Diarrhea can be a symptom of several things in an infant. Due to the already soft texture of a baby’s feces, it can be difficult to distinguish what is normal and what is diarrhea. Although loose stools on occasion are nothing to worry about, a sudden change of bowel movements that become watery and frequent is considered to be diarrhea.
A baby’s frequency of bowel movements changes as he gets older. As a newborn, he may have a bowel movement up to ten times a day. An older baby will have much fewer, depending on what he has eaten and what is normal for that particular baby. Only you know what to generally expect from your baby.
Should your baby have diarrhea, the causes are most likely not to be anything severe. However, make sure that he is taking in enough fluids to prevent dehydration, a serious condition in babies. Your pediatrician may recommend that Pedialyte be given until the diarrhea clears up. Try to keep his bottom as clean and dry as possible in order to prevent diaper rash.
Many cases of diarrhea in an infant are caused by a food intolerance or a stomach bug. If the baby has just begun a new food, do not give him this food again until you contact his doctor to discuss the diarrhea and maybe give him a culture. If a culture proves that the condition is a stomach flu, there is very little to do except let it run its course. Do watch that he is regularly wetting diapers, though.
A mild case of diarrhea isn’t something to cause great alarm unless it is accompanied by other symptoms of infection. If baby is acting ill, lethargic, vomiting, running a fever or has blood in his stool, contact your doctor. Also, do not assume that teething is the cause of your baby’s diarrhea. When in doubt, speak to the pediatrician.