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Passing loose stools three or more times a day is called diarrhea. Normal or healthy baby stools are soft and loose and are frequent during the first 1 - 2 months. Because of this, it may be difficult to tell when your baby has diarrhea.
You can look for the following to help decide whether your baby has diarrhea:
A sudden increase in how often your baby has stools
More than one stool per feeding
Stools that appear to be more watery
In children diarrhea is short-lived, usually caused by a virus, and goes away on its own. Other causes of diarrhea include:
A change in the baby's diet or the breast-feeding mother's diet
Use of antibiotics by the baby or breast-feeding mother
Consuming too much fruit or fruit juice
Physical examination Infants and young children (under age 3) can dehydrate quickly, so they should be watched very carefully. Your doctor will examine the child for any signs of dehydration.
Stool culture: including examination for ova, cysts and parasites.
Skin that is pinched between fingers fails to spring back to its original shape
Sunken fontanelle (the soft spot on top of the head) in infants
Very lethargic or possibly unconscious
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Make sure children wash their hands well and often, especially after using the toilet and before eating. Dirty hands carry infectious germs into the body when kids bite their nails, suck their thumbs, eat with their fingers, or put any part of
their hands into their mouths.
Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating
Don't wash pet cages or bowls in the same sink that you use to prepare family meals.
Formula feeding-Try using at half strength for 2 to 3 feedings after diarrhoea starts. Regular formula feedings can begin after this. When your child is ready for regular foods, try bananas, crackers, chicken, pasta, and rice cereal.
Give your child frequent sips of water in small amount, even if they are vomiting.
Fruit juice or fizzy drinks should be avoided because they can make diarrhoea worse in children.
Continue to feed the baby if you are breast feeding or formula feeding, as before. While breastfeeding, you should increase your fluid intake to help maintain your milk supply.
Your doctor may advise your child Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). The usual recommendation is to give an ORS each time they have an episode of diarrhoea. The amount they should drink will depend on their size and weight. Consult your doctor regarding same.
If the child is not dehydrated, you can give normal diet but make sure you avoid fat and spicy food.
If the child refuses to eat, then continue with plenty of fluids.
Anti-diarrhoeal medicines should not be given to children unless prescribed by your doctor.
If the child is severely dehydrated then hospitalisation may be required where fluids and nutrients will be administered directly into a vein (intravenously).