Debate continues as to whether teething causes diarrhea or not. What’s clear is, many parents report loose stools while their baby’s teeth are erupting. This could be a) coincidental, due to the fact that the level of immunity they received from being in the mother’s womb drops off and the child’s immune system must take over, at around the same time as teething starts, and b) when teething begins, all manner of things are put into the mouth, germs and all. Whatever the reason, diarrhea is a pain in the butt.
Another theory about diarrhea during teething is that since baby is drooling so much, a lot more saliva is passing through the system, diluting nutrients and adding more acidic content to the mix. It is normal that stools contain enzymes that help digest food. During teething, stools pass through the intestines more quickly thanks to the copious saliva and take with them more acidic matter. The enzymes affect the soft skin of baby’s bottom, resulting in a rash that can be painful, or at the least irritating.
How to handle diaper rash from diarrhea
Though it may seem like stating the obvious, frequent diaper changes are essential, with or without soiling. Urine can sting the affected area, and can be generally uncomfortable anyway. Allowing the area to air dry can also be helpful and if at all possible, you can let your child wander around without a diaper. This may be ill advised if the diarrhea is particularly frequent, of course.
Rinse your baby’s bottom with clean water and a washcloth. Using baby wipes will only irritate the area so avoid those except when necessary, such as when away from home.
Petroleum jelly can be of help, particularly when trying to keep diaper rash at bay. It provides a barrier from the acid and enzymes that would degenerate the sensitive skin.
Changes to diet
While your baby is afflicted with diarrhea, you can try introducing various foods that are known to alleviate the symptoms or at least not exacerbate them. Carrots, bananas, potatoes and applesauce are all helpful, and rice cereal is also recommended. Avoid fruit juices, plums, prunes, apricots, peas, peaches and pears. Blueberries and bilberries are also wonderful for helping with diarrhea.
You might also like to consider the homeopathic remedy of chamomile for diarrhea in teething. Seek your doctor’s advice before using any homeopathic ingredients, and avoid chamomile if your child has suffered from hay fever. Chamomile has calming properties as well and if your baby is cranky, irritable or clingy, it can be of use and can be offered in tea form in baby’s bottle.
When trying to determine whether your baby is suffering teething related diarrhea or a virus, examine all possibilities and even take her along to the doctor for a checkup. You don’t want to miss signs of a virus that could require a different course of treatment. Better to be safe than sorry, as the saying goes.
Also, if your baby passes more than six to eight watery stools in a single day, or begins vomiting in addition to the diarrhea, it’s time to call the doctor promptly.