Stop baby diarrhea - 5 Simple methods that every mom needs to know
When your baby has frequent loose and watery stool it is useful to know as a parent, how to stop baby diarrhea.
Usually infant diarrhea does resolve by itself without medical treatment but you should know that persistent diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration.
This means that parents need to take some preventative measures to prevent this from happening.
Here are some basic steps that are usually enough to manage your child's bouts of diarrhea.
Step 1 - Keep baby hydrated
Whether the cause is a viral infection or whether it is food related, your main concern is that your baby doesn't get dehydrated.
Just giving plain water is not enough to rehydrate a child that has lost a lot of fluid during diarrhea.
It is important to replace potassium, sodium salts and glucose as well. Always continue breast-feeding to make sure your baby gets enough fluid.
If your baby accepts it, you may give some extra Oral dehydration Supplement (ORS) between breastfeeding. One of these ORS solutions is Pedialyte. Pedialyte is a ready-made ORS to help prevent dehydration in babies and older children.
It replaces the fluids but also minerals and sugar your baby has lost from diarrhea and vomiting. Pedialyte is not a medicine to treat diarrhea, it just helps to prevent dehydration. Give Oral Rehydration Solutions every five minutes or after every watery stool.
Step 2 - Stop baby diarrhea by temporary substituting with soy-based formula
Babies recovering from a viral gastroenteritis may have a temporary shortness of lactase. The enzyme lactase is necessary to digest lactose in milk.
As a result babies may suffer from a temporary lactose intolerance. In this case babies may benefit from switching temporary to a soy-based milk like Similac Soy Isomil Baby Iron Powder..
For infants older than 6 months, Isomil DF is a temporary formulas for firming loose, watery stools in children with persistant diarrhea. Isomil DF is not suitable for infants or toddlers with constipation.
Step 3 - Stop baby diarrhea with the BRAT diet
If your baby is a bit older, and eating solids, many doctors will suggest the BRAT diet. BRAT stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. This is the best way to stop diarrhea in older babies and toddlers. These are low-fiber foods that can help make baby's stools more firm.
Do not follow the BRAT diet for more than a few days because it does not provide all the elements of a healthy diet. As stools become more formed, your baby can return to a normal diet.
Other dietary suggestions for diarrhea:
- Carrot juice or boiled carrots.
- White grape juice.
- Plain boiled pasta.
In addition to the BRAT diet you give your baby Kao Lectrolyte or Pedialyte.
Another way to treat watery diarrhea is with the following recipe:
Mix 1/2 a cup of baby rice cereal (or granulated sugar), 2 cups of water, and 1/2 tsp. of salt together into a medium thick drinkable mixture. Give a spoon ful of this mixture as often as the child accepts it.
Step 4 - Foods you should avoid when baby has diarrhea
Things you definitely should not give to a child with diarrhea include:
- carbonated drinks
- fruit juices containing lots of sugar
- desserts made with gelatine
- greasy and processed food
Some fruits that work as natural laxatives and better avoided, are plumbs, prunes and peaches. Babies eating solid food should avoid certain vegetables that may cause gas like beans, broccoli and chickpeas.
Step 5 - Probiotics for baby diarrhea
Sometimes antibiotics can cause diarrhea in babies. Never stop antibiotics by yourself. If you suspect this is the reason that your baby has diarrhea discuss this first with your doctor.
In the intestines live about 400 different types of bacteria that are responsible for keeping our digestive system healthy. Antibiotics can disrupt the balance between good and bad bacteria in the intestines and cause both constipation and diarrhea. Yoghurt contains probiotic bacteria such as Acidophilus, a healthy bacterium that normally lives in our intestines.
Studies show that eating yoghurt (the ones with active cultures) helps shorten the duration and severity of diarrhea caused by antibiotics. You can also buy probiotic supplements that you can mix with breastmilk or formula.
When buying probiotics online be careful to read the labels. Some of these products need refrigeration otherwise heat or moisture will destroy the active organisms. An improper environment during shipping will make the product useless. You may like to read more about the benefits of probiotics at Mama Natural.
The most common causes for baby diarrhea
If you want to stop baby diarrhea it is very helpful to know what causes it. Baby diarrhea may be due to:
- A viral infection, often accompanied by a stuffy nose and fever.
- Dietary changes from baby or the breastfeeding mother.
- Reaction to antibiotics
- Food poisoning from food or milk that has gone bad
Less common causes for baby diarrhea include:
- Metabolic disorders (celiac disease)
- Parasites (giardia)
- Rare illness such as cystic fibrosis
- Milk protein allergy
- Lactose intolerance
When you are not able to stop baby diarrhea
First line of baby diarrhea treatment is symptomatic to avoid dehydration. If there are no improvement after the home remedies mentioned on this page, further tests, like a stool sample, for underlying causes may be necessary.
Call a doctor, if your child has a fever (more than 101.4 degrees F), refuses to drink, has blood with the diarrhea or complains about severe stomach pain.