8 Causes of Breast Milk Diarrhea and Solutions

Causes of Breast Milk Diarrhea and Solutions

Should You Stop Breastfeeding When the Child Is Suffering From Breast Milk Diarrhea?

Breast milk should be the only source of food for babies until they are 6 months old. It is nutritious and it helps in rapid growth. Every health expert says that breast milk keeps the baby. What if the child suffers from diarrhea?

Every breastfed child defecates 6 or more times a day. It continues until the child is 2 months old. If the defecating frequency suddenly increases and the stool looks loosened, it can be diarrhea. Your baby is certainly experiencing this health issue if he passes 3 or more loose stools. It is called breast milk diarrhea. This post is going to provide some important details on this health issue.

What Is Breast Milk Diarrhea?

This health issue is quite rare, but it can haunt some newborn children. Breastfeeding is quite beneficial for the child’s health. However, you cannot rule out the possibility of the disease.

Breast milk diarrhea has quite similar characteristics to normal diarrhea. The baby will have foamy and watery stools. You will experience a sour smell when you check the diapers. Some babies pass green stools with mucus and undigested milk.  

Does Breast Milk Diarrhea Cause Other Health Issues In Babies?

Your baby will not suffer from fever if he has diarrhea. There will be no stomach pain and therefore the child might not cry. The baby might look a bit dull due to the loss of water. He may also consume less milk due to the disease.

You should take the child to a pediatric doctor if diarrhea lasts more than a day. Further ignorance can have severe consequences! Some babies have suffered from malnutrition, growth arrest, and other health issues. Quick treatment can reduce the risks of other health problems and your baby will be fine in a few days.

What Causes Breast Milk Diarrhea?

The following things can cause breast milk diarrhea in babies:

1. Higher prostaglandin content

If breast milk contains high prostaglandin content, it increases the movement of smooth muscles in the child’s small intestine. The secretion of water and electrolytes increases in such a situation. Consequently, the baby passes loose stools. Many newborn babies experience breast milk diarrhea due to this reason!

2. The lack of lactase

The lack of lactase enzyme can also cause diarrhea in newborn babies. This enzyme is responsible for digesting milk. Babies, who are lactose intolerant, find it quite daunting to digest milk.

The doctors use the lead acetate formula to measure the amount of lactose in the stool. The stool lactose quantity is measured for primary screening. If the child recovers from diarrhea after consuming a lactose-free diet, the lactose intolerance can be confirmed.

3. Virus attack

Some breastfed babies experience diarrhea because of viral infection. The baby’s intestine can get infected by a virus and this condition is known as viral gastroenteritis.

4. Bacteria

Bacteria, including Salmonella, can cause breast milk diarrhea in babies. You will spot streaks of blood in the stool if diarrhea is caused by bacteria.

5. Medication

Your baby may suffer from breast milk diarrhea if he is on medication. Medicines, such as antibiotics are infamous for causing poor digestion and loose stools.

6. Medical conditions

Some babies experience loose motions due to certain medical conditions. Inflammation of the bowels is considered mainly responsible for diarrhea.

7. Travel

You should avoid travelling with small babies. Just like adults, kids and newborn babies can develop diarrhea. A newborn baby’s chances of suffering from diarrhea increase due to travel.

8. Teething

Babies like to chew everything they find around when they are getting their first teeth. Germs and bacteria can easily accumulate on the baby’s toys. Those germs can cause loose motions. Therefore, parents should be extra careful when it’s teething time!


Continue feeding milk to the child, even when he is suffering from breast milk diarrhea! The baby might take a little time to adapt to the prostaglandins. He will soon start absorbing lactose and get healthier like other children of his age.

Avoid feeding complimentary food as long as possible because the newborn child is not ready to digest it. Breast milk is easy to digest and most newborn babies’ lactose mature gradually to digest milk. Patiently help your child when breastfeeding is a new experience for him. He might take some time to consume milk in the beginning. Eventually, his sucking speed will increase.

