Diarrhea In Breastfed Babies: How To Tell
- Diarrhea in a breastfed baby is sometimes hard to tell.
- Normal breastfed stools are loose . Stools are yellow, but sometimes can be green. The green color is from bile. Runny stools can even be bordered by a water ring. These are all normal stools.
- Breastfed babies often pass more than 6 stools per day. Until 2 months of age, they may pass a stool after each feeding. But, if stools suddenly increase in number and looseness, suspect diarrhea. If it lasts for 3 or more stools, the baby has diarrhea.
- If the stools contain mucus, blood or smell bad, this points to diarrhea.
- Other clues to diarrhea are poor eating, acting sick, or a fever.
Causes Of Constipation In Babies
The answer to this also depends on the age and diet of your baby. Small infants experience constipation due to their weak abdominal muscles. Theyre still developing postpartum and require more strength to poop.
The reason formula can make your little one prone to constipation is often due to its ingredients. Some pediatricians may recommend you give your baby small doses of prune or pear juice. Always consult your physician before you give your infant anything other than formula or breastmilk .
Once your baby begins solid foods, the chance of constipation increases. Your little one suddenly has to digest something thats significantly firmer than milk.
The most common offending foods that I see in practice are white rice cereal and bananas. I often recommend brown rice cereal instead which has more fiber.
Around 12 months of age, many start drinking cows milk. This is an essential source of calcium and vitamin D for a growing baby. Unfortunately, it is constipating and can create a blockage. Toddlers dont need to drink cows milk as frequently as they consumed formula or breastmilk as an infant. Three 8 oz bottles a day is sufficient at 12 months old, and can be reduced to two bottles per day by 18 months old.
If youre transitioning your 1-year-old off formula or breastmilk, its a good idea to include lots of veggies and fruits. The fiber in these works as a natural laxative and will help your toddler poop.
What Does Green Poop In Newborns Mean
Mucus: Slimy, green-colored streaks with glistening strings in your babys poop means mucus is present. Although it can happen when your baby is drooling, mucus in baby poop can also be a sign of infection. White: Chalky white baby poop could be a warning sign that your baby is not properly digesting food.
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Common Baby Diarrhea Causes: Why Do Babies Have Diarrhea
Doctors and researchers agree that baby diarrhea can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common causes of diarrhea in babies includes changes in baby’s or your diet, feeding issues , cows milk allergy, and intestinal viruses. Other potential baby diarrhea causes include antibiotic use by the baby or breastfeeding mother, bacterial infections or other rarer causes.
1. Baby diarrhea due to a virus
If you suspect your baby has a virus, contact your doc right away. If diarrhea is due to a virus, its important to make sure your baby is replenishing vital fluids, salts, and minerals.
Virus symptoms in your baby include:
- Belly pain
2. Diet issue: Baby diarrhea caused by a food sensitivity
If youre breastfeeding, your baby may react to something youve eaten. The best way to find out if this is the cause of your baby’s diarrhea is to eliminate certain foods from your diet on a trial basis, with the help of your pediatrician. Youll likely be advised to keep a food diary and note a pattern of behaviors when you consume certain foods. Often, youll have to forgo potential sensitivities for 2 weeks to see if theyre the culprit.
3. Diet issue: Baby diarrhea due to an allergy
- Skin rashes
It’s important to talk to your baby’s doctor if you’re concerned that an allergy is causing your baby’s diarrhea. Beyond an elimination diet, there are CMA tests for infants to help identify if dairy is the cause.
If Youre Formula Feeding
If your little one is getting all or most of their daily nutrition through formula feeding, after the first few days they may start filling their diaper at least once a day, but itâs not out of the ordinary for them to sometimes go a day or two without a bowel movement. This is OK, provided their stools are soft when they do materialize.
If youâre ever concerned about how many poops your little one is passing, consult your babyâs healthcare provider.
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Baby Poop After Starting Solid Foods
The color, frequency, and consistency of your baby’s poop will change again once you introduce solid foods at approximately 4 to 6 months of age. At this point, the bowel movements will be thicker and more formed.
The foods that you feed your baby will change the color of the stool, too. For example, carrots and sweet potatoes can turn poop orange, while green beans and peas may turn it green. You may also see foods that do not get digested at all and end up in the diaper in their original form. The introduction of solid foods can increase the chances of constipation.
How Is Travelers Diarrhea Treated
Treatment will depend on the cause of the diarrhea. The first line of defense will often be home remedies and over-the-counter treatments to resolve mild cases of the illness.
When you get travelers diarrhea, avoid caffeine and alcohol. These may increase dehydration. However, continue to drink other fluids as much as possible to prevent dehydration.
Try to stick to bland foods you know have little risk of contamination and that your body is familiar with.
If youre traveling, its often a good idea to bring OTC treatments with you just in case you get travelers diarrhea. Bismuth subsalicylate can be effective for treating mild cases of travelers diarrhea. Use it according to the instructions on the box.
