What do I do if my baby ate dirt or sand?

You have probably noticed that any object your baby grabs, goes directly into his mouth. This is a completely normal part of a baby’s development, as in this way they explore and learn about different objects. Also, your baby is now probably highly mobile and has access to many parts of the house. Therefore, it is very important to verify that no harmful objects are at your little one’s reach.

Now, despite having your home baby-proofed, when your little one is outside in contact with dirt or sand, he’ll probably have a handful of it in his mouth before you can stop him. Although you may try to clean as much as possible from his hands and mouth, the damage is already done and it’s in his stomach. This leads to the following questions: Will it hurt my baby? And, what can I do?

Eating dirt or sand can be harmless, in fact it can help strengthen your baby’s immune system. Our immune systems are strengthened through experience. Therefore, we should not be obsessed with having our home completely germ-free. Exposures to these bacteria prevent future problems like allergies or asthma. Now, this doesn’t mean that your baby can eat dirt whenever he wants, you need to take some precautions when taking him outside. If you have pets or if animals usually walk through the area in which you are, it’s important to verify that there are no feces where your child plays. Similarly, fertilized soil may have bacteria that can cause digestive discomfort. If your baby is on the beach, make sure no seaweed or small shells are around him; if you go to a public sandbox, previously verify that the sand is free of debris, stones, and cigarette butts.

If your baby eats a little dirt, don’t worry too much about it. His immune system will probably benefit from it, and there’s no need to contact your doctor. If your baby gets a stomach ache, his body will most likely take care and dispose of the bacteria. But if your baby is vomiting or has prolonged diarrhea, it’s a good idea to contact your pediatrician.

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