Diarrhea in babies can turn serious very quickly. Those tiny bodies just can’t handle losing too much liquid. They can easily become dehydrated. Every mom should know how to stop baby diarrhea and when to bring in outside help.
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and this post is not meant to constitute medical advice. I’m just a mom who has dealt with the lovely poop issues that come with having children.
What Counts As Diarrhea?
Most babies have fairly soft poo and from time to time, it may be softer, depending on what they’ve eaten. However, diarrhea is considered very loose or liquid poo . . . usually in large amounts. If your baby is suddenly having blowout diapers that are full of liquidy poo, then you’ve got diarrhea on your hands.
Diarrhea usually occurs when your baby’s intestines haven’t had time or aren’t able to remove the water, as is normal during the digestive process. There are a few reasons that might happen.
Causes of Baby Diarrhea
So, why is your baby suddenly letting loose like this? It could be as simple as a little tummy upset due to some food that didn’t sit well. Too much juice or fruit can also cause this issue.
Viruses or a tummy infection, teething, or an allergy can also cause baby diarrhea. Or, your little one may have ingested something that has made their tummy upset.
On the other side of the spectrum, medications may also cause issues with the digestive tract. If your little one is on antibiotics, for example, the same medicine
When to Take Your Baby to the Doctor
Diarrhea in babies is mainly dangerous due to dehydration. More liquids are being romoved from the body at a faster rate than usual, so the baby may end up with too little liquid in their body. If this happens, it will need to be replenished.
Signs that your baby is dehydrated and you need to see a doctor include:
- Sunken eyes
- Sunken soft spot
- Fewer wet diapers (may also notice that they urinate darker, too)
- Excessive sleepiness
- Dry mouth
- Few or no tears when crying
- Skin that is cool and dry to the touch
All of these are serious symptoms and if you notice your baby has problems like this, make sure you seek medical attention. If you notice that your baby seems to be dehydrated AND has a fever, get to the ER.
How to Stop Baby Diarrhea
Since loose stools can be a problem for your little one, particularly newborns, what can you do to stop it? That depends on the age of the baby.
In infants under 6 months of age, diarrhea for more than a couple of diapers means you need to see a doctor. If you are breastfeeding, you can switch to a bland diet to avoid irritating your baby’s tummy. Make sure to feed as often as your little one wants, since they will need to replace the liquid they’re getting rid of.
For babies over 6 months of age, you can use the BRAT diet.
B – Bananas
R – Rice
A – Applesauce
T – Toast
Obviously, only give your baby what they are already eating. If your child isn’t ready for toast, stick to bananas and rice cereal. The idea is to soothe your little one’s tummy and help slow the transit of food.
At this age, your little one can probably have rehydration drinks, as well. You can either make your own or get them from the pharmacy. These absorb quickly and help your baby stay hydrated. Give small amounts at a time to help rebalance the electrolytes in your baby’s body.
Babies shouldn’t be given anti-diarrheal medications unless your doctor prescribes them. Simply replacing the liquids and salts they lose, along with providing a bland diet to help slow things down is the best option.
Diarrhea and Diaper Rash
Unfortunately, diarrhea is often acidic and can cause a diaper rash faster than regular poo. Trying to stay on top of this can be a bit crazy! Here are my tips for keeping diaper rash at bay when your baby has diarrhea.
Change diapers frequently. This is essential, since the longer the poo sits on the skin, the more it will burn.
Use water, NOT wipes. Even if your baby normally doesn’t react to wipes, their skin will be super sensitive and you can irritate it with wipes. Switch to plain water for the time being. You can either wash under running water or use a piece of flannel that is wet under water.
Dry the skin completely. In between diaper changes, be sure to dry that skin! Let it air dry, if you can. A fan on your baby’s tush can help speed the process up.
Add a protective barrier. Use a good, solidly proven barrier diaper cream to keep acidic poo off the skin. I recommend this diaper cream. Apply it thickly if needed!
Treat the rash. If your baby is screaming in pain because of acidic liquid diarrhea, I’ve found that antacids are an amazing way to calm the burn. You can crush tablets like TUMS and add a bit of water or you can use liquids like Pepto Bismol and spread it on the area for a few minutes before rinsing. It seems to be very helpful.
Do you have any tried and true tricks for stopping baby diarrhea? Share in the comments!