What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Milk Diarrhea?

The following symptoms indicate the child is suffering from breast milk diarrhea:

Several bowel movements in a day

A breastfed child does not pass stools 3-7 times when he is healthy. Diarrhea causes the child to defecate frequently. He may pass loose stools with a sour smell and foam up to 7 times a day. It is a symptom of breast milk diarrhea.

The diaper will be filled with foamy and greenish stool. That thin green stool will smell quite bad. Contact the doctor if it continues for two days. Your child is losing essential nutrients and he requires immediate treatment to cure diarrhea and absorb essential nutrients.

Weight loss

Some babies reduce the consumption of milk. They eat less and defecate more often. They do not look as active as they are when healthy. It eventually affects the baby’s growth. A healthy baby should gain around 300 grams of weight in ten days. It does not happen when the child is suffering from diarrhea.

The baby may start losing weight if diarrhea lasts too long. Your child may also experience malnutrition and other health problems due to the disease. Therefore, quick treatment is necessary to improve a child’s health.


Breast milk contains 70-80% water. The child starts losing water when suffering from breast milk diarrhea. It can cause dehydration and associated health problems. Some mothers feed water to the child to prevent dehydration. That won’t be necessary because breast milk is enough to hydrate the child properly.

Undigested milk in stool

Check the baby’s diapers and look for undigested milk in the stool. Your baby is suffering from breast milk diarrhea if you can spot unprocessed milk.

What Should You Do When The Child Is Suffering From Breast Milk Diarrhea?

You should try the following solutions to treat breast milk diarrhea:

Continue breastfeeding

You should not stop breastfeeding when you observe the symptoms of mild diarrhea. Babies take time to adapt to a new diet. The child will gradually start digesting prostaglandins in milk. The lactase will mature gradually and the child will digest food he gets from the mother. Therefore, mothers should not stop breastfeeding when the baby is experiencing milk diarrhea.

Feed soy milk

You can feed 100ml soy milk with 5g glucose in it to treat diarrhea. Do not continue soy milk-glucose feeding for a long time. You should also gradually add fish protein to the child’s diet for a speedy recovery. Prepare 150-180 ml rice soup with 5g of fish protein. Feed it three times a day to keep the baby healthy.

Take the baby to the hospital

You should not continue home-based treatment if the child is passing loose stools more than 7 times. It’s the time when you should take your baby to the hospital. The doctor will provide the best treatment to treat your baby as soon as possible.

Follow the treatment doctors have planned for your child. The doctor will ask you to continue breastfeeding the child. Do not follow the ill-advice shared by other people because it can be dangerous to your child’s health. Complimentary food is not necessary until the child is 6 months old. So, do as the doctor suggests to make your child healthier as soon as possible.

How to Prevent Breast Milk Diarrhea?

You can try the following things to prevent breast milk diarrhea:

The mother should follow a healthy diet plan

You should eat light when you first observe the symptoms of diarrhea. Consume healthy soups, greasy foods, and maintain hygiene. You can also add light fried veggies, millet porridge, and some fruits to your diet. These diet changes will improve milk quality and prevent breast milk diarrhea in your baby.

Feed clear millet soup

You can feed clear millet soup to the child one time a day. It helps in relieving the symptoms of diarrhea. The child receives nourishment he needs to improve the metabolic process.

Switch the breast after 10 minutes when breastfeeding the child

The baby should not suck the same breast for more than 10 minutes. Turn the child to the other side. Thus, your baby won’t consume fat from an empty breast. If the fat increases in breast milk, it can cause lipodyspepsia. Stay awake when you are breastfeeding the child. Follow the right breastfeeding technique to keep your baby fit and healthy.


Breast milk diarrhea can become a concerning health issue if you ignore the symptoms for a long time. Provide the child with the necessary diet and treatment to improve his health. Your baby won’t lose weight and he will stay healthy if you follow the tips shared in this post.

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