Diarrhoea - Weaning, 6 months +
Are you worried your baby may have diarrhoea?
Most babies have occasional watery or loose poo. Breastfed babies have looser poo than formula fed babies.
Diarrhoea is when your baby passes unformed watery poo more than three times a day.
- Make sure you give your baby plenty to drink, to stop them becoming dehydrated. Water is best, if they won't drink water, give them enough of whichever fluids they will drink. In addition to this, also give your baby a drink immediately after each bout of diarrhoea (watery poo).
- Let your baby eat normally as soon as they feel like it. But they should avoid foods containing large amounts of sugar as this can make diarrhoea worse.
- Check your child's urine (wee) throughout the day. If your baby is drinking enough then their urine should be pale coloured and clear. If it is much darker than normal, strong smelling or cloudy then they could be dehydrated. If you are concerned that your child is becoming dehydrated, it is recommended that you give your child special rehydration drinks for children. Speak to your local pharmacist.
- Avoid sugary drinks, or drinks containing sugar substitutes (such as aspartame), as the sugar content may make your baby's diarrhoea worse.
- Give around an extra 100 - 200ml of fluid after each watery poo.
- Practice good hygiene, washing hands thoroughly after each nappy change or potty visit. Dispose of soiled nappies and wipes safely, double bagging them to prevent germs from spreading.
- Don't give your baby anti-diarrhoeal medicine. All medicines should be recommended by a health care professional.
- Don't let your baby go to nursery or childcare until 48hrs after their last bout of diorrhea - your nursery will advise.
- Don't give your baby too much fruit juice, or soft drinks because these contain sugars which can worsen the diarrhoea.
- In most cases, mild diarrhoea is caused by a mild viral or bacterial illness.
- Maintaining a good standard of hygiene can help stop germs from spreading to others
- Make sure you and your family wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, particularly before preparing food, after going to the toilet, or changing nappies.
- Supervise your child when they wash their hands or do it for them.
- Don't let your child share personal items, such as towels, flannels or face cloths. These items should be washed regularly at 60°C.
If these suggestions don't help, speak with your Health Visitor or GP.
Are you worried your baby may have colic?
Colic is one of the most common feeding-related problems in young babies. There are a number of reasons why experts believe this occures. These include immaturity of the digestive system, trapped wind, lactose intolerance and the balance of gut bacteria.
Colic tends to occur equally amongst breast and bottle-fed babies. Maternal smoking also appears to play a role.
How do you know if your baby has colic?
Colic is defined as a baby crying for more than 3 hours each day for 3 or more days over 3 consecutive weeks.
It often starts at 2-3 weeks of age and is worse during late afternoons and evenings. Colic normally goes away by 3-6 months of age with no long-term effects on your baby.
Other indications include:
- Screwed up eyes
- A flushed face
- Legs pulled up to the chest
- Lots of crying
- Clenched fists
- Wind baby frequently whilst feeding, especially if baby tends to feed quickly.
- Give them lots of cuddles; rock them gently or have them close to you in a sling. Try holding baby in different positions too. Movement can be comforting; try walking or gently swaying with your baby. Going for a drive in the car can also be soothing too.
- Try some distracting techniques, such as singing, looking in a mirror with them and showing them toys.
- in some cases babies seem to find household noises such as the vacuum cleaner, washing machine or a hairdryer soothing.
- Therea re different types of colic remedies available, so ask your pharmacist for advice.
- If breastfeeding, it may help to have a look at your diet: caffeine, spicy foods, garlic, dairy and foods that promote wind (e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions) have all been associated with colic
- Don't despair if none of these work. Talk to your health visitor for further advice and speak to other mums with colicky babies to see what works for them. Support groups are available; ask your health visitor for information on the ones that are local to you.
- Don't let your baby get too hungry between feeds. Feeding them in smaller volumes more regularly may help.