I had introduced semi solids to my girl. She was a bit irritable at that time, but I didn't know what was coming. Since childhood, my daughter had been a colicky baby. So, passing gas, stomach pain and unreasonable crying were some problems I had been facing for several months. I was told that colic is something very common in babies, and that I shouldn't worry too much.
And then one day, my little girl got a stomach infection. My little one was in pain for more than a week...
Stomach infections usually occur from contaminated food or water, chemicals and toxins in food, or by coming in contact with an infected individual. I was sure my girl had not been subjected to any of this. But the symptoms were all there: vomiting, nausea, cramping stomach pain, diarrhoea, fever, and lots of crying.
My world seemed to be falling apart. Indeed, when you see you your child lying on a bed and in a helpless condition, it is a situation no parent would ever wish for their kids! It was a collapsing situation for me, a first time parent.
From my personal experience, I am sharing the mistakes and myths that led to my child's stomach infection. I think many other mothers like me may also have unknowingly committed these mistakes, and I hope my experience comes as a warning:
1. Trusting The Internet, Not The Paediatrician
Most of us moms seek information through the internet, whenever our child is in a problem. The internet and social media are good sources of great information as they have parenting advice and experiences. But there is a catch. When it comes to babies, it is always best to take the advice of a paediatrician. We must remember that while the internet is a good source of
information, it could be unreliable in tricky situations as all babies
2. Offering Water Just After Vomiting
We all know that the body loses water and essential nutrients after vomiting. This is why keeping the body hydrated is a thumb rule to prevent and cure illness. When my child was battling the infection, as soon as she puked, everyone around asked me to offer her water. I did. And she vomited again. Again and again. Ah, such a terrible situation it was!
It was my paediatrician who later advised me to wait for 15 minutes at least before giving water. My baby's system needed rest from the stress of vomiting. After I started following this rule, her system gradually started holding the liquid.
So, again, the golden rule I now follow is: If your child has an infection that induces vomiting, offer water or ORS at the interval of every 15 minutes and not less (with a spoon).
3. Resorting to Medicines or Home Remedies Without Finding The Root Cause
As a mom, I have an emergency clinic at home - one medicine for all situations right at home. So, as soon as something happens to our baby - fever, sneezing, diarrhoea, vomiting - we are ready with our medical store at home. We also have a number of home remedies available to us for a single issue. As soon as the baby starts being cranky, the Pandora's box of advice opens. I was told to do "Najar utaro" and "Apply heeng paste around her navel"!
This is the blunder many of us moms make. I agree that home remedies and medicines can be really useful and show results quickly. However, in case of stomach infection, we should never take or give medicines without prescription or consultation. This is because we are unaware of the root cause and these medicines can cause side effects or may even worsen the situation!
4. Giving Fever Medicine At Once
As a mother, I get very scared when my baby has fever. As soon as her body temperature starts rising above 99, I search for fever control medicine. Well, what I failed to understand was that fever is a part of the immune system - it's the body's way of fighting against infection.
As per my doctor, we should wait till the temperature reaches 100 to 101 before resorting to any medicine. Initially, we must start by removing extra layers from the body, increase fluid intake, and use an ice pack. Only if the fever still persists should we give medicine and that too only after consultation with the doctor. Sometimes, fever medicines may cause a far worse situation like gas or cramping!
5. Feeding Citrus Fruits on an Infected Stomach
I have always believed that citrus fruits such as oranges are very good for the stomach. While this is true, I have now found that they are not the right choice when the stomach is infected. This is because citrus fruits have acid content and this may worsen the acidity in the stomach. It may lead to severe stomach cramping and even more vomiting.
6. Giving Juice and Milk For Fluid Intake
There is no doubt that all babies need fluids. To meet their fluid requirement, we give our babies sweet juice and milk. However, this was a bad idea during her illness. My doctor told me that sugar aggravates the inflammation and irritates the bowels! Plus, sometimes, some viruses may also make the stomach lactose intolerant for some time, which means milk will cause further problems.
It is best to give the baby water, ORS or electrolytes at this time.
7. Continuing BRAT Diet For Too Long
Once the difficult phase of infection is over, we usually give the BRAT diet to our kids. (Banana, Rice, Applesauce and Toast diet). I too continued this for more than 3 days. But as soon as I started coming back to her normal routine, the infection relapsed!
The mistake I had done was waiting too long to start her regular diet. My doctor suggested that I should start the normal diet as soon as my baby shows settling signs. While the BRAT diet is easy to digest during an unsettling phase of the gut, it lacks nutrients which are required for speedy recovery.
8. Forgetting Hand Washing and Sanitizing
While we try our best to keep baby's hands clean, we sometimes think: "It's okay, she is a baby. She will not have food on her own." I too made this mistake. What I missed that she always kept licking and sucking her fingers. This can be the root cause of infection!
I didn't realize it back then that I was actually goofing up and making these mistakes. As mothers, we worry a lot for our children. Honestly, in such
a state of mind, we unknowingly do some things which can make the
situation worse, not better.
Babies are such delicate little human beings that they need all the love, patience and caution we can extend to them. Now that I know, with the help of my doctor, just where I was going wrong, I am able to give my little daughter the best possible care.
Picture Via Shutterstock