Diet and diarrhea in baby

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

Diarrhea in infants can be a very worrisome occurrence as most parents fear dehydration and the worsening of painful diaper rash. Children who have diarrhea may have less energy, dry eyes, or a dry, sticky mouth. It could be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It might also be the result of a parasite, a course of antibiotics, or the things he ate.

Viral infection

Any types of viruses such as the rotovirus, adenovirus, calicivirus, astrovirus, and influenza can cause diarrhea, as well as vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, chills, and achiness.

Bacterial infection

Bacteria such as salmonella, shigella, staphylococcus, campylobacter, or E. coli can also be responsible for diarrhea. If your toddler has a bacterial infection, he may have severe diarrhea, accompanied by cramps, blood in the stool, and a fever.
Some bacterial infections can disappear on their own, but some types such as the E. coli that can be found in undercooked meat or other food sources, can turn out to be very serious. So if your toddler has these symptoms, take him to the doctor. She’ll examine him and probably evaluate a stool culture for signs of a bacterial infection.

Ear infection

In some cases, an ear infection can be the culprit in a bout of diarrhea. If this is the case, you may also notice that your toddler is fussy and pulls on his ears or complains of ear pain. He may have nausea, vomiting, and a poor appetite, and he may have recently had a cold.

Parasites

Parasitic infections can also cause diarrhea. Giardiasis, for example, is caused by a microscopic parasite that lives in the bowel.

If your toddler has a parasitic infection, he may have diarrhea, bloating, gas, nausea, cramps, and greasy stools. These kinds of infections are easily spread in group-care situations, and treatment involves special medicine, so your toddler will need to see the doctor.

Antibiotics

If your toddler has diarrhea during or after a course of antibiotics, it may be related to the medicine, which kills off good bacteria in the intestines along with the problem-causing bacteria. Talk to his doctor about alternatives and remedies, but don’t stop giving any prescribed medication to your child until his doctor gives you the go-ahead.

Too much juice

Consuming too much juice or too many sweetened drinks can upset a child’s tummy and cause him to have loose stools. Cutting back the amount should solve the problem.

Toddler’s diarrhea

If your child has multiple loose bowel movements per day, perhaps containing undigested foods or mucus and foul-smelling stool, he may have what doctors call toddler’s diarrhea. Your toddler will continue to gain weight and grow normally, soon outgrowing this condition.

Food allergy

Seek for help immediately if your toddler is having trouble breathing or if his face or lips swell. A food allergy can cause mild or severe reactions — immediately or within a couple of hours. Symptoms might include diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, and blood in the stool. In more severe cases, an allergy can also cause hives, a rash, swelling, and breathing difficulty.

Food intolerance

Unlike a food allergy, a food intolerance (a food sensitivity) is an abnormal reaction that does not involve the immune system.

If your toddler is lactose intolerant, it means that his body isn’t producing enough lactase, the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, the sugar in cow’s milk and other dairy products. When the undigested lactose stays in the intestine, it can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, and gas. Symptoms usually start from half an hour to two hours after consuming milk products.

By the way, if your toddler has a severe case of diarrhea, he may temporarily have trouble producing lactase, and as a result he might have symptoms of lactose intolerance for a week or two.

Poisoning

If your toddler has diarrhea and is vomiting and you think he may have swallowed some objects like a medication, chemical, or plant, call your child’s health care provider at once. Especially if he becomes unconscious or is having trouble breathing. Other symptoms may include fatigue and convulsions.

Having diarrhea on occasion is nothing to worry about. Diarrhea causes can range from a stomach flu to a meal or just an ingredient you ate that didn’t agree with you. Because certain foods can worsen symptoms, in order to start feeling better you need to know what to eat when you have diarrhea, and what not to eat.

When to seek for medical help?

Call your child’s health care provider if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • Blood or mucus in the stool;
  • Dry and sticky mouth;
  • Fever that does not go away;
  • Much less activity than normal;
  • No tears when crying;
  • No urination for 6 hours;
  • Stomach pain;
  • Vomiting.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.

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