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When Baby is Vomiting and has Diarrhea

July 12, 2012 by Dean Simmons, Registered Dietitian

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It hit me first and then went on to my infant son. Of all the things we share in our family, a case of gastroenteritis (a.k.a. the stomach flu) was something that I’d have preferred to keep to myself. It was worrying to see him vomiting up the milk from three feedings in a row - and then there was the diarrhea.

We called 8-1-1 to get advice from a Registered Nurse at HealthLink BC who asked us questions about our son’s health. The nurse advised us to take him to our doctor to be checked to see if he was dehydrated. Infants and children who are vomiting and have diarrhea can quickly progress to dangerous levels of dehydration. They should be seen by a doctor or nurse, who can assess their level of dehydration and provide advice on the best way to rehydrate your little one.

The doctor determined that our little guy was moderately dehydrated and advised that we encourage him to breastfeed and give him small amounts of a rehydration solution.This is a special mix of water, salts and sugar designed to quickly rehydrate the body, which can be bought at the drugstore.

By the next day he was having his usual number of wet diapers, the vomiting and diarrhea had stopped, and he no longer required the rehydration solution. Whew, what a day.

This experience has me thinking about the importance of fluids and hydration, especially for babies. It may be true, that “we are what we eat”, but none of it would matter without the water that gives our bodies life. Now, when I’m holding my son and I start to feel his drool seeping through my shirt, I am happy to know that drooling is a sign that he is hydrated.

How do you keep your infant or child hydrated?


Recommended Resources:
Guidelines for staying hydrated

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