Ways & How

How to Treat Infant Diarrhea

How to Treat Infant Diarrhea

Diarrhea may not be a very serious concern for adults, but it is definitely an issue to watch out for in infants. Since they are still very small, diarrhea can progress to dehydration very easily, usually within a day or two. Signs of dehydration in infants include irritability, dry mouth, infrequent urination, absence of tears when crying, and a sunken soft spot on top of the head. If your baby experiences any of these symptoms as well as diarrhea, see a doctor right away. If you notice some warning signs, consider these tips on how to treat infant diarrhea:

  1. Give your baby liquids. If you are nursing your child, simply continue doing so, as breast milk helps prevent diarrhea and speeds up the infant's recovery. If your baby seems to be thirsty even in between feeding sessions, your doctor may ask you to give him an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte. These solutions are available in drug stores and come in various flavors. Follow the doctor’s instructions, and do not substitute rehydration solutions with sports drinks and other sweetened fluids.


  2. Change formula. One of the possible causes of your baby's diarrhea is the infant formula. Parents often have to test various types before they find the best one for their baby. Talk to your doctor, and ask for recommendations.

  3. Feed your baby. If your baby has already transitioned from liquids to solids, feed your baby according to the BRAT diet: banana, rice, apple sauce, and toast. Such a diet contains simple carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that do not stress the digestive system. However, if your baby refuses to eat, don’t worry too much so as long as you keep him or her hydrated. Your baby's appetite should go back to normal within a couple of days.

  4. Give your baby yogurt. Studies show that live bacterial cultures found in yogurt can cut down the amount and duration of infant diarrhea. This is best for babies who have already transitioned to eating yogurt and enjoy its taste. Just make sure it contains lactobacillus or live bacterial cultures.

  5. Comfort your baby. Your baby will certainly not feel their best due to bouts of diarrhea. Make sure that you give them some tender, loving care to ease any discomfort.

  6. Avoid giving antidiarrheal medications to your baby. Unless prescribed by your pediatrician, do not give your baby any antidiarrheal treatments. These drugs can be dangerous for babies and children, as they are often formulated for adults only.

  7. Tend to your baby's bottom. Never take your baby's bottom for granted, as it can become intensely sore and irritated due to the constant presence of undigested poop in his diapers. Make sure to change your baby's diapers every time it gets wet, and gently cleanse your baby's skin. You may also want to switch to diapers more suited for sensitive skin, as diaper rash can easily develop.

  8. Call your pediatrician. You need to call your doctor immediately if your baby is less than three months old. You should also call the doctor if you see the following symptoms

    a. Vomiting multiple times and over a period of more than 24 hours

    b. Signs of dehydration noted above

    c. Black or bloody stools

    d. High fever starting from 101 degrees and lasting for more than 3 days

    e. More than 8 stools within 8 hours

Diarrhea can be very stressful for infants, so you may want to be knowledgeable about how to treat infant diarrhea. However, you should practice preventative measures as well. Frequently wash your hands, especially when handling your baby, and also wash your baby's hands often. Lastly, follow safe food preparation guidelines when preparing food for your baby. You and you baby may never have to deal with infant diarrhea if you take care to prevent it.


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