Gastroenteritis in Babies: Causes & Treatment

4 min read

Written by Bindu Raichura

Bindu Raichura

gastroenteritis in babies

Gastroenteritis in babies needs proper care and attention because infants of this age are entirely dependent on elders for every basic need of theirs. Gastroenteritis or stomach infection in infants causes inflammation in their stomach which puts them at so much unease.

Sometimes this discomfort leads to vomiting and diarrhea too. But don’t worry, few simple home remedies are effective enough to bring the smile back on your infant’s face.

In This Article

What Causes Gastroenteritis in Babies?

Rotavirus and Adenovirus are the two prime viruses that might be the culprit behind your baby’s upset stomach. This is the reason why kids less than fifteen weeks old are vaccinated against rotavirus free of cost. The vaccine has proved to be effective in controlling the number of cases of gastroenteritis in babies.

However, there are a few more bacteria and viruses too, which cause the same stomach infection in infants. Wondering, how your little child got infected, despite precise sanitation in and around his surroundings? Well, the reasons are multiple.

Gastroenteritis in babies might have taken place, because:

  • The infants often put their hands and fingers in their mouths after touching their surroundings.
  • They visit daycare centers or such places where the chances of touching the contaminated surfaces are very high.

For How Long Does Gastroenteritis Affect Babies?

gastroenteritis in infants

If the baby develops vomiting because of a stomach infection, s/he will require at least two to three days to settle down completely. However, if gastroenteritis leads to diarrhea, then the recovery duration extends to one or two weeks.

What are the Symptoms of Stomach Infection in Babies?

If the stomach infection in babies is because by certain bacteria then there are chances of high fever for a longer duration.  Severe tummy aches with blood and mucus in the infant’s stool will also be seen.

If the gastroenteritis in babies is because of the virus, the stool passed by the baby is greenish-brown, watery, and frequent. There can be a mild fever. Vomiting settles down in one to two days but diarrhea takes a week to heal completely.

What is the Treatment for Gastroenteritis in Babies?

When the baby vomits or suffers from diarrhea during a stomach infection, s/he tends to lose more fluid than they take in. In such cases, there is ample risk of dehydration. Therefore,  ample care needs to be taken at home to ensure the proper flow of fluids in the infant’s body.

The fluid lost can be balanced by providing water, oral rehydration solution (ORS), or breastmilk, or formula milk to infants. If the baby does not consume any of these fluid options, try funding them with diluted apple juice.

Treatment of Gastroenteritis in Babies than Six Months of Age

baby stomach infection

  • If the baby takes the mother’s milk, the mother should increase the frequency of feed. Try to feed the baby, after every vomit. You may also give the infant an oral rehydration solution.
  • In case the baby takes bottle feed, replace the normal formula milk with an oral rehydration solution for the first twelve hours.
  • Do not give any fizzy drinks or fruit juices with high sugar content.
  • Since the baby is gastro infected, make sure to clean and sanitize your hands properly before every feed and after every nappy changing session.

When Does it Become Essential to Visit the Doctor for Stomach Infections in Babies?

Babies or infants should always be taken to the doctor if any of the following key observations are made:

  • The child resists taking fluids.
  • Diarrhea does not show any signs of improvement and frequency is up to eight to ten watery poos in a day.
  • Every time the fluid is given, the baby vomits.
  • The infant gets dry mouth and lips, the pee gets dark yellow or brown and there is a feeling of dizziness.
  • Stomach ache or green vomit or blood in the poo.

Gastroenteritis in babies often leads to the risk of dehydration because of frequent vomits and diarrhea. Therefore, it is important to take some precautions to ensure the baby is always safe. Small steps like not sharing towels, not sending your baby to daycare if s/he is infected, ensuring the kitchen is clean, and ensuring food is properly cooked before serving to the infant can prevent the spread of the illness.

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Bindu Raichura,

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