By Aradhana Pandey
As a new mom, there different things you will discover about your child’s body that are very different from yours. Apart from requiring good amount of sleep and rest, you will also notice that your baby needs to eat and drink regularly and his bowel movements are more frequent as compared to yours. This is mainly due to the fact that infants have small bodies (and stomachs) which store less fluid and their metabolic rates are much higher. This makes them require foods and fluids more frequently. If your infant falls short of essential fluids and electrolytes, he can fall prey to dehydration which may lead to serious consequences if left untreated.
If your baby if displaying the following symptoms, chances are that he might be dehydrated:
• Reduced frequency of urine or less than 6 wet diapers in a day;
• Dark yellow urine;
• Dry mouth and increased thirst;
• Few or no tears while crying;
• Increased fatigue;
• Sunken eyes,
• Blotchy hands and feet;
• Sunken fontanelle/soft spot;
• Rapid breathing and elevated heart rate
There could be many reasons why your baby is dehydrated such as diarrhea, vomiting, environmental conditions (too much heat), fever and lack of food intake. Following remedies can help better your infant’s condition if he is dehydrated:
1. Offer Plenty Of Fluids For Mild Dehydration – It’s not uncommon for babies to succumb to mild bouts of dehydration if the weather gets too hot. In a case like such, ensure you increase your baby’s fluid intake and offer him plenty of liquids like water, breast milk or formula, if you formula-feed your infant. According to an article by American Family Physician, offering liquids like fruit juices or soft drinks during dehydration should be avoided as their mix of salt, sugar and minerals is not consistent and they can aggravate diarrhea resulting in further dehydration. It is also important that you let your baby rest in a cool place to avoid further loss of fluids due to sweating.
2. Offer Oral Rehydration Solution For Mild – Medium Dehydration – If your baby is experiencing moderate dehydration caused due to diarrhea or vomiting, you can replace his body’s lost fluids, sugar and salt by offering him oral hydration solution along with his regular feed. Formula should stop being given to formula-fed babies during the process of rehydration and resumed only once dehydration is under control.
3. Other Treatments To Ease The Symptoms Of Dehydration – If your baby develops a mild fever or is facing trouble drinking or swallowing, you can give him infant paracetamol or infant ibuprofen to reduce his uneasiness. Make sure that he continues to drink plenty of fluids, frequently along with the dose of these medicines. These drugs are not recommended for infants who are under 3 months of age. Consult your doctor before giving your child a dose of these medicines.
4. Dietary Recommendations After Dehydration Is In Control – While the age old maxim suggests that withholding food for 24 hours can improve the condition of dehydration in infants, it is not recommended and is extremely unsafe. On the contrary, early feeding can offset changes in intestinal permeability caused by infection, decrease the duration of illness and even improve nutritional outcome. You can offer your infant the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) which is recommended for babies who are over 7 months of age.
If despite following the aforementioned remedies at home, your baby’s condition still doesn’t improve, rush him to your doctor without further delay. His diarrhea could be the result of a serious underlying health condition. Look out for warning signs like black or bloody stools, no improvement in situation even after 24 hours, continued irritability and fatigue, high fever, bloody vomiting and persistent vomiting even after 4-6 hours. Always remember to keep an eye on altered patterns in your baby’s behavior and eating habits for his good health and safety.
– Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular sites like natural news, elephant journal, thehealthsite, naturally savvy, curejoy and MomJunction. Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.