May 20, 2016


What is dehydration?
If your baby's dehydrated, it means that she doesn't have as much fluid in her body as she needs. Babies and children are more prone to dehydration than adults, and it can happen if your baby takes in less fluid than she loses through vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or sweating. Dehydration can be mild and easily corrected, moderate, or severe and life threatening.
How can I tell if my baby is dehydrated?

Any of these signs could indicate that your baby is dehydrated or is becoming dehydrated:
      -More than six hours without a wet diaper
    -Urine that looks darker and smells stronger than usual
    -A dry, parched mouth and lips
    -No tears while crying
These signs indicate that your baby may be seriously dehydrated:
     -Sunken eyes
    -Hands and feet that feel cold and look splotchy
    -Excessive sleepiness or fussiness
    -Sunken fontanels (the soft spots on your baby's head)
What should I do if my baby shows signs of dehydration?
Babies can quickly become dangerously dehydrated, so if you think your baby shows signs of serious dehydration, take him to the emergency room immediately. He may need to receive liquids through an intravenous (IV) tube until he's rehydrated.
Otherwise, give your baby's doctor a call for advice. She may want to see him to make sure he's okay. If she decides that your baby is mildly dehydrated, she may instruct you to give him more fluids. If your baby is younger than 3 months, she will probably suggest sticking with breast milk or formula but offering them more frequently than usual.
If your baby is 3 months or older, the doctor may recommend a special liquid – in addition to breast milk or formula – to replenish the water and salts (electrolytes) that his body has lost. Electrolyte liquids are available in most pharmacies. Pedialyte, Infalyte, and ReVital are some of the name-brand products. Ask your pharmacist about generic brands, too.
Your baby's doctor can give you instructions for using electrolyte liquids, based on your baby's weight and age, but a general guideline for the amount of total solution he should ingest over the course of three or four hours is 5 teaspoons (25 mL or cc) per pound of your baby's weight. So, for example, if your baby weighs 15 pounds, this would equal 75 teaspoons (375 mL or cc), or about 1 1/2 cups.
How can I prevent dehydration?
Make sure your baby is drinking plenty of fluids, especially on very hot days and when she's ill. Continue to breastfeed or bottle-feed her and, if she's 6 months or older, you can supplement with a little water – about 4 ounces per day until she's eating solid foods, at which point you can increase the amount. If your baby is younger than 6 months and you're concerned about dehydration, talk with her doctor about giving her small amounts of water.
Don't give your baby carbonated sodas, as they're terrible for her teeth and health. If your baby is drinking juice, don't increase the amount of juice she drinks in a day, but you might try diluting it with water. If she's drinking 3 or 4 ounces of juice a day, for example, you could dilute this to 6 or 8 ounces of liquid. (Pediatrics recommend limiting your baby's daily juice intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day.)
Be especially alert to symptoms of dehydration under these circumstances:
    Fever :
Offer your baby plenty of liquids whenever she has a fever. If she seems to be having trouble swallowing, ask her doctor whether you can give her a pain medication such as children's acetaminophen or (if she's 6 months or older) ibuprofen, to help with the discomfort. (Never give a child aspirin, which is associated with a rare but serious condition called Reye's syndrome.)
    Overheating :
Give your baby more fluids than usual during hot weather. Too much activity on a hot day or just sitting in a stuffy, sweltering room can lead to sweating and fluid loss.
    Diarrhea :
If your baby has an intestinal illness, especially acute gastroenteritis, she'll lose fluid through diarrhea and vomiting. Don't give her fruit juice, which may just make the situation worse, and don't give her over-the-counter diarrhea medicine unless her doctor recommends it.
    Just encourage your baby to drink extra breast milk or formula, and supplement with a little water once she's 6 months or older. If your baby is 3 months or older and you think she may be becoming dehydrated, you can give her an electrolyte drink as well.
    By the way, if your baby has dehydration caused by diarrhea, her stools will be loose. If fluid loss from vomiting or another source causes dehydration, she'll have fewer and smaller bowel movements.
    Vomiting :
Viruses and intestinal infections can lead to vomiting. If your baby is having trouble keeping liquids down, she can easily become dehydrated.
    Try giving her very small amounts of fluid (primarily breast milk or formula as well as a little water if she's 6 months or older) frequently. Electrolyte liquids are helpful for babies 3 months or older who have been vomiting. Start by giving her slow, frequent sips when her tummy settles down – about 1 teaspoon (5 mL or cc) every 10 minutes for a couple of hours. Then, if all goes well, you can increase the amount to 2 teaspoons (10 mL or cc) every five minutes.
    Refuses to drink :
A sore throat or ailment such as hand, foot, and mouth disease can cause so much pain that a baby sometimes stops drinking. Ask your doctor about giving your baby children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen (if she's 6 months or older) to ease the discomfort, and then offer her breast milk or formula and water, frequently and in small quantities.

1 comment:

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