The newborn has frequent discharge with liquid stool: could it be an intestinal infection?

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Frequent discharges - or, better, more frequent than usual, considering that a breastfed baby can discharge even after each feeding - and very liquid stools: these are the manifestations of a Diarrhea, which in most cases is caused by aintestinal infection


Gastroenteritis in children: the main culprits

The main cause of gastroenteritis in infants and children is infectious: the responsible agents are mainly viruses (rotavirus in primis, followed by norovirus), but there are cases caused by bacteria (in particular Salmonella and Campylobacter).


How to behave

If the discharges aren't too frequent anyway, that's enough administer oral rehydration solution (which should always be kept at home, taking into account that practically all children under three years experience at least one or two episodes of gastroenteritis a year) to replenish the body's salt and sugar reserves, reducing the risk of dehydration.

While on the one hand it is necessary to give the child to drink often, on the other hand you can safely respect his refusal to eat. The breastfed baby can continue to feed as often as usual and does not need to drink water.

Read also: Children and water: when should they start drinking it? How much? And what kind?

On the other hand, if the discharges are very frequent or associated with vomiting or the child is very young (less than two months) it is necessary to go to the doctor or directly to the emergency room because the risk of dehydration it is high and rehydration with a drip or nasogastric tube may be necessary.

How to prevent

Le basic hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often and always before meals, can help. In the case of infections with rotavirus  the most effective prevention strategy is vaccination. In Del Paese, vaccination against rotavirus is offered actively and free of charge, but it is not mandatory. According to the vaccination schedule, it can be done starting from the sixth week of life to be completed by the 24th (two-dose vaccine) or the 32nd (three-dose vaccine).

Sources for this article

  • ESPGHAN guidelines for the management of acute gastroenteritis in European children
  • consultancy by Leo Venturelli, family pediatrician, author of numerous publications on outpatient pediatrics and co-author of popular books 

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  • newborn 4-8 months
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  • liquid stools and frequent discharges
  • newborn diarrhea
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