach ache, which may also be due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Babies may also show signs of diarrhea due to reaction towards some medications (antibiotics) or several intestinal diseases. Some of the most common symptoms, that must be given immediate attention are as follows:

  • Continuous vomiting
  • All symptoms of dehydration including dry mouth, crying without tears
  • High fever that accompanies loose bowels
  • Stomach ache where the baby shows discomfort
  • Increased frequency of loose stools
  • Poor appetite

Treating baby diarrhea

Treating diarrhea involves a focused approach on keeping the baby or toddler well-hydrated with plenty of fluids. While water is the best, diluted fruit juices such as grape juice also helps. ORS solution is always a great alternative to boost the energy for little ones with diarrhea. Another aspect of the treatment is to make changes in the baby’s diet. Light meals and foods that are easy to digest are the best choices.

It has been found that breastfeeding during diarrhea helps the baby to recover faster and it also prevents the disease from getting severe. However, if you have concerns about this or if you’re worried that something you’re consuming may be the cause, talk to your doctor about this. For toddlers, fibrous foods like carrots, bananas and potatoes help in reducing diarrhea.

Is teething and diarrhea related?

Many parents worry if diarrhea in their babies and teething are related. There have been few theories regarding this. However, generally, not many medical professionals believe that there is any link between these two. Sometimes, it just boils down to the fact that babies have a weaker immune system as compared to the time they were in their mother’s womb and so they are highly likely to get infected from bacterial or viral infection leading to diseases like diarrhea every now and then, including during teething times.

TLC goes a long way

Cuddling, loving and hugging your baby when he or she is unwell helps to keep the little one comfortable and secure. Cuddling also helps to ease any discomforts felt during a bout of diarrhea. Other than that, following the advice of your pediatrician will help in treating the child effectively. Since diarrhea can occur frequently, it is advisable to always take good care in regards to your baby’s diet and hygiene, to help overcome it quickly.

Mom’s hygiene

Mothers must also ensure that they always wash their hands before touching the mouth and hands of their baby. Very often, microorganisms are transferred from a moist diaper to the mother’s hands and subsequently to their baby, so it would help if mothers take care in maintaining proper hygiene.

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