How to Treat Diarrhea and Dehydration in Infants and Children


A baby’s stool is usually loose and soft. For the newborns, they will poop more often, at times after every feeding activity. At such a point, it is hard to depict if it is a case of infant diarrhoea or not.

So, the main question that most parents ask is, how do I know if my baby has diarrhoea? Well, if you see a change in the stool produced, such as passing more than regular times or number or when the baby has watery poop, then that is a cause for alarm.

In this guideline, we will focus on the following:

  • Causes of diarrhoea in babies
  • Dehydration symptom during diarrhoea
  • A parent’s guide to baby diarrhoea treatment
  • 17 Baby diarrhoea home remedies to try out
  • When do you need to call the doctor?
  • Preventing diarrhoea in children

6 Causes of Diarrhoea in Babies

Diarrhoea in Babies

Several factors could lead to diarrhea in children among other age brackets. For adults, we can try to relate a bad stomach day to what you ate earlier and pick up from there. However, the same cannot be said to infant diarrhoea since you are the one feeding him or her.

a). If your baby has a frequent watery poop

check if the following could be one or some of the leading causes:

b). Teething

When your baby is producing their first teeth, diarrhoea could come as a result of saliva overproduction during the process. The question of commonality of this factor leading to loose poop is still under scrutiny, but researchers predict that it could lead to baby diarrhoea.

c). Antibiotics intake

According to statistics, an average of one in every ten children taking antibiotics experiences diarrhoea, stomach pains, and nausea. Medicines are made to kill harmful bacteria, but they also go on to destroy the healthy bacteria available in the gut. This leads to having an upset baby stomach and maybe diarrhoea. If you think this might be the cause, talk to your physician for advice and alternatives before halting the medication. Stopping to give your child the prescribed antibiotics could lead to resistance in the body, and the infection might recur.

d). Viral infections

Do you know anything about rotavirus? It causes the intestines to inflate in children under two years of age. Lack of proper care could lead to viral diarrhoea in babies. The good thing is that it might be one of the complications that your kid will be vaccinated against since the antivirus has been around since 2006. Even after vaccination, your kid may still get rotavirus but have a faster recovery after treatment.

e). Milk allergy

Dairy products need to be introduced later when the infant’s digestive system adapts to solid food. Your baby can be allergic to proteins found in milk which leads to diarrhoea and maybe vomiting. The remedy to milk allergy is switching to a unique formula recommended by a paediatrician. You may also have to forgo anything with dairy ingredients.

f). Parasites

If you take your child to daycare centres or stay for long without supervision, he or she will most likely put many things in the mouth. This risks them of contracting giardia, an infection in the intestine from parasites which leads to diarrhoea. However, if your child is in the healthy group, they usually get through it without any treatment.

g). Introduction to solid foods

When your baby attains six months or so, he or she begins to eat solid food. Giving them some green beans or cereal may be okay, but once you introduce something like yogurt, it brings a problem.  Some babies are intolerant to food which will make them diarrhoea. It is due to the previous statement that you need to be careful with dairy products. Any allergy brought as a result of food intake is an actual reaction which may carry other difficulties such as hives and breathing complications. So, if your baby has diarrhoea, check what you just introduced as a new feed.

Dehydration Symptom During DiarrhoeaDehydration Symptom During Diarrhoea

The primary concern about diarrhoea is the loss of water from the baby’s body. Dehydration comes as a result of pooping more water than required amounts. Your baby is facing dehydration if:

  • He or she is experiencing weight loss
  • There are no tears when they cry
  • The mouth appears sticky or dry
  • The skin has turgidity loss – when you pinch the skin at the back of baby’s hands, it remains elevated instead of going to the usual position.
  • Increased heartbeat rate
  • The eyes are sunken
  • The number of wet diapers is decreased
  • The baby appears weak with reduced activity

A Parent’s Guide to Baby Diarrhea Treatment

Here we will focus on how to cure diarrhoea in baby after looking at the causes and symptoms. Read the four ways you can utilize to make sure you are giving the right protection measures to your baby.

1) Changing the baby’s formula

You need to talk to your healthcare provider if your baby has diarrhoea from the diet formula you just introduced. The physician will find out the right recipe for your baby that will make the condition to go away slowly.

