What to do when your baby has diarrhoea

When my little one had diarrhoea, I don’t know what I dreaded more: the thought of changing the soggy mess in the nappy or worrying if she would need to be rushed to the doctor.

Of course, concern for my baby was foremost on my mind, but there is nothing more horrifying than runny, stinky mess dripping everywhere – and the smell seems to linger for days. Shudder! That said, diarrhoea should be taken very seriously. Repeated episodes can have dire health effects, as it alters the balance of water and salts (electrolytes) in your baby’s system leading to dehydration. This can happen very quickly in babies (within a day or two after it starts), making it especially dangerous in newborns.

“If a baby’s weight loss is higher than five percent they may need an oral rehydration solution for a few hours.”

Knowing when to take your little one to the doctor is daunting. I remember calling my paediatrician every other day until the receptionist politely recommended I find a GP. Nobody likes being thought of as neurotic mom, but there is no real parenting handbook and rather be safe than sorry. I was given some really good advice from my GP on how to determine if my baby was showing signs of dehydration.

  • Pinch your baby softly – I nearly gasped at this one but I learnt to do it very gently. If the skin springs back quickly, your baby is fine. I even do this to hubby when he has diarrhoea!
  • There are fewer wet nappies.
  • Your baby is unusually drowsy.
  • There are no tears when your baby cries.
  • The soft spot on top of your baby’s head appears sunken.

It can be difficult to tell just how serious diarrhoea is with a little one who is under six months, but my GP advised that, if my baby ever had the following combined with runny tummy, I should call him immediately: a fever, bad tummy pain, vomiting, blood in stool (or if it was black, white or red) or if my baby was very lethargic. 

Formula to help with diarrhoea

A mom recently told me about Novalac AD, an anti-diarrhoea formula. I did a bit of research to try find out more about formulas that could help. I was quite impressed that Novalac had done clinical studies; it’s always good to know that a product does what it is supposed to. I called the consumer care line and was told that Novalac AD does following:

  • It is made to quickly rehydrate baby.
  • There are nutrients added to give the baby the energy they need.
  • It also stimulates appetite. A baby will drink more, which helps with dehydration.
  • Studies show that there is quick recovery of a baby’s stools within 28 hours.
  • The product is lactose and sugar-free and also has the added benefit of preventing allergies as it is free of soy protein free and gluten.

She did say, however, that if a baby’s weight loss is higher than five percent they may need an oral rehydration solution for a few hours (according to medical advice). Interestingly, I couldn’t find any other formula in SA on the shelves that treats diarrhoea. Let us know if you have tried it and what you have found.

Disclaimer: This post is based on personal experience and personal brand preference of the content author and has in no way been paid for or sponsored. BabyYumYum reserves the right to its opinions and fully supports the promotion that breast is best in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) infant feeding guidelines http://www.who.int/topics/infant_nutrition/en/. Breast milk is the best food for infants. Good maternal nutrition is essential to prepare and maintain breastfeeding. If breastfeeding is not applied, an infant formula may be used according to the advice of healthcare professionals. Preparation and storage of any infant formula should be performed as directed on the tin in order not to pose any health hazards.