Foods for Babies and Toddlers With Diarrhoea
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The bodily functions in children develop as they grow. Babies and toddlers have a sensitive digestive system, and therefore, they have more chances of suffering from diarrhoea. They may not want to eat or drink anything during this time, but, as a parent, you need to keep your kid hydrated for their good health. There are certain foods to give toddlers with diarrhoea to ensure they recover soon and stay hydrated during this difficult time. You may wonder what foods these are. This article covers the foods you should and shouldn’t feed your child when he has loose motions. Let’s get started then.
Foods You Should Give When Your Infant/Toddler Has Diarrhoea
The diet for a child with diarrhoea usually includes food items that are not only easy to digest but sometimes, also help resolve the problem.
1. Breast Milk (0 Months+)
If your breastfeeding baby soils his diapers often, just stick to breast milk. Breast milk will keep him hydrated and also tackle his bowels.
2. Buttermilk (7 Months+)
Probiotics are very effective in battling diarrhoea. Give foods like curd, buttermilk or lassi yoghurt to your little one.
3. Rice Gruel (6 Months+)
Rice water can help your baby maintain the fluid levels in his body. It also helps to decrease the frequency of stools.
Many mothers and people from the earlier generations swear by the power of ginger in reducing the symptoms of diarrhoea. Usually, this is meant for kids that are slightly older and not young babies. Giving them ginger mixed with some rock salt and jaggery works on providing some relief from diarrhoea and indigestion. You may also try a decocotion or pramathya of carom seeds (ajwain), nagara or ginger (zingiber officinale), pippali (Piper longum), harad (Terminalia chebula), Vacha (Acorus calamus), which is very effective for treating diarrhoea.
Also known as jaiphal in various parts of the country, this is yet another age-old remedy used in various Ayurvedic preparations till date. It is usually prepared by rubbing a small portion of the spice on a stone grinder to get some powder. This powder is then mixed with some water and given to babies. This remedy is an effective one to provide relief or treat diarrhoea in children over 6 months and under 10 years of age.
6. Lemon Water ( 8 Months+)
There seems to be no ailment that lemon can’t cure. Lemon replenishes the body with the lost fluids. Mix lemon juice with warm water and add some salt to make tasty and healthy lemon water.
7. Cumin Powder
This is a great remedy for improving digestion and stimulating hunger in babies older than 6 months. It can also provide relief from mild gastric pain and indigestion, but may not help control diarrhoea. Roast some cumin powder and fennel seeds in a pan. Boil the roasted spices in some water and let it cool. Feed the water to your child 2 to 3 times a day in small portions depending on your his age.
8. Vegetable Soup (8 Months+)
Babies’ bodies can easily absorb the nutrients from a clear veggie soup. Avoid using spices like pepper and gassy veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, sprouts and spinach during loose motions. You may add a pinch of roasted hing, and jeera powder to improve digestion.
9. Chicken Soup (9 Months+)
If you wish to try a non-veg soup, clear chicken soup is a great option. It digests easily and is nutritious for children with diarrhoea.
10. Tender Coconut Water (8 Months+)
Dehydration can take a toll on your little one. Coconut water has a lot of natural salts and minerals, along with natural glucose. And the best part is that coconut water works for breastfeeding babies, too!
11. Sabudana (7 Months+)
Khichdi or porridge made from sabudana is quite beneficial for kids during a bout of diarrhoea. Soak the sabudana, cook it, and strain the water. You can add salt or hing for flavour.
12. Baby Bananas (6 Months+)
Bananas help to harden your baby’s stools, thus relieving diarrhoea. Steam and cut the banana into small pieces before offering.
13. Boiled Potatoes (8 Months+)
Food items that have starch can provide nutrition to your baby. Mashed potatoes flavoured with cumin seeds reduce gas as well as work on diarrhoea.
If your kid has teeth and can chew well, you can feed him pomegranate seeds. Else, it is best to extract pomegranate juice and dilute it with enough water. Giving it to your baby once a day can work towards reducing diarrhoea in babies between 6 months and 5 years of age.
15. Idli (8 Months+)
Yes! Idlis are healthy and easily digestible, as the batter is fermented, but it’s role in controlling diarrhoea is debatable. Crush the idlis properly into small pieces before giving them to the child. Don’t feed chutney along with it.
16. Moong Dal Soup (6 Months+)
Cook a handful of moong dal with a pinch of turmeric powder in water. Then, drain the water and give it to your baby. It can help with stomach pain and diarrhoea.
17. White Bread (1 Year+)
This is yet another preferred food item during diarrhoea. White bread is made of refined flour that acts as a binding agent, and does’t have the fibre that encourages elimination. This bread can be eaten toasted or untoasted. Avoid using spreads, butter, jam, etc. as it will only aggravate the situation.
18. Bilva/Bel/Wood Apple Syrup
A homemade syrup of bilva (bel/wood apple/Aegle Marmelos) can help control diarrhoea in babies older than 6 months of age. This remedy is useful for adults as well! The syrup can be made by soaking dried wood apples in water overnight, and boiling it in the same water the next day till the water reduces to half the quantity. Then, strain the syrup and let it cool. You may feed the syrup with a spoon to your little one, or dilute it in water to make a sherbet without any sugar.
Another way of making the syrup is to cut wood apples, take out the pulp, and soak it in twice the amount of water, i.e. the pulp to water ratio should be 1:2. When the pulp has soaked enough, mash it properly and sieve it. You can add a pinch of roasted cumin and hing to it. There is no need to mix sugar as its already a little sweet, but if your child has sugar in his diet and you think he could need some, add a small amount to sweeten the syrup.
Diarrhoea tends to dehydrate the system as your baby looses important water and minerals every time he must visit the loo. To replenish these lost electrolytes, and ensure your child stays hydrated, ORS or electrolyte powder is a great option. You can easily make this at home too by dissolving six teaspoons of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a litre of water. Make sure your child does not gulp this down, but sips it through the day, as too much at a time can be harmful to the body.
If your little one is refusing to eat during this time, applesauce is a great option. It tastes sweet and is easy to consume, making it the perfect option for toddlers with diarrhoea. You can even mix a little applesauce into soup or water to enhance the taste if your little one is extra fussy during this time.
Foods You Should Avoid
The foods you shouldn’t give your baby/toddler when he has diarrhoea are:
- Dairy products except curd and buttermilk, and yoghurt
- Fruit juices
- Fizzy drinks
- Fruits that start with P (peaches, pears, prunes, plums)
- High fibre foods
- Dry fruits and nuts
- Raw veggies
- Gas-inducing veggies (broccoli, chickpeas, etc.)
1. Should I Continue to Breastfeed My Baby If She Has Diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea can cause dehydration, so it is important to breastfeed your baby as normal if she is unwell. If your baby is refusing to feed, try giving her a small quantities of breastmilk through the day instead of a few major feeds.
2. How Long Does Diarrhoea Last In A Baby?
Diarrhoea should ideally last for 1-2 days in babies. However, if it has been longer than that, contact a paediatrician immediately as your baby might have a more serious problem.
Diarrhoea can make you quite anxious about your baby. Giving the right foods to prevent diarrhoea in babies is the first step to recovery. If your baby’s health doesn’t improve, contact your paediatrician immediately.
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