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Loose motions or diarrhoea is the way in which the toxins and bacteria are flushed out from the digestive system. A baby’s bowel movements will appear watery and foul-smelling if he has diarrhoea. The frequent bowel movements will irritate the baby, and due to restlessness, he may even cry. Infants who are teething can also have loose motions, but a viral or bacterial infection is the main cause of diarrhoea.
Video: 5 Home Remedies for Diarrhoea (Loose Motions) in Babies
Causes for Loose Motion in Babies
Diarrhoea in infants and young children can be caused due to various reasons, and it is important to determine the cause for the same before beginning with the treatment:
- Kids below two years of age are often plagued by the rotavirus which causes diarrhoea.
- An allergy to milk, eggs,or peanuts can trigger loose motions, so it is best to figure out if your child is allergic to any of these.
- Any kind of antibiotics can kill good bacteria in the stomach, and this could lead to loose motions.
- If their surroundings are unclean, when babies crawl or put toys or other things in their mouths, it can lead to loose motions.
Signs of Diarrhoea in Babies
When stricken by diarrhoea, the body loses a lot of water and minerals known as electrolytes, leading to dehydration. Babies get dehydrated too quickly, so it’s important to notice the signs and take action at the earliest. Dehydration in babies can happen in a day or two so it can prove to be dangerous, especially if your baby is a newborn. The signs you need to look out for include fewer wet diapers, crying without any tears, tiredness or fatigue, fussiness, a dry mouth, skin that isn’t very elastic, etc. More serious symptoms include a high fever, blood in the stools, vomiting, and tummy aches.
16 Best Home Remedies for Your Baby’s Loose Motions
Since a baby’s immune system is not as strong as that of adults, he will be more prone to stomach conditions like diarrhoea or loose motions. It is best to try home remedies instead of administering OTC medicines. Fortunately, there are many effective natural remedies for treating diarrhoea in babies. Having said that, you should always consult a doctor if the condition persists for more than 48 hours, to avoid any serious consequences.
1. Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS)
This is an age-old home remedy for treating loose motions. A packet of ORS can be either procured from the chemist, or you can prepare this solution at home. Boil one litre of filtered water and allow it to cool. Add six teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt to the water and mix it till it dissolves completely. Give the ORS to the baby at regular intervals to keep dehydration at bay and to make up for the loss of salts and fluids. If you are unable to make the solution at home, purchase a packet from a chemist. Rice water is also a great way of replenishing lost fluids and salts.
Because of loose motions, babies lose a lot of potassium, and it is necessary to replenish it. Bananas contain potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin A and B6. Loose motions can really drain your baby of his energy, so this would help replenish his strength. Fortunately, most babies love the taste of bananas. It is available all year round and makes it to the top of the list of essential foods in most households.
Ginger is good for the digestive system and is an effective treatment for diarrhoea. Mix together a teaspoon of grated ginger, some cinnamon powder, a bit of cumin powder, and a teaspoon of honey. Give this mixture to your baby thrice a day. You can also add nutmeg before giving it to your child.
4. Puffed Rice
Soak a bowl of puffed rice in a glass of water for about 15-20 minutes. Strain the rice and give the water to your baby twice a day to provide quick relief from loose motions. Unpolished white rice contains a high level of starch and is easy to digest. It can be boiled in water, strained, and fed to your baby to provide relief from diarrhoea. This is an effective home remedy for loose motions for newborn babies, especially in India, where puffed rice is commonly found.
Apples are full of pectin which helps in firming up your child’s bowel movement. Wash an apple, boil it in water, and make a puree so that it will be soft and easily digestible. This will not only keep loose motions at bay but will provide your baby with much-needed energy.
6. Red Lentil Soup
Your baby will refuse to eat anything when he is suffering from diarrhoea. However, he needs to maintain his energy levels, and this is where red lentils can help. This superfood is packed with proteins and energy, which makes it healthy and easily digestible. Take a cup of lentils and boil them in water. Allow the lentils to cool. In some time, the lentils will settle down. Separate the water from them and give it to your baby. Add a pinch of salt to enhance its taste.
Homemade buttermilk is effective when it comes to fighting germs and bacteria. It soothes the digestive system quickly and is tasty too. Add salt and black pepper to it and let your baby drink it. It is recommended for kids who are above 8 months old.
8. Coconut Water
Apart from the massive health benefits it imparts, coconut water is a wonderful liquid to aid your child’s recovery from a bout of diarrhoea. Not only does it taste good but it also helps the body regain lost fluids. It is recommended to give coconut water to your child at least 2-3 times in a day.
Fresh homemade curd and yoghurt are useful in restoring the healthy bacteria in a baby’s digestive system. It is considered to be the most gut-friendly food when your child has diarrhoea. Homemade lassi and buttermilk (without sugar) also contain probiotics, so don’t think twice before giving it to your baby.
10. Carrot Juice
Your baby will need to replenish his lost energy when he has loose motions. Carrots are a great source of energy during such times. Carrot juice or puree can be served a couple of times during the day. If your baby is above one year of age, carrot juice should suit him just fine.
11. Starch-Rich Products
If you have begun a semi-solid/solid diet for your tiny tot, you can opt for starchy foods like potato and rice cereal. Potato has starch in abundance which helps babies recover from loose motions quickly. Boil a potato, mash it till it is smooth and fine, and add a pinch of salt to it. Roasted cumin seeds in powdered form can also be added to prevent gas formation. This potato mash can be fed once a day.
Lemon is found in most households and is a great home remedy for curing loose motions in kids. It is full of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which makes it a reliable and easily-available remedy. A spoonful of lemon juice 4 to 5 times a day can relieve your baby of diarrhoea and other stomach-related problems. Your baby’s upset stomach will be relieved, and the pH balance in his body will be restored too.
Mint leaves, also known as pudina, contain a lot of anti-bacterial properties. They help in regulating digestion and hence, are highly recommended for curing loose motions in kids as well as adults. A bunch of mint leaves will give you a spoonful of mint juice. Add a teaspoon of honey and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into this mixture too. Stir the mixture properly before giving it to your baby. You can give this juice to your baby 2-3 times a day. Do not use this for infants below 2 years of age.
This powerful home remedy is known to cure recurring bouts of loose motions in infants. It is known as jaiphal in India. You can make a paste by mixing together nutmeg powder and water, and give it to your child.
15. Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot is basically another form of powdered starch and is a good supplement to tackle loose motions in children. Due to its allergen-free properties, it is helpful in soothing your little one’s tummy. It also works wonders to rehydrate the body. Make a runny porridge by adding arrowroot powder to water or curd, and feed it to your baby.
16. Breast Milk
If you’re breastfeeding your baby, don’t pause it – breast milk is a sure-fire home remedy for your little one’s diarrhoea. Breast milk helps speed up your baby’s recovery because of its high antibody content. It can also prevent the need for hospitalisation of your baby. If your baby is both breastfed and formula-fed, it would be better to increase the amount of breast milk he gets to consume, as formula milk can be slightly more difficult for your little one to digest.
In case your baby is refusing to eat anything because of diarrhoea, it is best not to force-feed him. Try feeding him after long gaps so that he will be hungry and won’t say no to food. Babies who are less than a year old should be taken to the doctor before trying home remedies. What you can do is enhance fluids in your baby’s diet. If there are other symptoms noticed along with loose motions and the above-mentioned home remedies do not prove to be effective, speak to a paediatrician immediately.