According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), diarrhea in babies can lead to dehydration if prolonged and left untreated. Diarrhea is defined as a loose and watery stool that is sometimes accompanied with blood or mucous. Breastfed babies will have a loose stool, but this is not considered diarrhea unless paired with more serious symptoms such as tearless crying, decreased wet diapers or a sunken fontanel, the "soft spot," as per Baby Care Advice. Foods that cause diarrhea in babies will usually produce diarrhea within six hours of the offending food, according to Baby Care Advice.
Breastfed babies are dependent upon the wholesome nutrition gained from their mother’s milk. However, whatever mom eats may cause diarrhea in her baby. According to Kellymom, there is no hard and fast rule about what to avoid while breastfeeding; however, some foods in mom’s diet are sure to cause gas or diarrhea in an infant. Listed diarrhea-provoking foods on Kellymom include soy products, wheat, peanuts and dairy. If mom eats a big bowl of ice cream and notes diarrhea in her breastfed baby, it is a good idea to stop the offending food for at least two to three weeks to determine if it is the irritant, per Kellymom.
Formulas and Milk
Lactose-based and cow’s-milk-based formulas can cause diarrhea in infants, according to the AAFP. The sugars in lactose formulas can worsen diarrhea whereas the proteins in cow’s milk formulas are difficult for babies to digest. Home Made Baby Food Recipes encourages avoiding any cow’s milk formulas or dairy in a baby less than 1 year old, as the proteins will cause gas and discomfort.
Fruits and Juices
Babies do not have the capability to digest the simple sugars in fruits yet, and these sugars can cause diarrhea and discomfort, according to Baby Care Advice. Infants under 4 months old will most likely develop diarrhea when exposed to any fruits or fruit juices due to their immature gastrointestinal systems. Some frequent choices include apple, cherry and pear juices that should be avoided, according to Baby Care Advice. Peas should also be avoided due to their natural high sugar content and propensity to worsen diarrhea.