Although the average infant with diarrhea can drink enough to stay hydrated, if she has large amounts of very watery diarrhea it is possible for her to quickly get dehydrated, especially if she is also vomiting. Being able to recognize dehydration is important and can help to make sure your baby gets the medical attention she needs. Early treatment can also help you avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor or emergency room.
One of the first signs of dehydration to watch for is whether or not your child is still urinating. If she is having a soaking-wet diaper every six to eight hours, then she likely isn't dehydrated. If she is still having wet diapers, but they are not as wet as they usually are, then she is mildly dehydrated and might get worse without treatment.
The next sign that an infant is dehydrated is a dry and sticky mouth. It is a good sign if your infant's lips and tongue still seem moist or if you can see saliva in her mouth. Late signs of dehydration, which can indicate a medical emergency, can include not making tears, sunken eyes, a sunken fontanel or soft spot, and a lot of weight loss. At this point, a dehydrated infant might also be lethargic and hard to wake up and may have doughy skin. If you think your infant is dehydrated or if you can't tell, be sure to seek immediate medical attention.