Thursday, July 27, 2017

Baby/Infant Diarrhea and How To Deal with this Disaster

I went through hell and back when I lived with an infant suffering from the disastrous combination of bad diarrhea and raw diaper rash and we survived after 4 days so I can tell you the story and provide you with insights and tips on how to deal with it. If you're going through the same issue, remember, this too shall pass!

Just 2 months ago, we had to deal with the nasty coxsackie, otherwise known as Daycare's number 1 virus hand, foot and mouth disease - Mikey had blisters all over his throat, making it painful for him to eat, and, to top it all off, he had a fever and was all around uncomfortable, making him extremely fussy. We thought we had it really bad then until we had to go through the frightening combination of diarrhea and intense diaper rash.

We recently completely switched Mikey to an all-table food diet as directed by his pediatrician. Everything has been going well until one day we woke up to our precious little one soaking in the pool of his own poo.... All over our bed (yes, we co-sleep and one of the dangers of having this arrangement is potentially swimming in your own child's stool - we found out the hard and stinky way). Mikey's doctor was not convinced that it's the table food switch that caused it because we've been doing it for over a month now. Doctor suspects the major teething that he's currently going through.

So, I immediately changed Mikey and he started wailing. The last time I heard him cry like that was when he was a few days old and my husband and I were still super new to the whole parenting thing. I am not kidding. He cried so loud, I feared the neighbor would call Child Care Services.

The pain in the ass... In more ways than one.

I didn't immediately see a rash. His butt looked so immaculate I thought he was only being fussy because internally his tummy might be hurting him. While he physically did not have a rash, the thing about diarrhea is that it's acidic and once it gets contact with the anus, it burns.

After his first major watery stool. He did it again, after 15 minutes. This time, the amount was just a squirt of stool. So I changed him. And he did it again after an hour. Changed him again only for him to poop... Again. I must have changed him 20 times that day. The saddest part is that every time the poop would get in contact with his butt, he would scream bloody murder because it burns. He normally won't be bothered by a soiled diaper so I knew something was up.

I refused to get him checked by the doctor because he was still active without fever sans diarrhea, but had to bring him in the following day because his crying was over the top. Being newbie parents, my husband and I didn't want to gamble.

"There's really nothing else you can do at this point than to wait it out and make him as comfortable as you possibly can" was the only solution our doctor gave us.

We knew that was the case. It just gives us peace when validated by a credible person.

Day 3 and Mikey was still battling diarrhea and at this point, he developed a horrible, horrible diaper rash. So, we talked to the bearers of wisdom, also known as people who had more babies than us and did the following:

1. Nakedness: Having an un-potty trained 10-month old with diarrhea running around the house sounds like a disaster (it is, trust us!) but, air keeps the moisture out of the rash. Mikey was waaaay comfortable after we did this. He didn't scream as he made a doody and my husband and I would take that over seeing him cry his little heart out.... Even if it meant us trailing him along all the time to immediately clean up his mess! It's like Naked and Afraid. He's naked and we are... Afraid.

Note: we tried to sleep with him naked thinking that he wouldn't go when in deep slumber. Extra tip: Don't do this. Put a diaper on when sleeping.

2. Witch Hazel + Facial Tissues: We immediately stopped using baby wipes because it contains chemicals that would sting raw rashes once it gets contact with it. Instead, my Father-in-law advised us to use Witch Hazel spray when cleaning Mikey and gently pat it with facial tissues after. We used Dickinson's Astringent in spray format - it temporarily relieves skin of minor irritations/cuts.

3. Baby Powder (with cornstarch) + Desitin Maximum Strength: Once Mikey's butt is fresh and clean, we would generously wipe Desitin Maximum Strength on it. We've always trusted Desitin ever since he had his first diaper rash because it cleared things up immediately. After putting Desitin, we topped it up with an equally generous amount of Baby Powder (with cornstarch) to seal it and keep the moisture out. If you're a makeup enthusiast, the same theory applies as to why you should put powder on top of your face after your liquid foundation.

4. As much milk/formula + PROBIOTICS as he would take: The sibling of diarrhea is dehydration, especially for tiny babies so we fed Mikey with more liquid than usual with 2 bottles that contain a sachet of probiotics each. Probiotics are essential because they are live bacteria and yeast that are great for the digestive system. It is been known to speed up recovery from diarrhea.

5. Gerber Soy Milk: My motherly instinct told me something's up with his body digesting his regular formula. It didn't seem theoretically correct since he has been on it for 9 months - I mean, he could not have just woken up one day with his body saying, "Hey, I hate milk-based formula now!" but, it seemed like after every bottle, he would immediately (less than 5 minutes!) poop. Something. did. not. smell. right. So, I called his doctor (at this point, we've been talking every day) and she told me to try feeding him soy-based formula. We immediately saw a difference. His stool was much firmer after and it just started getting better. The following day, I called the doctor again to report the findings and was keen on having Mikey tested for any allergies or intolerance. She did tell me that sometimes when a baby has a virus, its body will reject certain food even if it has been digesting it pretty well in the past. She believes once the virus is gone, he should be able to go back to his regular formula. Doctor told us to remain giving him Soy formula for a week then switch back to his regular one after to see if his body's still rejecting it.

Day 5 and he is finally better! His butt is still red but it does not hurt anymore. We're so grateful to have our happy, healthy baby back - also very thankful because we will be flying with him for the first time next week (it would have been horrible timing if it happened then!)

I hope these tips will help you as much as they did for us! Good luck! It will soon be over and, if you made your baby run around the house in the buff, letting him poop all over the place - you will come out of it with interesting photos/stories/videos to share once he is big enough to appreciate it!
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