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Infant Dehydration:
Enemy Number One

Infant dehydration is the number one killer of children under 5, causing more than 5 million deaths worldwide.

Your baby's tiny body has much smaller reserves of fluid than you do, making him that more prone to becoming dehydrated.

Keeping him well-hydrated and learning the infant dehydration symptoms need to be at the top of your "To Be Learned" list.

This article will tell you what to look for and how to fight back.

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Does She Have It?
The Signs of Baby Dehydration

Here is a list describing the symptoms of infant dehydration. These are the beginning symptoms, the ones that tell you that the doctor should be notified and in-home treatment started.

    infant dehydration

  • Baby hasn't had a wet diaper in 8 hours (using a diaper tracker is a great help). This is a sign that the kidneys are conserving fluids.
  • A sunken soft-spot (easily felt in first 6 months).
  • Has experienced prolonged, projectile vomiting.
  • Has been vomiting more than 12 hours or has persistant vomiting with diarrhea.
  • Has a dry mouth or cries without tears. (Newborns don't have tears yet)
  • Has blood in the vomit or stool.
  • Is becoming more ill over time.

The Serious Warning Signs

If your child shows any of these signs that dehdyration has gotten very severe, call 911 for an ambulance to take him to the Emergency Room.

He needs immediate care, and will need to receive intravenous liquids as soon as possible.

  • Cool and/or mottled skin (blotchy red patches)
  • A rapid, thready pulse (very fine, you can barely find it)
  • Rapid breathing, like he's running when just lying there
  • Baby's feeble cry is more of a whine than a strong wail, moaning and groaning.
  • Marked listlessness, no intrest in play or feeding, little response to being held, and markedly reduced movements of arms and legs.
  • Sunken eyes
  • Seems to have persistent abdominal pain

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Treating Infant Dehydration

If your baby doesn't show signs of the beginning stages of dehydration above, you can prevent baby dehydration (say, on a hot summer day) by offering more breast or bottle feedings and keeping him well-shaded and protected from the sun.

The best solution for baby dehydration is using Oral Rehydration Solutions (ORS) like Pedialyte . Plain 'ole water or other clear liquids have been shown not to be as effective in reversing baby dehydration as these electrolyte solutions.

You can give these ORS liquids by bottle, spoon, or even by dropper in frequent small doses. Obviously, if vomiting is a problem, follow these hydration instructions for vomiting.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

I recommend having a stash of Pedialyte on hand before you spot any infant dehydration symptoms.

This way you can start treatment right away, without having to take a trip to the store.

If you breastfeed, keep nursing while you offer an ounce or two of Pedialyte.

If you bottle feed, use the Pedialyte in place of formula for a while. Do not offer carbonated drinks like 7-Up or Sprite.

How much fluid should a dehydrated infant have?

The American Academy of Pediatrics has provided the following chart to share just how much fluid your dehydrated baby needs. These are the minimum amounts, so anything over these numbers are a giant cherry on top.

Discovering your baby's current weight is simple, and important. First weigh yourself holding your baby. Then weigh just yourself (yes, you have to look). Subtract the two to get your infant's current weight.

Your Infant's
Weight

Minimum
Daily Fluid

Pedialyte Requirements per 24 hours for Mild Cases of Diarrhea

6 to 7 lbs.
10 oz.
16 oz.
11 lbs.
15 oz.
23 oz.
22 lbs.
25 oz.
40 oz.
26 lbs.
28 oz.
44 oz.
33 lbs.
32 oz.
51 oz.
40 lbs.
38 oz.
61 oz.

Infant dehydration is just a symptom.

Although infant dehydration is an extremely serious things for infants, unless you've been out in the hot sun all day, it's usually a larger symptom of something else going on.

If your baby has been vomiting or showing signs of diarrhea, you need to address those issues as well as the dehydration in order to get him happy and normal again as soon as possible.

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