Babies are adorable with their chubby cheeks and tiny fingers. But when those cute little ones get diarrhea, it's anything but lovely. Diarrhea in babies is not only uncomfortable for them, but it can also be stressful for parents. You don't know how long this disaster will last or what measures to take to stop it. That's why we've compiled some insights into the diarrhea dilemma that could benefit you.
Wikipedia describes diarrhea as a condition where one experiences three or more loose, liquid bowel movements per day (as defined by The World Health Organization). Now imagine your baby having such frequent bowel movements- unpleasant sight!
Many possible causes of diarrhea exist; food allergies (particularly cow's milk), viral or bacterial infections, medication side effects etcetera. Poor hygiene on the part of caregivers during feeding may cause diarrhoea too.
All forms of diarrhoea result in increased poop frequency, possibly accompanied by vomiting and fever (Another terrible combination). In terms of stool consistency; make yourself ready for watery and bloody poops otherwise referred to as loose stools which tend to smell revolting (you have been warned). Babies suffering from straining abdomen pains while trying to poop are potentially experiencing constipation.
Should I Panic?
With these alarming symptoms staring at us in bold colors like fiery warning signs one wonders if panic should ensue when faced with a diarrhea-ridden baby. Calm yourself down before developing an anxiety disorder simply due circumstance beyond our human control but remember that giving up hope is out of the question ('ain't nobody got time fo dat'). As frustrating as they may look kinda seems like every new parent goes through this situation so let’s hook-up with other parents facing similar issue on social media platforms because what's better than a support group right?
So How Long Can Diarrhea Last in Babies?
Dependent mostly on a wide variety of causative agents, it's slightly difficult to determine how long the diarrhea will persist. Infants or babies often suffer from acute diarrhoea which is expected to be self-limiting (resolving spontaneously) within 1-2 weeks (this is not bad after all, they most likely won't even remember this ordeal)
Is it Chronic or Acute?
Chronic diarrhoea lasts for longer periods exceeding two days mainly as a result of other illness manifestations such as inflammatory bowel disease and/or may require medical attention. Immediate hospitalization is important when dehydration sets in.
Dehydration refers to loss of bodily water/moisture usually observed during vomiting or if your baby find continues to poop frequently with no decreased frequency over time. Common signs of dehydration include:
- Reduced urine output
- Dry mouth
- Sunken eyes
Immediate evaluation by a pediatrician should commence under these conditions.
Treatment aims at ruling out dehydration and replacing fluids lost through frequent pooping/peeing/vomiting until symptoms subside naturally ("Just wait til it passes", some might say).
Changing feeding practices
Breastfed infants continue breastfeeding uninterrupted with the simple inclusion fluid electrolyte supplements whereas bottle-fed infants are put on lactose-free formula beginning solids only upon return to normalcy stemming from diarrhea (this sounds easy but trust me its easier said than done). By popular opinion, rice cereal can also help sooth irritated stomach lining while bananas contain high potassium levels that aid reintroduction/new digestion process altogether.
Occasionally utilizing administered oral rehydration salts/solutions (ORS), generally available over-the-counter add way more convenience alongside coconut water instead and avoiding sugary drinks (to avoid even worse dehydration) (insert 'yuck' face here).
Commonly used supplements include Zinc which aids in regaining zinc levels potentially lost through stool passes in addition to reducing diarrhea duration as well aiding the absorbtion of nutrients into blood palates. Also included are probiotics; microorganisms benefiting gut health by attacking and killing harmful bacteria that may have caused diarrhoea while maintaining persistence healthy ones.
When To Seek Medical Attention
Generally, home management along with oral rehydration solutions usually resolves acute diarrhea disorders within days depending on its initial intensity (quick fix right?). Reoccurring or prolonged symptoms call for medical attention without ignorance!
Hospitalization bolsters serious cases involving excessive loss of bodily fluids often arising due to severe infections originating from campylobacteriosis, dysentery infection, cholera etcetera calling for sustained fluid replacement as best decision-making method then again don’t go getting all scared now will you (pulls out emotional support cushion) it's a unique case scenario nothing to worry but definitely worth mentioning!
Potential Negative Long-term Effects?
Recurrent instances of diarrhea might cause chronic effects leading malnutrition based chronic diseases due decreased mineral absorption inciting persistent lack growth and development patterns. Growth in infants requiring corrective measures/prescription treatment needing special care under pediatricians watchful eyes.
Prevention is Key?
Prevention remains key around every angle proving beneficial than cure itself. Keep yourself aware preemptive action mechanisms like sterilizing utensils used baby feeding processes since hygiene practices play an immense role during these dicey moments; ensuring their surroundings unhygienic environments breeding bacterial deposits introducing harmful germs causing sickness. Mother’s antibodies also get transferred during breastfeeding bolstering immune system prowess against any foreign invaders looking to disrupt usual functions such as Irritants introduction via water supplies/water bottles when away from home/street food poor preparation while travelling in addition practicing cleanliness always by washing hands prior to touching baby (again easy said than done trust me, trying becoming an Immaculate cleaner with OCD and a newborn for 24hrs as all social life shatters around like broken glass).
Diarrhoea is not only unpleasant but an irritating ailment more-so faces serious existing risks including dehydration making it incredibly important identifying symptoms thereby getting prompt care under trained Professionals otherwise outcomes might become detrimental augmenting prolonged illnesses needing medical attention immediately. So let's take a deep breath and relax- this too shall pass!