One would assume that with all the milk babies drink that they don't need any more fluids. But because babies have relatively small fluid reserves and high metabolic rates, they can easily lose electrolytes and water, which are crucial for their little bodies to function. And if your baby is having a bad bout of diarrhea, she'll also be susceptible to becoming dehydrated more quickly than usual.
Dehydration is reversible, but it's important to take action as soon as possible. If a baby's fluids aren't replenished over a long period of time then it even be fatal. Here are some important signs to watch for to know if your baby is dehydrated.
- Becoming dehydrated to moderately dehydrated: Symptoms include: more than six hours without a wet diaper, lethargy, dark-colored urine, a dry mouth, and no tears while crying.
- Serious dehydration: Symptoms include: Excessive sleepiness, sunken eyes, and cold hands and feet.
To make sure your baby isn't at risk for dehydration, it's important to give him plenty of fluids when he's overheating and experiencing a fever or diarrhea, since all of these conditions will drastically increase his rate of dehydration. Try to get your baby to drink more breast milk or formula, and if he is four months or older, you can give him some water from a bottle. Electrolyte liquids can also be given (two teaspoons every five minutes) if your baby is vomiting.