see also Gastroenteritis
Potentially serious in very young babies since inflammation of stomach and small intestine causes Diarrhoea and Vomiting, and therefore dehydration; stools are green and watery, baby develops slight Fever, tends to feed poorly, and becomes miserable and tetchy. Signs of dehydration are a dry mouth, sunken eyes and fontanelle (spot on top of head where cranial bones meet), and irritability. Condition is less common among breast-fed babies who are, to some extent, protected against bacteria and viruses by antibodies in mother's milk; bottle-fed babies not only miss out on this protection but are also exposed to germs harboured by bottles, teats, and other feeding utensils.
If remedies below do not produce some improvement within 12 hours, or if signs of dehydration develop, call your medical doctor.
Specific remedies to be given every 1-2 hours (depending on severity) for up to 10 doses
- Milk makes symptoms worse, stools green and watery, baby limp and passive, upper lip looks very pale Aethusa 30c
- Baby cold, weak, restless, and obviously miserable Arsenicum 30c
- Symptoms come on in cold wet weather, or after catching a chill, stools greenish-yellow and slimy Dulcamara 30c
- Colicky stomach pain, with legs drawn up, gentle pressure seems to relieve pain Colocynth 30c
- Copious vomiting and diarrhoea Nux 30c
- Baby chilly, apathetic, and makes a fuss if touched, stools yellow and frothy, a lot of wind China 30c
- Baby very thirst for cold water, which is vomited up as soon as it becomes warm in stomach Phosphorus 30c
- Diarrhoea, with undigested food in stools, baby seems better after passing stools but shows no obvious pain on doing so Phosphoric ac. 30c
Self-help: If you are bottle-feeding, make sure all utensils are sterilized each time you use them; avoid touching teats once they have been sterilized, and never put them in your mouth. Stop feeding for 24 hours, and give water with a little glucose and salt in it (I teaspoon glucose and ½ teaspoon salt to 0.5 litre [1 pint] boiled cooled water) instead; on the second day give quarter-strength feed, the next day half-strength, and the next day three-quarters-strength; on the fifth day, go back to normal strength, but feed a little and often rather than a lot all at once.
If you are breast-feeding, give extra spoonfuls of boiled cooled water (made up as above) between feeds.
These measures should produce some improvement within 24 hours, but if they don't, call your medical doctor. Special dairy-free Acidophilus supplements are available for infants. Do not use adult ones.