Young children are susceptible to many diseases because of their underdeveloped immune systems. The most worrisome of these diseases is diarrhea or loose motions as it could quickly lead to dehydration in babies. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms of diarrhea and which foods to avoid if your baby has diarrhea.
Every child has different stool going habits. While one child may pass stools one or more times a day, some children could go a few days without passing stools. It is normal for breastfed babies to have multiple bowel movements everyday, or go for upto 5 days without any bowel movement. However, formula fed babies also begin with multiple bowel movements per day which might then reduce to one movement per day. If the child’s bowel going habits change suddenly, and he is passing more frequent, watery stools then he probably has diarrhea.
While you must take special care of your child’s diet in case of loose motions, you must also pay attention to the foods to avoid.
Avoid dairy products like milk, milkshakes, cheese, butter, and paneer as they might cause gas and bloating. The only exception is yogurt, which can be given to the child because it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. However, give yogurt to the child only after consulting your paediatrician.
Do not give the child any fried food like fries, chips, parathas or pooris. Keep his diet simple and light till he recovers from diarrhea.
Avoid all high sugar food like sweets, pastries, biscuits, and candies. The high sugar content in these foods exacerbates the diarrhea and the child will take longer to heal. Also in babies, sugar content of food increases the chances of diaper rash.
Avoid high-fibre vegetables like peas, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, corn or green leafy vegetables which tend to cause gas in the stomach and might aggravate the symptoms of diarrhea.
If you prefer to give your child wholesome high-fibre grains, this is a time to give it a break. Avoid giving a child with diarrhea grains like oats, flaxseeds, or rajma as their high-fibre content can have a laxative effect.
Keep the child suffering from diarrhea away from all citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, and grapefruit. Also avoid fruits which could be sour like mangoes, pineapples and grapes. These fruits have a high-fibre content and are unsuitable for diarrhea. Eat fruits like apples and bananas instead.
Avoid all juices especially apple juice and full fruit juices. Even lemonade is to be avoided in case of diarrhea. However, applesauce is good for children with loose motions.
Avoid all dried fruits like cashews, almonds, raisins or dates as they have a high calorie and sugar content which is not suited for children with diarrhea.
Dried Plums or prunes are a natural laxative which when overeaten can cause diarrhea even in normal people. Therefore, prunes are to be strictly avoided during loose motions.
If your child is a little older you might have introduced him to home-cooked Indian Food which could have a dash of spice. If your child is suffering from diarrhea, make him separate meals which are light and free of ghee and spices as spicy food might irritate the stomach.
Also Read: 5 Home Remedies to get rid of worms in Kids
Even though caffeine – tea or coffee is typically not given to small children, there could be households where children are in the habit of drinking a morning or evening tea. When your child is suffering from diarrhea avoid giving him tea or coffee even if it is just once a day as they have a laxative effect and could make diarrhea worse.
Diarrhea is one of the most common problems in children and is nothing to be alarmed about if the child is frequently hydrated. You could give the child frequent sips of oral rehydration solutions (ORS) to prevent dehydration. The best defense against diarrhea is by maintaining a high level of personal hygiene. Ensure your child keeps his hands clean by frequently washing them and does not put foreign objects in his mouth.
Do keep the child’s diet simple and keep this list of foods to avoid if your baby has diarrhea in mind. This might provide the child comfort but is not the cure for diarrhea. Do not delay in seeking your paediatrician advice and complete the dose of medication as advised by the doctor.
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