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Baby Diarrhea: 5 Characteristics And Signs

Expertly reviewed by Dexter Macalintal, MD · Internal or General Medicine

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Jun 03, 2022

Baby Diarrhea: 5 Characteristics And Signs

Diarrhea is one of the most common digestive disorders. Even so, diarrhea in infants must be quickly recognized and treated swiftly. Problems with bowel movements can be dangerous because babies are very susceptible to dehydration and this can be fatal for them. So, parents need to know the various signs and characteristics of baby diarrhea so that they can get treatment quickly.

Common characteristics of baby diarrhea 

Each baby may show various characteristics when exposed to diarrhea or loose stools.

Quoted from Kids Health, the initial characteristics that usually occur are babies experiencing pain and cramps in the stomach to watery bowel movements.

This happens because the cause of diarrhea in infants is a virus, bacteria, parasite, or food poisoning. Knowing the signs will help you deal with this indigestion more appropriately.

The following are signs and characteristics of a baby diarrhea that may occur:

1. Pee more water than usual

One of the most characteristic signs of diarrhea in infants is bowel movements that are more frequent than usual.

According to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, the normal frequency of bowel movements for babies who consume breast milk is 6 times a day.

Meanwhile, formula-fed babies will defecate up to 8 times a day in the first week.

Newborns tend to urinate frequently. However, if the frequency exceeds the normal limits mentioned above, this shows the characteristics or signs of the baby diarrhea.

What about the pattern of baby bowel movements that are older? Entering the age of 2 months, the frequency of bowel movements will generally decrease.

Babies aged 2 months and over who are breastfed will normally urinate 3 times a day. Infants who are fed formula normally will urinate 1-2 times a day.

Again, if you observe your baby’s bowel habits become more frequent than normal, it’s likely that he has diarrhea.

2. Watery and foul-smelling stools

In addition to more frequent bowel movements, another characteristic of babies with diarrhea that parents need to pay attention to is how the baby’s stool looks.

The stool of a healthy, breastfed infant is soft and yellowish in color. Meanwhile, the feces of babies who drink formula milk are denser and brown in color.

If you notice both the shape and color of your baby’s stool change drastically, this could be a sign of baby diarrhea.

The stool of a baby who has diarrhea will generally be more liquid with a foul odor that is more pungent. Sometimes, diarrhea can also make the baby pass slimy stools.

3. Fever

As explained a little above that the cause of diarrhea in infants is usually due to bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.

This infection occurs because babies tend to have a habit of putting dirty hands or toys in their mouths.

Once your hands enter your mouth, germs can infect your digestive tract.

Well, fever is one of the signs that the baby shows that the body’s immune system is fighting infections that cause diarrhea.

Not all fevers in children should be reduced. However, an increase in body temperature higher than 38.9–40℃ can increase a child’s risk of becoming dehydrated.

4. The baby’s stomach sounds loud

One of the characteristics of baby diarrhea that you can quickly recognize is the sound of his stomach. Under normal conditions, a healthy baby does sometimes make a rumbling sound from his stomach.

A baby’s stomach rumbling is a normal reaction that comes from the contractions of the intestines while digesting food.

However, stomach sounds that sound irregular and louder than usual can be a sign of baby diarrhea. This condition occurs due to an infected baby’s intestines.

Another digestive problem that can be experienced by babies is a hard stomach due to bloating, nausea, and vomiting.

You may also find your little one has no appetite when he has diarrhea.

5. Fussy

Your baby can’t communicate clearly with you. He can only cry when he feels uncomfortable. Likewise, when your child has diarrhea.

However, listen carefully to what the crying pattern looks like. The sound of a baby crying because he is hungry or sleepy will be very different from a baby crying because of pain.

The baby may feel pain if he suddenly cries loudly. On the other hand, a baby who is sick may also cry softly in a weak voice due to lack of energy.

In general, if he seems weak and very fussy or fussy than usual, this could be a sign or a sign that the baby is having diarrhea.

Key Takeaways

Well, those are five common characteristics that babies show when they have diarrhea. However, not all babies with diarrhea will show the same signs.

There may also be other signs that are not mentioned above according to health conditions.

Moreover, there are also signs or symptoms of diarrhea that may look like other health problems. If you feel unsure, you should immediately take it to the doctor for further examination.

Learn more about Child Health here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Expertly reviewed by

Dexter Macalintal, MD

Internal or General Medicine

Written by Hello Bacsi · Updated Jun 03, 2022

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