Diarrhea in the newborn: symptoms, causes and treatment

Diarrhea in the newborn: symptoms, causes and treatment

When soft faeces become liquid and discharges are continuous, there is no doubt about it: we are talking about diarrhoea. The main cause is infectious, but it could also be due to food intolerances or other diseases. Here, then, are some useful tips on how to behave and how to protect our child's bottom from the danger of dermatitis.

The faeces

In the first few months, a baby's faeces are usually creamy or almost liquid and deep yellow in colour. In addition, infants tend to discharge frequently and for this reason, parents are afraid of not being able to recognise diarrhoea. But if this happens, there is hardly any doubt.


Diarrhoea consists of a change in the consistency of the faeces, which in this case become very liquid, abundant and frequent. The main causes are various and different such as gastroenteritis, allergies, food intolerances or more rarely, metabolic diseases. Gastroenteritis generally has an infectious origin and is mainly responsible for viruses (rotavirus in primis), although some cases can be caused by bacteria, such as Salmonella. Other possible causes are food allergies and intolerances or, more rarely, metabolic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or intestinal malabsorption diseases.

What to do in case of gastroenteritis

There are different levels of gravity. In the lightest forms it is not necessary to do much except keep an eye on the infant over 2 months of age can drink to keep himself well hydrated. If, on the other hand, the newborn is very small, i.e. less than 2 monthsor diarrhoea is very intense and perhaps associated with vomiting the risk of dehydration increases and even the moisturizing solution may no longer be enough. In these cases, it is better to inform the doctor immediately, or take the baby to the emergency room, to avoid the signs of dehydration, such as the presence of dark circles around the eyes, crying without tears, dry skin, lack of pee. In some cases it may be necessary to hospitalize the baby, where it can be kept well hydrated. As for feeding, if the baby is taking mother's milk, the Guidelines clearly state that it should not be interrupted. "In the most serious cases, instead, the artificial milk should be temporarily suspended, giving priority to the rehydrating solution, and then reintroduced after a few hours.

How long does diarrhoea last

A gastroenteritis diarrhea lasts an average of 3-5 days, but can be as long as 7-8 days. Once you see some signs of improvement you can rest assured: the diarrhoea will pass. Otherwise the diarrhoea may be due to other causes, such as celiac disease, food intolerance, chronic inflammatory disease and more specific investigations will be needed to understand what is happening.

Danger of diaper dermatitis?

The directions are very simple. It is necessary to change the diaper as soon as possible after each discharge; Observe good hygiene of the bottom at each change. Protect the part with a zinc oxide cream.

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