Knowing tips to cope with diarrhea in babies can help turn a potentially bad situation into a manageable one. Although infant diarrhea is a common occurrence, it is one that needs to be remedied quickly as it can lead to dehydration. It is especially serious in young children under 3 years old. Signs to look out for include recurrent watery and loose stools, stomach cramps, appetite loss, nausea and vomiting, and general weakness. Diarrhea is commonly caused by an infection, viral gastroenteritis and bacteria, as well as various viruses. When it occurs in an infant, it is important for a parent to resolve it quickly.
Natural Ways to Stop Diarrhea Fast
1. Keep Infant Hydrated
When an infant is suffering from diarrhea, it is important to make sure your baby stays hydrated. No matter if your baby is breastfed or on formula, you should increase milk intake to thwart off dehydration.
- You can feed your baby smaller amounts of milk more frequently if your infant is vomiting.
- Only increase milk intake, whether formula or breastmilk. Do not give a baby water or diluted formula, as this can lead to serious conditions. Watered down milk can dilute the blood and damage the kidneys.
2. Change Formula
Part of knowing how to stop diarrhea in babies fast is knowing the cause of the problem. Sometimes a baby will negatively react to a formula, which leads to nausea and watery stools. Often, it can be remedied by changing formulas.
- You might have to try out many different formulas before you find one that agrees with your baby. Most infants do well on dairy-based formula, but sometimes a baby may need a special type. For babies with a sensitive stomach, there are formulas made of soy or some that are lactose-free. A sign of a problem with a formula is also fussiness and gas.
- Sometimes a baby may have an underdeveloped or poor digestive system that results in a sensitive stomach. This might include a milk allergy. Your doctor can prescribe you a formula with proteins broke down for easier digestion.
- Before making any changes in your infant’s formula, always consult your pediatrician.
3. Watch Baby Closely
If you baby suffers from diarrhea for over 24 hours, seek medical assistance right away. Even if you know how to stop diarrhea in babies fast, an extended period of watery stools can quickly lead to dehydration. If your infant has dry diapers for over six hours or does not have tears when crying, you should get medical attention immediately.
- Speak to your doctor about feeding your infant an electrolyte solution to help with rehydration. They can be very helpful if your baby is also vomiting.
- Sometimes the use of a probiotic to replace important digestive bacteria in the gut will be recommended by your pediatrician.
4. Be Ready for Sore and Irritated Baby’s Bottom
Diarrhea may cause your baby’s bottom to become sore, red and irritated. There may even be a small amount of blood due to open sores. It is important to take care of this right away if it occurs.
- To help soothe irritation and stop it from spreading, apply a thick diaper rash ointment to your infant’s bottom and around the genital area. You can also use Aquaphor, Vaseline or other petroleum-based creams.
- Some babies have more sensitive skin than others, no matter how careful you are about keeping your infant’s bottom dry. Diarrhea can be especially painful in these cases. The best thing to do is to change your baby’s diaper right away, removing any diarrhea from the skin as fast as possible. This will limit the exposure of it to your infant’s sensitive skin.
- Airing out a baby’s bottom is a good way to help remedy a sore buttock. After removing the diaper and thoroughly cleaning your infant, leave the diaper off for a little while. Lie your baby on a clean blanket.
- If a rash occurs around the genital area, inner thighs or in skin folds, call your pediatrician as it may be a diaper yeast rash. Other signs include red bumps and extreme redness. Your doctor will have to prescribe a topical treatment.
- Do not use a harsh or overly stringent soap on your infant’s bottom. This may further irritate the skin. Use a soap or wipes designed for sensitive skin. Try chemical-free or organic products. If you do not have these on hand, use a clean cloth moisten with warm water to clean your baby’s bottom.
5. Foods to Stay Away From
Knowing how to stop diarrhea in babies fast includes knowing what foods to stay away from. For example, foods used to cure constipation should be avoided. Other foods to avoid include:
- “P” fruits, referring to pears, plums, peaches and prunes.
- Most dairy products, except yogurt.
- Fiber-rich foods.
- Fruits known to help with constipation like apricots and apple juice.
6. BRAT Diet
Consider following the BRAT diet if they are eating solid foods. The diet is made up of rice, bananas, toast and applesauce. Since an infant’s stomach is very sensitive, bland foods like these are less likely to irritate it. BRAT should be followed for 48 hours, before adding vegetables and fruits back into their diet. If your infant is eating meat and dairy foods, these can be reintroduced as well. While following the BRAT diet, you can give your child pasta, cooked carrots, apple sauce and yogurt.
7. Consume More Fat and Fiber
Some infants have chronic diarrhea. If your child suffers from frequent watery stools, add more fat and fiber to its diet. This would include beans, whole grains, cereals, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.
Know When to See a Doctor
Dehydration in babies can happen quickly, putting them in danger of illness. Call your doctor right away if you see these signs of infant dehydration:
- Less wet diapers
- Irritability and fussiness
- Tearless crying
- Overly sleeping or drowsy
- Dry mouth
- Skin that does not spring back when gently pulled
- Sunken soft spot on infant’s head
In addition, if your baby is less than 6 months with diarrhea or your infant has diarrhea and these symptoms, call your doctor right away:
- Fever of 102 degrees or more
- Black, white or red bowel movement
- Pus or blood in bowel movement
- Belly pain
Tips to Prevent Diarrhea
It is hard to avoid all illness that can cause diarrhea in your baby, but these are some steps you can take to reduce the chances:
- Practice good handwashing techniques and teach your children how to do the same. Hands should be washed thoroughly before eating and after using the bathroom. Dirty hands transmit germs to others, especially to infants who put their fingers in their mouths or suck their thumbs.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen to avoid spreading germs.
- Wash vegetables and fruit before consuming.
- Keep meat properly refrigerated.
- Do not feed your pets in the same area your family eats.