It’s not uncommon for babies to have diarrhea from time to time. While it’s usually not serious, it’s important to know about baby diarrhea treatment and how to avoid it in the future.
Know what’s really diarrhea
In newborn breastfed babies, poop is often runny and seedy, which can look like diarrhea. But generally, diarrhea is described as frequent, large, watery stools with a foul smell. If your baby is experiencing diarrhea, you should talk to your pediatrician to discover the reason and learn about baby diarrhea treatment options.
Baby diarrhea treatment: Keeping your baby hydrated and nourished
If diarrhea is due to a virus, it’s important to make sure your baby is replenishing vital fluids, salts, and minerals.
- Offer additional breast milk or formula to your baby—it’s important to increase these liquids.
- Plain water does not contain enough sodium and other minerals needed to replace what was lost during dehydration.
- Apple juice and other sweet drinks can just make the diarrhea worse due to their sugar content.
- Ask your doctor about possibly giving your baby an oral rehydration solution.
Know the symptoms of a virus
Plenty of babies get diarrhea due to viral gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Some of the tip-offs to a virus can be:
- Belly pain
Do what you can to prevent diarrhea
If diarrhea is due to a feeding issue, it’s important to take note of everything your baby is ingesting so your doctor can find out what may be the reason for baby’s symptoms. Below we discuss other possible causes of diarrhea, but if it’s viral diarrhea, ways to avoid it include:
- Hand-washing. Everyone who comes in contact with your baby should first thoroughly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Wash your baby’s hands often, too.
- Disinfecting. Be sure to disinfect changing tables, toys, and other surface areas your baby touches. One of the best ways of disinfecting these areas is to clean with a mixture made with half a cup of bleach combined with a gallon of water.
Watch for signs of a food sensitivity
If you’re breastfeeding and your baby has diarrhea along with other symptoms such as vomiting or
Stay alert for signs of a food allergy
If you notice that your baby has diarrhea after almost every feeding, check with your pediatrician to see if they might suspect a cow’s milk allergy (CMA). About 3% of babies have a cow’s milk allergy. In these cases, babies react to proteins found in milk and other dairy products. Other symptoms can include:
- Skin rashes
If you think a cow’s milk allergy may be the culprit behind your baby’s diarrhea, learn more about CMA.
Ask about switching formula
Whether your baby’s digestive tract seems a little sensitive or you suspect an actual allergy such as cow’s milk allergy, check with your doctor about formula options. For instance, our hypoallergenic baby formulas have extensively hydrolyzed proteins that are easy for babies to digest. A switch like this may be a simple baby diarrhea treatment option when diarrhea is associated with cow’s milk allergy.
Call your doctor if your baby:
- Is vomiting along with the diarrhea
- Has severe diarrhea or diarrhea that lasts several days
- Does not have wet diapers
- Has diarrhea that contains blood or mucus
- Seems to be in pain
Understanding the signs associated with diarrhea is important and, you should ask your pediatrician questions during your next visit for more advice.