Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

Dehydration In Your Baby Due To Diarrhea: Treatment Options You Can Choose

by Caitlin Obara

When your baby has diarrhea, you can feel helpless to make them feel better. Your baby can get diarrhea for many reasons, including drinking too much fruit juice, having an allergy or sensitivity to their formula, or even from a common cold. In most cases, your baby will be just fine within a few days to weeks, but diarrhea starts to cause a concern when dehydration begins to happen. When your baby is dehydrated, it means that most of their fluids and nutrients are being expelled in their frequent bowel movements, and your baby can become dangerously ill. Learn how to tell if your baby's diarrhea has made them dehydrated, and the options you have to help cure the potentially dangerous condition.

Dehydration symptoms in your baby

You should watch for wet diapers when your baby has diarrhea. If your baby is urinating as frequently as they normally do, even if it's in slightly smaller amounts, they are likely still getting the fluids they need to stay healthy. If your baby is retaining water due to dehydration, they will start to become very listless, irritable, and may refuse food. You will also notice that their diapers are less wet than usual, or that the urine they release is very yellow or odorous. These are all signs your baby is dehydrated.

What you can do

The first thing you should do is take your baby to their doctor to receive a checkup on their symptoms. Their doctor will then tell you what you can do to keep your baby hydrated while they get through their diarrhea spell. If your baby is slightly dehydrated or at risk for dehydration, their doctor may advise offering your baby electrolyte solutions in their bottle, or watering their formula down with more water to keep them hydrated.

They may also suggest switching your baby to a different type of formula, or changing their diet to something more bland until their diarrhea symptoms subside. If your baby is old enough for some solids, they may suggest feeding your baby bananas to help them produce firmer stools and retain more fluids naturally.

It is relatively rare that your baby will require hospitalization for their diarrhea symptoms. In very severe cases, your baby may need to be hospitalized to receive IV therapy if they are dangerously dehydrated. This involves placing an IV in their arm or in their head (depending on their age) to place fluids directly into their body via a small tube. This helps hydrate your baby and help their electrolytes get back in balance. Your baby may need to be hospitalized until their symptoms improve.

If you are worried about your baby's diarrhea and wonder if you are giving them enough fluids, contact their doctor for possible solutions. In keeping your baby hydrated and trying to pinpoint just why they have diarrhea in the first place, you can help avoid dangerous dehydration.