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Diarrhea in babies is often caused by viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections and occurs when there are at least 3 loose or watery stools in a 24-hour period.
To know if the baby really has diarrhea, it is possible to assess in the diaper if the coconut is more liquid than normal, if the color is different from the usual or if the smell is stronger, similar to that of a spoiled egg, for example. It is also important to check for the presence of blood or mucus in the feces, if the baby has altered breathing or has colder feet or hands, as these are signs that may indicate greater urgency.
To treat the baby's diarrhea, it is important to consult the pediatrician and maintain breastfeeding, or infant formula, as well as complementary foods, if the child is older than 6 months, to avoid malnutrition and dehydration.The pediatrician may also prescribe homemade saline, antibiotic and/or probiotic supplements to improve the infection and rebalance the child's intestinal flora.
What can cause diarrhea in a baby
Usually when diarrhea lasts up to 14 days, the main causes are the ingestion of spoiled food or infections caused by worms, viruses or bacteria, which are known as gastroenteritis. Understand better about diarrhea caused by viruses, viruses.
However, when it lasts for more than 14 days, the main causes of diarrhea can be lactose intolerance, gluten allergy or intolerance, use of antibiotics or some bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease.
Could it be COVID-19?
Although infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is less frequent in babies, it has been observed that children can present some symptoms similar to a virus, including diarrhea.Therefore, if the baby has diarrhea or any other symptoms, such as fever, vomiting or decreased hunger, it is important to take the child to an appointment with the pediatrician who will make a proper evaluation. Better understand the symptoms and treatment of COVID-19 in babies and children.
How to treat baby's diarrhea
It is important that parents or guardians take the baby to the pediatrician to identify the possible cause of diarrhea and start the most appropriate treatment. However, there are some precautions, especially with food, that can be started at home and that will help prevent dehydration, avoid weight loss and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Feeding a baby with diarrhea
To treat the baby with diarrhea, it is important to maintain the child's usual meal. If the baby is younger than 6 months and is exclusively breastfed, it is important to keep only breast milk on demand, which is when the baby wants to breastfeed.So how important it is to keep only infant formula and water for babies who don't breastfeed. Know when to give and how much water is recommended for babies.
In the case of babies who are 6 months or older, it is important to continue with breast milk on demand, or infant formula, and to complement their diet with porridge made with natural fresh fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes and proteins. See how to maintain a balanced diet for babies up to 1 year.
During the diarrhea crisis, it is common for the baby to not be very hungry. Therefore, it is recommended to offer food in smaller portions, but more frequently throughout the day, respecting the child's wishes.
In addition, it may be necessary to give homemade saline solution, as diarrhea causes the child to lose a lot of fluid through the faeces, and may become dehydrated. The amount of serum recommended by the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics for babies under 1 year old is 50 to 100 ml after each diarrhea evacuation.For babies aged 1 to 2 years, the recommendation is 100 to 200 ml of homemade serum.
See with our nutritionist, in the following video, how to prepare homemade serum:
Remedies for Diarrhea in Baby
After evaluating the possible causes of diarrhea, the pediatrician may recommend medication such as analgesics to the baby to relieve pain and discomfort, and to lower the fever, if the child has one of these symptoms. As well as the use of antibiotics may be necessary if the diarrhea is caused by bacteria.
The pediatrician may also recommend the use of probiotic supplements, which are beneficial bacteria used to rebalance the intestinal flora of the intestine, helping the baby to recover faster.
When to go to the doctor
Parents or guardians should take the baby to the doctor if he has the following symptoms:
- More than 3 episodes of diarrhea in the same day;
- If the baby is less active and sleepy during the day;
- If diarrhea is very severe and there is no sign of improvement within 2 days;
- If you observe diarrhea with mucus or blood;
- If you drink it, you feel very thirsty and have a decrease in urine volume;
- If the baby refuses to feed;
- If you have abnormal breathing and heart rate;
- If the child has cold hands and feet;
- If you have other symptoms such as vomiting, and fever above 38°C.
It is common for viruses to cause vomiting, diarrhea and fever in the baby, but these symptoms can also arise in cases of intolerances or allergies to some food, for example. Understand better what are the symptoms of food allergy in babies.