Antimotility agents like Imodium can also be used, but they should be saved for emergencies, like airplane travel. They may prolong the illness by not allowing your body to eliminate it.
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What The Colors Of Baby Poop May Mean
You might be surprised by a change in the color of your babyâs poop, which can range from the mustardy hues of breast-milk poop and the yellow-tan of formula-fed baby poop to various other shades of yellow, brown, and even green. You might also find mucus in baby poop, which can create a translucent or milky coloring.
Green poop can be alarming the first time you see it, but itâs usually harmless. All sorts of things can cause it, from certain medicines to green foods eaten by your baby directly or passed on through your breast milk. Sometimes, what you see is simply a product of your little oneâs normal digestion.
Generally, all the earth tones are OK, but if you ever need reassurance about the color of your babyâs poop, donât be shy about reaching out to your babyâs healthcare provider for advice.
Why Color Matters When It Comes To Your Babys Poop
While colors like green, dark brown or yellow poops are peculiar, there are really only three colors Dr. Feldman said you should worry about: black, white and red.
Green, orange, yellow, brown and everything in between are typical for babies, Dr. Felman said. Brown and orange are more typical for formula-fed babies, but can occur in breastfed babies as well. The colors of stool for a breastfed baby can also change based on their mothers diet. But if you see red, black or white stools, call your babys doctor right away.
- Black poops: It could indicate older blood in stool.
- White poops: It could be a sign your babys liver isnt working as it should.
- Red poops: Many times, it could indicate bleeding. It may appear stringy or mucous-like and could be a result of a milk allergy or anal fissures.
If you see any of these three colors, snap a few photos to show the doctor and hold onto the diaper in case the doctor wants to test the stool, Dr. Felman said.
For a quick cheat sheet, check out our Baby Poop Guide below:
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Undigested Food In Babys Poo
Baby poop with bits of undigested food in it is considered normal. However, if baby consistently has trouble digesting a certain food, you may want to hold back on offering it until baby is older.
Or, look into the best baby probiotics to help support your babys digestion and assimilation.
Also, if baby eats a lot of one kind of food , you may want to restrict the amount he eats at one time. Remember, if its coming out whole, he isnt getting any nutrition from it anyway.
Breastfed Baby Poop Smell
Once bacteria is introduced through breastfeeding, your little ones poop takes on a new smell. While still in their infant stage, the stool shouldnt smell too bad. Many parents note its sweet-smelling describing it as hay, porridge, and even popcorn.
If your baby produces a more pungent stool while being exclusively breastfed, you can mention it to your pediatrician. However, its more the color and texture you should take note of. If it turns green or becomes too runny or dry, it could indicate an infection or allergy.
A diarrheal stool caused by Rotavirus can give a particularly foul odor to the stool. No blood is present, but the stools become watery, green, and malodorous. Fortunately, there is a vaccine that prevents this infection in infants, administered during the 2, 4, and 6-month-old well visits.
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How Baby Poop Changes After Starting Solids
Once your baby starts eating solid food , their poop schedule will start to change. They’ll go less frequently, and the stools themselves will become thicker in consistency. “Certain foods will pass through undigested. This is normal, as babies don’t chew their food well and tend to process food quickly through the digestive tract,” Dr. Pittman explains.
Because a baby’s first food is usually rice cereal fortified with iron, you may notice some constipation: Rice and iron are notorious for backing things up, so to speak. If that’s the case, you can switch to iron-fortified baby oatmeal or limit rice cereal intake to once a day and mix in some pureed prunes.
Causes Of Acute Diarrhea
- Virus . An infection of the intestines from a virus is the most common cause.
- Bacteria . Less common cause. Diarrhea often contains streaks of blood.
- Giardia . More likely in child care center outbreaks.
- Antibiotic Diarrhea. Many antibiotics cause mild diarrhea. This is not an allergic reaction. Keep giving the antibiotic. Call your doctor if any serious symptoms occur.
- Serious Causes. Most bacterial diarrhea goes away on its own. A few can cause a severe large bowel infection . C. difficile is a serious cause that can occur after being on strong antibiotics.
- Serious Complication: Dehydration. This is the health problem where the body has lost too much fluid. .
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Frothy Or Mucousy Baby Poop
Baby poop that is frothy or especially mucousy can signify that something isnt quite right. It could be the foremilk/hindmilk imbalance that we talked about earlier, or it could be a bacterial infection.
On the other hand, sometimes mucousy poop is just the product of a teething baby who is drooling more . If you are concerned, or baby is showing signs of illness, talk to your pediatrician.
Baby Poop: Whats Normal And Whats Not
At Neocate, we get a lot of dirty questions from new parents starting on Neocate products. By messy, we mean questions about dirty diapers and baby poop.
In this post, well walk you through some of the most common questions related to whats in your little ones diapers poop, bowel movements, poo, stool. We will tackle the issues that you might be too shy to ask. What is a normal baby poop? What color should poop be? Will baby poop change after starting Neocate? Well also go over the reasons you see what you see because new parents ask why.
