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What Does Baby Diarrhea Look Like? Know When You Need To Intervene

What Does Baby Diarrhea Look Like? Know When You Need To Intervene

Are you concerned about stools that you’ve recently found in your baby’s diaper? You’re right to be concerned. Diarrhea may point to serious conditions that require immediate intervention.

You should contact your baby’s doctor if you see any changes in your baby’s behavior or bodily functions. Every baby is different, and no online guide is sufficient to diagnose conditions or to help you determine if your baby is experiencing a mild or serious case. 

While you’re waiting to hear back from your doctor, this guide may help you understand how diarrhea is recognized, and how it is treated. This guide will cover:

  • What does baby diarrhea look like?
  • What are the causes of baby diarrhea?
  • How is baby diarrhea treated?

  • Let’s start by looking at how you can identify baby diarrhea. 

    What does baby diarrhea look like?

    baby diaper

    Photo by CatEyedKP of Flickr

    Baby diarrhea may take many different forms. You may need to recognize several other factors to identify whether your baby’s stool is typical or unusual. 

    Typical baby bowel movements may appear to be yellow, brown, or green. They may also have varying degrees of thickness. They may appear to be soft, paste-like, or solid. Your baby may also experience many bowel movements a day, even when healthy.

    The stool may be diarrhea if any of the following signs apply:

    • The stool has a noticeably worse smell than normal
    • The stool is loose or watery
    • The color of the stool is green or darker than other stools you’ve observed
    • There is blood or mucus present in the stool

    Loose, watery stools may not be serious as long as they don’t last more than a day. 

    In addition to the color, diarrhea may be identified by the presence of additional symptoms. Watch for all of the following symptoms when you notice that your baby is producing unusual bowel movements. 

    • Your baby’s eyes are unusually dry
    • Your baby produces few tears when crying
    • Your baby is producing more bowel movements but is urinating less often (no wet diapers over the course of 3 hours)
    • Your bay is producing urine that is unusually dark
    • Your baby is tired or unusually irritable
    • Your baby’s skin or mouth is dry

    The appearance of multiple symptoms may point to more serious conditions, including dehydration. Speak to a doctor as soon as possible if you have observed a combination of different symptoms. 

    What are the causes of baby diarrhea?

    Baby diarrhea can result from a variety of changes in your baby’s diet or environment. Any of the following factors may play a role in diarrhea:

    • A change in the baby’s diet: Even minor dietary changes can result in diarrhea. The baby may experience diarrhea symptoms while adjusting to a different brand, flavor, or portion of baby food. He or she may also experience these symptoms while transitioning to solid food for the first time.
    • A change in the breastfeeding mother’s diet: Changes in the mother’s diet can result in diarrhea, even when the changes are minimal. Changing the nutrients that make up the diet (such as by taking vitamins) may also affect the way the baby processes breast milk.
    • Food intolerance: Babies may develop allergies very early in life, and many are born with a low tolerance to certain foods. Cow’s milk, and other lactose-dairy products, may cause diarrhea symptoms
    • Long-term travel: The disruptions of long-term travel may temporarily upset your baby’s natural habits. Watch closely for diarrhea when you are taking your baby on day-long car rides or plane trips.
    • Medication: If either the baby or breastfeeding mother begins taking medication, diarrhea symptoms may appear. Doctors often take these considerations into account when prescribing medication, so be sure to review any literature that you have been provided with your medication. 
    • Bacterial, parasitic, or viral infection: infections of all kinds may result in diarrhea symptoms. Infections are typically marked by additional symptoms. Any additional symptoms of infections should be addressed by a physician as soon as possible. 
    • Illness or chronic condition: A variety of different medical conditions may result in baby diarrhea. Any persistent diarrhea symptoms should be assessed by a doctor even if they are not accompanied by other symptoms.

    These different causes may all require different levels of intervention. 

    How is baby diarrhea treated?

    baby at the doctors

    Photo by Amanda Mills, USCDCP from Pixnio

    Baby diarrhea must be correctly diagnosed to be treated properly. 

    You should keep your baby well-hydrated while you are waiting to hear from a doctor. If your baby is breastfeeding, increase feeding to compensate for lost fluids. If you can’t produce enough breast milk to supplement the lost fluids, you can supplement with baby formula. 

    Pedialyte and other infant-formulated rehydration treatments may be given to babies over the age of 1 unless your doctor has recommended against it. Infants under the age of 1 should not be given rehydration formulas without recommendation. 

    When your baby is examined, your doctor may recommend various treatments based on the source and severity of your baby’s symptoms. Medication may be prescribed with strict instructions in the case of an infection.

    The symptoms may also point to the existence of an illness or chronic conditions. Treating the underlying condition may alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea without further intervention. 

    Antidiarrheals that are safe for adults are not recommended to treat infant diarrhea. 

    Is it time to Intervene? 

    Now, you understand some of the ways that you respond to baby diarrhea. You’ve learned some signs you can recognize, some causes that may be responsible, and some of the treatments that a doctor may consider. 

    You should respond to any changes in your baby’s condition by speaking to a doctor. It is not necessary to visit an emergency room in all cases. At a minimum, you should schedule a call or video meeting with your doctor to discuss the symptoms that you’ve observed.

    Featured Photo from Pxhere

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