What Causes a Baby to Have Soft Stools?


Quick Answer

According to Baby Care Advice, acute diarrhea is normally caused by food poisoning, infectious illnesses or stress. Chronic diarrhea is caused by unrecognized sensitivities, chronic infective illness, a medical condition, or past gastrointestinal surgery.

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Full Answer

Babies can experience two types of diarrhea, according to Baby Care Advice: acute and chronic. Acute is the most common form of diarrhea, and it frequently stops without the need for medical intervention. Chronic diarrhea occurs much less often than acute, because often, what seems like chronic diarrhea, is simply just the normal bowel movements of a healthy infant.

Symptoms of a baby with an infectious illness are fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and lack of appetite. Fever is present in most babies, although it may not happen in babies younger than 1 month. It can also be absent in toddlers and children with recurrent or longstanding infections, notes Baby Care Advice.

Most food and milk allergies have similar symptoms to infections; however there is no fever involved. Stress is also a leading cause for diarrhea. Antibiotics, laxatives, antacids, prokinetics, caffeine, or alcohol (ethanol) may also cause diarrhea. While these may also cause lack of appetite, nausea, abdominal bloating due to excessive gas, vomiting and constipation, states Baby Care Advice.

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