Diarrhea in newborns is characterized by the frequent passing of loose or watery stools. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including infection, food intolerance, or an underlying medical condition. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so it’s important to pay attention to your newborn’s bowel movements and seek medical attention if necessary.
How to Tell If Your Newborn Has Diarrhea
Here are some signs to look for to determine if your newborn has diarrhea:
- Frequency: If your newborn is having more than four or five loose or watery stools per day, they may have diarrhea.
Consistency: Pay attention to the consistency of your newborn’s stools. Normal breastfed newborn stools are usually soft and yellow, while formula-fed newborn stools are typically firmer and more solid. If your newborn’s stools are loose and watery, this may be a sign of diarrhea.
- Smell: Diarrhea stools often have a stronger, more pungent smell than normal stools.
- Appearance: Diarrhea stools may appear watery and may contain mucus or blood.
If your newborn is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention.
What Causes Diarrhea in Newborns?
There are several possible causes of diarrhea in newborns, including:
Infection: Diarrhea can be caused by a variety of infections, such as viral gastroenteritis, bacterial infections, or parasites.
- Food intolerance: If your newborn is formula-fed, they may be allergic or intolerant to the formula. This can cause diarrhea and other digestive issues.
- Underlying medical condition: In some cases, diarrhea in newborns may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a food allergy.
- Medications: Some medications, such as antibiotics, can cause diarrhea as a side effect.
- Other factors: Other potential causes of diarrhea in newborns include overfeeding, changes in diet, or exposure to contaminated water or food.
How Is Diarrhea in Newborns Treated?
The treatment for diarrhea in newborns will depend on the underlying cause. Here are some possible treatment options:
Dehydration: If your newborn is experiencing dehydration due to diarrhea, they may need to be hospitalized to receive fluids through an IV.
- Antibiotics: If the diarrhea is caused by a bacterial infection, your newborn may need to take antibiotics to clear the infection.
- Diet: If the diarrhea is caused by a food intolerance or allergy, your newborn’s diet may need to be modified. Your healthcare provider can recommend appropriate changes to your newborn’s diet.
- Other treatments: Depending on the underlying cause of the diarrhea, your healthcare provider may recommend other treatments, such as medications to reduce inflammation or a change in formula.
How can I prevent diarrhea in my newborn?
There are several things you can do to help prevent diarrhea in your newborn:
- Wash your hands frequently: This can help prevent the spread of infection.
- Sterilize bottles and nipples: If you are formula-feeding your newborn, it’s important to sterilize bottles and nipples to prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Avoid feeding your newborn food or water that may be contaminated: This includes food or water that has been sitting out for a long time or that has not been properly prepared.