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PLAYING: What To Do When Your Baby Has Diarrhoea

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What To Do When Your Baby Has Diarrhoea

It is important to know what to expect in a nappy so you can then know when your baby’s poo is abnormal and may need healthcare professional advice. Diarrhoea is characterised by very frequent, liquid stools and may be the result of an illness or infection.

2 mins to read Dec 29, 2015

Diarrhoea results in a significant loss of water and mineral salts and therefore presents a serious risk of dehydration. In extreme cases, it can even result in your baby having to be hospitalised to receive fluids so diarrhoea must be taken seriously.


Possible causes of diarrhoea in infants:

  • Illness including a viral or bacterial infection
  • Lactose Intolerance following gastro
  • Giardia (parasite infection)
  • Coeliac Disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome in older children

What you can do to help:

  • Rehydrate your baby. There a few options here: extra breastfeeds, additional cooled boiled water feeds or using an oral rehydration solution. Consult your health care professional for the best option for you and your baby.
  • Your baby may have temporary lactose intolerance after a bout of diarrhoea. If your baby is breast fed, continue to do so and offer extra oral rehydration fluids between feeds. If your baby is formula fed, a special formula for lactose intolerance may be required temporarily.
  • If your baby has started to eat solids you can provide food at the same time as oral rehydration. It is best to start with bland foods like plain biscuits, bread, rice or potato. You can then add other foods slowly back into your baby’s diet.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands regularly and whenever you change your baby’s nappy, as some forms of diarrhoea are contagious.

If the diarrhoea is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. Early intervention is always the best:

  • Your baby vomits whenever you give food or drink;
  • Your baby’s vomit is green;
  • Your baby’s mouth is dry;
  • Your baby is passing watery poo every hour or two;
  • Your baby’s stool contains blood;
  • Your baby is drowsy or unresponsive;
  • Your baby looks tired with pale grey looking skin and sunken eyes;
  • Your baby is not passing urine (a sign of dehydration);
  • Your baby has lost weight;
  • Your child has bad stomach pain.