When our child gets diarrhea, it can really be daunting especially when we don’t know what to do to help him/her gets better. But not to worry! In today’s article, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading below to learn more on how to handle this delicate situation.
Manage Your Child’s Diarrhea with These Tips
Proper hydration: Frequent bowel movements and vomiting, if any, can lead to dehydration. It is therefore necessary to offer him water frequently, preferably in small quantities, but without forcing him. In the most intense cases, and especially in babies, it is preferable to use an oral rehydration solution in small quantities – between 10 and 15 ml every 10-15 minutes. Do not give isotonic drinks as they are excessively sweet and may make the diarrhea worse.
Avoid the use of medications by yourself, except for antithermals if your child has a fever: Medications used for vomiting are used to improve the symptom, but they do not cure and may have side effects.
Offer food as soon as possible: Although it may seem counterintuitive, early feeding speeds recovery from gastroenteritis. The fact that a bowel movement occurs while eating should not worry you because it is just a consequence of a gut reflex. But if the child doesn’t want to eat, don’t force him or her.
If you are breastfeeding, breastfeed more often; do not stop breastfeeding: it has been shown that breast milk is perfectly tolerated by infants with gastroenteritis and that it also helps the recovery of the damaged intestinal mucosa. Your pediatrician may recommend alternating breastfeeds with feedings of your prescribed rehydration solution. If they are taking a bottle, do not decrease the concentration by diluting it with more water.
Do not make homemade rehydration formulas: always use the prepared formula available in pharmacies that the pediatrician recommends.
If you are already eating yogurt, replace some milk-based foods with yogurt -modified milk-based yogurts for babies can be offered from 9 or 10 months of age; for the others, it will be necessary to wait until one year of age-: various studies have shown that yogurt shortens the duration of diarrhea.
From six months to three years of age, if they have already started taking purees and porridges, continue to offer them: they can have any cereal, vegetable, meat, fish, fruit or milk, and not only yogurt, but also milk. Adding sugar to food is not recommended.
Causes of Diarrhea
In the first months of life, the usual cause of diarrhea is the immaturity of the digestive system, which favors the entry of germs and the resulting infection. This immaturity makes it difficult to normalize the situation: the baby’s body is not able to compensate for the loss of fluid that occurs during diarrhea and the danger of dehydration is always present.
Although in the vast majority of cases diarrhea is due to an infection, it can also be a symptom of intolerance or allergy to certain foods. In the case of an allergic reaction, the digestive mucosa becomes inflamed and it is this inflammation that causes diarrhea. Other times, milk protein allergy or lactose intolerance is the consequence, not the cause, of gastroenteritis.
But the cause of the diarrhea can also be a feeding error: for example, the baby has been offered a food that he is not yet able to digest properly (excessive consumption of fruit juice in the first few months, when his ability to digest fruit sugars is still limited, or a mistake in reconstituting formula in the bottle).
As in adults, diarrhea can be caused by an infected virus or bacteria or contracted as a result of poor food storage.
There you go! You now know more about how you can better handle your child’s diarrhea. What other children’s health conditions you want to know about? Let us know in the comments below.