As a parent, you need to try out different combinations until you find what works for your baby. If your baby is reacting from products formulated using dairy ingredients, you can look for soy-based or lactose-free formulas. Generally, babies tend to be sensitive to the prescribed method and may become fussy.

2) If the digestive system still has room for improvement or is allergic to milk, consider other formulas that are made for sensitive stomachs. The doctor may recommend formulas composed of already broken down proteins. Your doctor will tell you what to do which may also call for a prescription.

3) Make sure your baby is hydrated

Make sure your baby is hydrated

Regardless of whether you are feeding the baby some formula or breastfeeding, it is essential that you increase the amount of milk given to the baby when he or she is sick due to diarrhoea and even vomiting. Both issues can lead to faster dehydration since the baby’s body is still small.

If you are used to giving the baby a bottle of milk after three hours, increase the amount and reduce the time between to maybe two after an hour. A sick infant cannot breastfeed much or take the required amount of formula.

If your baby is vomiting, give your baby smaller amounts of food during each feeding time, but have more feeding times.

Never consider giving your baby water during diarrhoea. It is not suitable for newborns since you could lead to more blood dilution which may cause kidney problems. Increasing the hydration level can only come from the milk or the formula taken.

4) Keep monitoring your baby

Since diarrhoea causes faster dehydration, if the condition persists after 24 hours, you need to seek medical help. Also, if the diaper is dry for more than 6 hours or the baby is shedding no tears, it means that he or she is dehydrated.

Talk to your physician and see if they can recommend an electrolyte solution as a rehydration method in the meantime. The specialist may issue Enfalyte or Pedialyte among other optional brands. This comes in handy especially if the child is also vomiting.

5) The paediatrician involved may also advise about giving a probiotic – a bacterium found in the intestines to help replenish it in the gut.

6) Taking care of the baby’s bottom

You need to know that your baby’s bottom will not be smooth and tender due to diarrhea. The skin on the buttocks is left dry and vulnerable to sores. So, you need extra care and attention to prevent further damage. First, it is an excellent move to coat the genitals and bottom with a cream meant for diaper rash or petroleum products such as Vaseline. This prevents more irritation.

  • Cleaning the bottom:Always keep the baby clean and dry. The reason behind this is that regardless of how many times you change the diaper, the infant is still in a position to develop a red skin on the bottom. Diarrhoea can bring more complications if the baby has sensitive skin. Always respond by removing the diaper and cleaning diarrhea to give the skin less exposure time to the mess.
  • Air drying:After cleaning, allow the baby to rest without a diaper for some time. Exposing the skin to fresh air helps the skin breathe and may also aid in healing the rash. Do not wipe the bottom too much since the sensitive skin may become softer due to increased wiping activity.
  • Check for yeast diaper rash:You need to contact your physician if you see the rash extending to the genitals and thigh areas. The doctor needs to check this and rule out the yeast diaper rash possibilities. This form of diaper rash consists of more red than usual on the skin with red bumps coming from the coloured areas. In such a case, the doctor will give a prescription to counter the spread.
  • Choosing a cleanser:Do not go for anything that boasts to be an excellent cleanser if you are not sure about the results. Go for a cleaner that is made to soothe and repair sensitive skin. You can try organic products even though you have never thought of such an idea in a bid to alleviate the present irritation.
  • What about the wipes?For the wipes, use choices that are chemical-free during the diarrhoea period. You can soak the wipes you already have in clean water to get rid of any irritating components before wiping the infant’s bottom. Small pieces of cloth such as those used for washing the face are also a suitable option since they are made of flannel fabric or just fabric. Soak them in water after adding some coconut oil, about a tablespoon. If the above option is not viable, go for a clean washing cloth soaked in warm water to wipe the baby’s bottom.

What about over-the-counter drugs or anti-diarrheal prescriptions?

Well, most of what is available in the chemist are meant for grownups. Unless your doctor recommends it, don’t take any chances since you don’t know the magnitude of effects on the infant or child. So, OTC anti-diarrheal drugs are a no. Something like Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol contain magnesium, bismuth or aluminium which are harmful to young ones after accumulating in their bodies.

