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Infants and Diarrhea - Signs, Symptoms And What To Do

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Diarrhea is defined as frequent, loose bowel movements. It can be dangerous because it can lead to dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Irritability
  • Listlessness/lethargic
  • Increased heart rate and breathing
  • Less frequent urination
  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Sunken eyes
  • Sunken “soft spot” on head
  • Skin that does not bounce back when pinched and released

To prevent dehydration from diarrhea, remember to give your child liquids. This is very important. Pedialyte is an option to replace lost electrolytes and provide hydration.

Diet recommendations for diarrhea vary from among pediatricians. Talk with your pediatrician for his/her recommendation. Here are some thoughts on diet recommendations for diarrhea:

  • If your child is not vomiting, provide a lactose-free diet. For example, if your infant formula feeds, change formula to Isomil DF (Diarrhea Formula). the other school of thought is to feed your child right through the episodes by allowing your baby to eat and drink whatever he/she wants.
  • For babies that are eating solids, offer a high fat and high fiber diet. A B.R.A.T. (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet is often recommended. Probiotics is another great addition to your child's diet. Probiotics can be obtained via probiotic supplements or yogurt with probiotics.

If your child is suffering from diarrhea, notify your pediatrician if:

  • Your baby is under 3 months old since dehydration is a big worry at this young age.
  • If there is blood or mucous present in stool.
  • If the stool looks like grape jelly.
  • If your baby is difficult to arouse (lethargic).
  • Or if your child does not urinate at least 3 times in 24 hours.

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