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What foods can be given to babies and infants during diarrhea?

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All mothers worry about their baby’s health. Poops…..In my life I never imagined that I may worry this much about poops But when I entered into motherhood, the reality was, I was very much worried about my baby’s stomach health.

Diarrhea is when your baby is passing loose watery stools, sometimes at an increased frequency or more than volume than normal.  In babies Diarrhea can happen due to so many reasons like food allergy, zinc deficiency, bacterial or viral infection etc. Appropriate nutrition and sanitation are important issues in children during diarrhea. 

Make sure your child get lots of healthy fluids:

  • In exclusively breastfed infants, breastfeeding should continue as it helps in better weight gain and decrease the risk of persistent diarrhea

  •  Mothers who are breastfeeding might need to adjust their own diet to avoid any foods that could trigger diarrhea in their babies.  

  • A child with diarrhea and normal hydration status must continue breastfeeding (or bottle feeding with usual milk or formula if the infant is not breastfed, make sure that the reason for diarrhea is not the formula you using.)

  • In non-breastfed infants, cow’s milk can be given undiluted after correction of dehydration together with semi solid foods.  Alternatively, milk cereal mixtures, e.g. Dalia, or milk –rice mixture, are preferable.

  •  Feeding with age-appropriate fluids should be continued like tender coconut water, lemon juice, and rice soup etc.

  • Give your child ORS (Oral Re-hydration Solution) if your pediatrician prescribes the same

Many parents are confused about what to feed their baby during diarrhea. Babies who are already transitioned to finger or table food can be given solid foods even during diarrhea. Offer your baby small meals when he has diarrhea. Offering smaller meals will allow the baby’s digestive system to work slowly. Here are some food suggestions, all  these you can add to your baby’s normal diet

  • Banana:  It  is the best food to have during diarrhea, its easy to give to your young ones, just mash it and give to your baby  or you can make a smoothie with it (avoid sugar).If you using plantain-boil and mash and serve it to your  baby

  •  Rice:  You can make rice soup , rice porridge ,idly etc

  • Moong dal: You can make moong dal khitchdi( in case of diarrhea avoid spices and ghee)
  • Bread toast for toddlers: Bread toast is easily digestible during diarrhea and preferred as one of best food during diarrhea.

  • Probiotics like curd, buttermilk or lassi which are  helpful bacteria which may help

  • Foods like potato (boiled potato), crackers ,oatmeal, vegetables(with less fiber content)

Foods to be avoided during diarrhea:

  • Avoid sugary drinks,un diluted Fruit juices ,and carbonated drinks.

  • Food which contain high fiber
  • Spicy foods
  • Some fruits like prunes, pear 
  • Any foods you notice, that make your child’s diarrhea worse

How important is adequate sanitation

During diarrhea cleanliness is also very important. Clean hands ,clean containers and a clean environment should be practiced at all times. Food should be protected from contamination during preparation, storage and at the time of administration.

When to see a doctor

In young children, diarrhea can sometimes lead to dehydration. Call your doctor if your child’s diarrhea doesn’t improve after 24 hours or if your baby:

  • Has a high fever 
  • Has bloody or black stools 
  •  If your baby shows any signs  of dehydration
  • If baby is not active , drowsy, unresponsive or irritable
  • Has a sunken appearance to the abdomen, eyes or cheeks

 NOTE 

  • The information provided here are guidelines and does not replace medical advice.
  • Make sure you have already introduced the foods suggested here to your baby and checked for allergies
  • Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may cause allergy risks for your baby.
  • Call your doctor immediately if your baby has diarrhea and dehydration. A doctor can help you to find out the cause of the problem and  treat it effectively.

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