If we dont answer your question in this blog post, dont hesitate to comment below. Remember: were Neocate experts: we cant give medical advice, and we cant answer questions about your little ones medical care. Please contact your healthcare team for these types of issues.
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Baby Poop Color Warning Signs
Odds are, you wont have to call your doctor about your babys poop but its good to know when to take that step. If you notice your baby has poops that look like the ones below, then make sure to contact your doctor immediately.
- Runny Baby Poop – Runny poop or diarrhea that is green, yellow or brown, can be an indication of an infection or allergy.
- Hard, Pebble-like Baby Poop – If your baby has hard, pebble-like poop, then he/she may be suffering from constipation. This can be quite common when your baby is first introduced to solid foods, but can also be a symptom of sensitivity to milk, soy, or lack of tolerance to something in breast milk or formula.
- Red Blood in Baby Poop – Sometimes baby poop can turn red because of food or liquids such as tomatos, beets, or fruit punch. However, red baby poop can also be a sign of blood in the stool. This can be a sign of of a milk protein allergy or bacterial infections.
- Green Mucus in Baby Poop – Slimy, green mucus in your babys poop can be a sign of an infection. Youll notice that mucus in poop looks like green-colored streaks with glistening strings.
- White Baby Poop – Chalky baby poop that is gray or white in color can be a sign that your baby is not digesting food properly, or that there is a lack of bile in the liver.
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Causes Of Diarrhea In Babies
Diarrhea in babies has many potential causes. Here are some of the most common ones.
Viral infections. A rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhea in children ages 2 and younger. Fortunately, the number of children who get this intestinal infection has dropped significantly since the introduction of the oral rotavirus vaccine in 2006. “Vaccinated children can still get rotavirus, but they tend to have milder symptoms and recover faster,” says Dr. Safder.
Antibiotics. About one in 10 children who take antibiotics develop diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain. “In addition to targeting bad bacteria, antibiotics kill off healthy bacteria in the gut, which can lead to stomach upset or diarrhea,” says Iona Munjal, M.D., director of the Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York. If you think antibiotics are causing your baby’s diarrhea, talk to your doctor before stopping the medication. Stopping antibiotics early can lead to antibiotic resistance and cause a bacterial infection to return.
Parasites. Infants in daycare centers have a higher risk of contracting giardia, an intestinal infection caused by parasites. Exposure occurs when babies put fecal-contaminated toys, food, their hands, or other objects into their mouths. Most children get better without special treatment.
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What Is The Treatment For Baby Diarrhea
If your baby is at least three months old, the best home remedy you can offer them is comfort. Most cases of diarrhea pass on their own. Having said that, you may need to change babys diet or switch formulas if it turns out they have an allergy.
Doctors dont usually recommend anti-diarrheal medicine for babies, because its pretty common. But if your baby is eating solid foods, start giving them bland meals like bananas, applesauce, rice cereal, and lots of water. Avoid giving your baby greasy snacks or meals that are high in fiber. Cut back on the dairy products like milk and cheese and other sweets like cake and cookies.
Its important to keep in mind that diarrhea is a contagious bacterial infection. Be sure to wash your hands after changing a diaper. Keeping your hands and the diaper area clean will keep it from spreading to the rest of your household.
One of the most important things you can do when your baby comes down with diarrhea is to make sure that your baby stays hydrated. This may mean more frequent nursing or bottle feedings. If your baby is getting dehydrated, however, other solutions may be needed. Some pediatricians recommend a special electrolyte drink for breastfed babies. The best course of action if you fear your baby is getting dehydrated is to call their pediatrician right away.
Baby Diarrhea Treatment And Prevention Tips For Viral Diarrhea
Its not uncommon for babies to have diarrhea from time to time. While its usually not serious, its important to know about baby diarrhea treatment and how to avoid it in the future.
How to prevent viral diarrhea
Baby diarrhea can sometimes happen, so its important to take steps to avoid it:
- 1. Hand washing: Everyone who comes in contact with your baby should first thoroughly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Wash your babys hands often, too.
- 2. Disinfecting: Be sure to disinfect changing tables, toys, and other surface areas your baby touches. One of the best ways of disinfecting these areas is to clean with a mixture made with half a cup of bleach combined with a gallon of water.
How to treat viral diarrhea
To treat baby diarrhea that comes from a virus, keep these considerations in mind:
- 1. Top up formula or breast milk: Offer additional breast milk or formula to your babyits important to increase these liquids.
- 2. Consider an electrolyte solution: Ask your doctor about possibly giving your baby an oral rehydration solution. Electrolyte solutions quickly replace water and electrolytes baby would have lost from diarrhea. The high amounts of electrolyte sodium and balance of carbohydrates helps promote absorption of both fluids and electrolytes. Since theres tummy turmoil its best to choose one without the use of artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.
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