Older kids may use the above options, but a guideline from the paediatrician is vital before administration. Some choices have instructions on how to use them when a baby becomes a diarrhoea victim. For example, the Pepto-Bismol instructs you to consult your doctor if you are dealing with a child under the age of 12. Others such as Imodium direct you to talk to the doctor if your child is under six years.

17 Baby Diarrhoea Home Remedies to Try Out

If your baby has diarrhoea but no fever, you can look at the following solutions which guide you on how to cure diarrhoea in baby while at home. However, if your baby is younger than six months, avoid the home healing methods that are suitable for older children except breastfeeding and instead consider medical help.

You may have heard of the BRAT diet when helping the baby recover from diarrhoea. If not, the initials represent Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast respectively. Focusing on them is an important idea that gets many thumbs up, but that limits you to the number of other possible options. So, here is a comprehensive summary of what you can do while at home.

♣ Breastmilk

For children under six months, they are mostly breastfeeding. This means that you should keep on breastfeeding. It is the only and best solution for the considered age which you can increase the feeding frequency during diarrhoea.

If you had slowly introduced other foods during the fourth or fifth month, cut them down to prevent prolonged diarrhoea.

♣ Sago water

Sago water

Also known as Sabudana water, it is an extract from palm trees in the sagu species from the Metroxylon genus for those of us familiar with the scientific naming nomenclature. If you can get hold of it, here is how to prepare:

  • Put water in a cooking pot and soak the Sabudana for an hour.
  • After an hour is over, put an adequate amount of water and bring to boil.
  • Keep boiling until the Sabudana becomes entirely immersed in the water.
  • Strain the water somewhere separate and clean and give it (now the Sabudana water) to your baby to help cure the loose motions.

Recommended for six-month diarrhoea and above

♣ ORS remedy

It is essential that you give the baby many fluids. As you might have probably guessed, toddlers tend to dehydrate faster when compared to adults. ORS stands for Oral Rehydration Salts which represents a mixture of dry salts combined with filtered water. The salts composition helps an infant restore the fluids after diarrhoea. You can choose to buy the sachets from the local dealer or make your own at home.

What you need

  • Salt – ½ teaspoon
  • Sugar – 6 teaspoons
  • Filtered water – 1 litre

Making it

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the 1 litre of filtered water. Give the solution to your baby after 2-hour period durations.

Recommended for all suffering children

♣ Pomegranate

It also helps in curing baby diarrhoea when you feed your baby the extracted juice by aiding in rehydrating the young body. You can blend the seeds and extract the juice. If it appears too thick or heavy for the young one, dilute using water and go on to give it to your ailing bundle of joy.

Recommended for seven-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Bananas

Bananas have been approved for breakfast and if you want to stay happy according to various studies among other applications. Here, it also lands as another home remedy and many parents will consider it upon the mentioning of BRAT.

Give a mashed banana to your baby if he or she has diarrhoea and you can also mix with some curd (little amounts) before feeding the toddler. It is one of the earliest home treatment options if you want to stop having loose motions and the results are always amazing. It is also a healthy source of food that provides energy and strength which is vital for a recovering baby.

Recommended for six-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Applesauce

Apples contain pectin which is a proper cure for the uncomfortable bowel movements and making the stool firm.

Making it

  • Take an apple, wash it thoroughly, peel and finally cut into small cubes.
  • Next, get a saucepan and combine the apple cubes with a cup of water.
  • Let the mixture cook for 10 minutes over low heat.
  • When the apple pieces soften, switch off the heat and let it cool off without any interruption.
  • It is okay to smash the pieces using a spoon before feeding your baby.

Recommended for six-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Dahi or curd

In the treatment section under ‘monitoring your baby’ sub-section, we mentioned something about a specialist recommending a probiotic. Now, here are perfect examples of what you should use at home for the same. Give the baby some fresh curd or dahi – made from boiled milk that is let to cool to room temperature before adding mild acidic curd that was prepared a day earlier.

You can combine with jeera powder or roasted cumin seeds. Another option involves adding sugar, about half a teaspoon, and a salt pinch before giving it to the baby.

Recommended for six-month-old diarrhea and above

♣ Dal ka Paani

What you need

  • A cup of water
  • A tablespoon of skinned yellow moong dal
  • Turmeric – a pinch

Making it

  • Combine the moong dal, water, and the turmeric powder and boil the mixture.
  • After cooking, sieve the contents to get a thin form of dal ka paani which you will feed the baby.

