Table of contents:
- Consistency and Frequency of Normal BAB in Babies
- Causes of Diarrhea in Babies
- Signs of Dehydration in Baby Diarrhea
- Preventing Dehydration in Babies with Diarrhea
Babies with diarrhea tend to be more at risk of complications than adults who are experiencing diarrhea. For that, identify the cause of the diarrhea in your baby and the signs of dehydration in your baby so that they can provide prompt and appropriate treatment
Babies with diarrhea can become dehydrated quickly, even within two hours of diarrhea starting. This condition can have a very dangerous impact on babies, especially newborns.
Consistency and Frequency of Normal BAB in Babies
Newborn babies, especially those who consume breast milk, actually pass looser stools than babies who consume formula milk.
Normal stools in breastfed babies are generally yellowish in color, soft in texture, and liquid. This makes the mother sometimes confused in determining whether the stool she passes is normal or not.
In a day, a newborn who drinks breast milk can defecate 3 times, and even up to 5–10 times. Babies can also defecate immediately after feeding and this is normal.
Meanwhile, babies who drink formula generally defecate with a frequency of 1-4 times a day, generally defecating with stools. This is because formula milk is digested longer than breast milk.
When the baby is over one month old, the frequency of the baby's bowel movements will decrease, which is 1-2 times per day, and even only 2-3 times a week.
Sometimes mothers find it difficult to tell whether the baby has diarrhea or just loose stools than usual.
Your baby may have diarrhea if there is a change in the frequency of bowel movements, such as suddenly becoming much more frequent with large amounts, the baby seems limp, and the stools turn out to be much softer or more watery than usual.
Causes of Diarrhea in Babies
Diarrhea is the main cause of malnutrition in children under five in developing countries due to water pollution and food pollution. Rotavirus as the cause of gastroenteritis is one of the main causes of diarrhea in infants.
This infection causes disturbances in the baby's digestive tract, so that the nutrients in the food are not perfectly absorbed and excess fluid comes out.
In addition, babies can also be infected by bacteria, parasites or other viruses from dirty objects around them, and from the floor when he puts his dirty hands in his mouth.
Baby diarrhea can also be caused by allergies, improperly processed formula milk, lactose intolerance, food poisoning, flu, antibiotic consumption, and enzyme deficiency.
Signs of Dehydration in Baby Diarrhea
Babies with diarrhea can lose a lot of water and electrolytes from the body. This can cause dehydration. Babies who are dehydrated can be recognized by the following signs:
- sunken eyes
- Looks weak
- Dry and chapped lips
- No tears come out when crying
- Infrequent urination
- Urine is darker in color and smells like normal
- Don't want to eat or drink
- Restless or fussy.
Preventing Dehydration in Babies with Diarrhea
Identify the main symptoms that indicate a baby has diarrhea, namely if the baby is constantly passing watery stools or stools, especially if the stools are accompanied by blood or mucus. Fever and vomiting can also accompany diarrhea.
Immediately do the following if your baby has one or more of the above symptoms:
- To prevent dehydration, make sure he gets enough fluids
- In babies under 6 months of age, give breast milk as usual with additional breastfeeding every time he has diarrhea or vomits. For children and infants older than 6 months, ORS solution can be given every time you have diarrhea or vomiting. Use clean water when making ORS solution.
- The dose of ORS is half a cup for children under 2 years old, and one cup for children over 2 years old, give every time you have diarrhea or vomiting.
- Avoid giving antidiarrheal drugs to babies, because these drugs can cause serious side effects. This type of drug can only be given if the child is 12 years old and over.
- Continue to give solid food if your baby is six months and over.You can try giving rice, bananas, apple puree, crusty bread, pasta, or mashed potatoes. However, avoid solid food if he vomits constantly. It's okay if the baby doesn't want to eat, but make sure to give him enough fluids to prevent this from happening
- Giving probiotics may be useful to help deal with diarrhea in babies. However, research shows that only two types of good bacteria are beneficial for diarrhea in children, namely Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii.
- Give your child zinc syrup or tablets for 10 consecutive days. The dose of zinc can follow the doctor's prescription.
Giving antibiotics is not always necessary in treating infant diarrhea. If it's caused by a virus, antibiotics won't work. Therefore, the doctor will only give antibiotics if the diarrhea is caused by bacteria.
As a preventive measure, give breast milk as much as possible, not formula milk.Babies who are breastfed with breast milk tend to be less at risk of diarrhea, because certain ingredients in breast milk can inhibit the development of bacteria that cause diarrhea and strengthen their immune system.
Besides that, cleanliness is the main key to prevent baby diarrhea. Always wash your hands before preparing food and before interacting with your baby, especially after you go to the bathroom. Also, wash your own hands after each diaper change to avoid spreading the bacteria to other family members.
Also make sure your baby has been vaccinated to prevent rotavirus infection that causes diarrhea. Rotavirus vaccination is generally given the first time when the baby is 6–12 weeks old, then the second after 4–10 weeks from the first administration, and finally when the baby is 8 months old.
You don't need to panic if your baby has diarrhea, because generally the baby's diarrhea will subside on its own. However, immediately consult a pediatrician if the diarrhea gets worse, especially if there are signs of dehydration.
Also check with the doctor if the baby has diarrhea with fever and/or vomiting for more than 24 hours, difficulty in entering fluids, or blood in the stool.