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Diarrhea in Infants

Call your doctor if your baby has frequent diarrhea for more than one or two days or has mild diarrhea for more than one week, if the diarrhea worsens, or if your baby develops fever, vomiting, rash, or gets very cranky.

If your baby is breastfed, breastfeed frequently to prevent dehydration. If your baby is nursing well and does not have any signs of dehydration, no additional fluids are necessary; breastmilk is easily digested and is perfect for babies with diarrhea.

If your baby is formula-fed, continue formula-feeding with regular, full-strength formula. If your baby's diarrhea is getting worse, your pediatrician may recommend a lactose-free formula or an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte or Rehydralyte that contains the right amount of sugars and salts to replace those lost with diarrhea. Your doctor can tell you how much to give, which depends on your child's weight, how much diarrhea he is having, and whether he is dehydrated or not. If your baby is eating and taking some other fluids giving plain water is okay, but giving plain water alone can cause very dangerous electrolyte problems.

Your baby doesn't need to eat while he is sick; drinking is the most important thing. If your baby wants to eat, keep it to simple foods like rice cereal. If your baby is over six months and taking table foods, rice, crackers, and toast can be good choices.

As long as the diarrhea continues, remember to constantly watch your baby for signs of dehydration, such as decreased urination, dry mouth, no tears, sleepiness, pale skin, or crankiness.


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