Recommended for six-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Chawal ka Pani

It is a suitable remedy to use when the baby’s stomach is rumbling. If you are wondering what it is, it is primarily used by the Indians, and it provides an excellent source of protein, starch, vitamins, and calcium.

What you need

  • A cup of water
  • A tablespoon of rice

Making it

  • You need first to clean the rice using running water.
  • After cleaning, boil it with the measured water amount.
  • Cook until the rice becomes soft in such a way that it can be mashed.
  • Next, it’s now time to mash the rice but don’t overdo it before straining using a sieve.
  • Give the obtained soup to the baby.

Recommended for six-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Jaiphal


Also known as nutmeg, it offers a solution to baby diarrhoea if you use it in the following two ways:

  • Cut an apple, put it in water and bring to boil. At boiling point, add two pinches of Jaiphal and a teaspoon of sugar and feed the mixture.
  • Rub nutmeg in water before making a paste out of it and feed it to the baby.

Recommended for ten-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Coconut water

During the interruptive stomach motions, give your baby some coconut water to help maintain the water levels in the small body. It is a suitable hydrating option which can also be used by adults suffering from diarrhoea.

Recommended for seven-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Arrowroot powder

Another best when it comes to countering dehydration. The starch powder is non-allergic and aids in soothing a troubled baby stomach. You can prepare some thin porridge with an addition of a pinch of salt and water or curd.

Recommended for one-year-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Carrot juice

They provide the needed healing energy to your baby during diarrhoea. All you need to do is steam or boil the carrots before you puree them for the baby. Give the pureed carrots to the toddler at most twice in a day. If your child is past one year, then there is no need to puree.

Recommended for six-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Lemon juice

It is a known to relieve inflammations, act on bacteria and virus which helps the children get through the rough times. The adults use it too. Apart from soothing the stomach during a bad day, they also help restore the correct pH in your body.

For the baby, give them a spoon of lemon juice about four times in a day when they have diarrhoea. Though not necessary, you can add a pinch of salt.

Recommended for two-year-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Buttermilk

It is another useful tool for baby diarrhoea which also aids in fighting the germs and harmful bacteria present in the body. You can also add a pinch of black pepper and salt. Mix them well before giving your baby.

Recommended for eight-month-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Honey


Well, according to what our grandmothers say, a teaspoon of honey mixed with cold water will stir out whatever is causing a sick stomach. However, you can only give this to your baby if they are or above one year old.

Recommended for one-year-old diarrhoea and above

♣ Pomegranate leaves

Also known as Anar, these leaves help the body to rehydrate. They are boiled in water before adding sugar at boiling point. After it has dissolved, strain the leaves using a sieve and give your baby about two or three teaspoons twice or thrice in a day.

Recommended for above one-year-old diarrhoea

What you should avoid giving your baby during diarrhoea

Anything that prevents constipation is not good for the baby during this period. Here is a list of things to avoid:

  • Dairy products:Consult a specialist on this before giving it to the toddler.
  • Any fruit that starts with letter ‘P.’
  • Any ‘stone’ fruit as well.
  • Foods that are rich in fibre.

When Do You Need To Call The Doctor?

If you are experiencing two-month-old diarrhoea, you should know that any baby under three months should go to the doctor. If the child is showing symptoms of dehydration, call the doctor too especially when:

  • The baby has diarrhea and fever
  • He or she is experiencing an uneasy stomach
  • There is blood in the poop, or it is white or black in color
  • Your baby is vomiting
  • The baby is sluggish in nature

Preventing Diarrhoea in Children

  • First, it is during winter when the norovirus is at its hype. So, carefully wash your hands every time you visit public places (plus the little one too) before you eat. Soap and water are much better than the sanitizers.
  • Sometimes, diarrhoea is caused by the food we eat. So, it is also a good habit to wash what you are preparing for the meal.
  • After changing the diaper and vomits, wash your hands to prevent spreading diarrhea to other family members.
  • When cleaning the changing table, use the bleach wipes.

Read More:

How often should the newborn poop?

Birthmarks & Hemangiomas in Children: Types, Causes & Treatment

10 Best Baby Constipation Remedies in 2018


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