11 Best Home Remedies For Diarrhea (Loose Motions) In Babies

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Diarrhea in babies is a cause of concern to parents. Several factors can lead to diarrhea in infants and toddlers, but the primary objective of a parent is to control the loose motions soon to prevent the loss of fluids. While medications can help, home remedies are the ideal way to do it.

Here, MomJunction lists 11 safe and best home remedies for diarrhea for adequate relief to a baby or toddler.

Diarrhea In Babies And Toddlers

Rotavirus is the leading cause of loose motions among infants and toddlers across the world (1). The virus spreads through contaminated food and water. Babies who do not have solid food or water can get the virus when they touch contaminated surfaces and put the same hand in the mouth. The fecal-oral route is the primary mode of transmission of the virus.

Best Home Remedies For Diarrhea (Loose Motions) In Babies And Toddlers

Some home remedies work for all babies and toddlers while some are suitable for younger ones.

1. Breast milk

Age: Suitable for babies and toddlers of all ages

Breastfeeding protects the baby from several illnesses, including diarrhea. Breast milk is rich in antibodies that help keep the baby’s immune system robust, thus minimizing the risk of infections that can cause diarrhea. Medical experts state that babies who are breastfed are at a lower risk of diarrhea in the first place (2).

If your baby has diarrhea already, then breastfeed more frequently. Breastfeeding is widely recommended during epidemics and natural disasters to decrease the risk of infections, including those that can cause diarrhea (3).

Breast milk should be the exclusive food for the baby till the age of six months and breastfeeding should continue till the first birthday. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding up to the age of two years and even beyond, which means you can breastfeed toddlers (4).

[ Read: What Causes Diarrhea In Babies ]

2. ORS

Age: Suitable for babies and toddlers of all ages

Infants below the age of six months can stay hydrated by breast milk alone when they have diarrhea (5). But you can give Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) to infants younger than six months, after doctor consultation. You can buy ORS salts and prepare the solution in boiled and cooled water or purchase pre-made ORS.

According to the World Health Organization, the quantity of ORS liquid needed depends on the weight of the infant. Multiply the infant/toddler’s weight in kilograms with 75 to arrive at the ideal amount of ORS in milliliters (ml), and feed over four hours (6). If your baby’s doctor recommends different quantities of ORS, then follow the prescription. Always use a clean spoon or a dropper to feed the ORS to the baby in small sips, with sufficient pauses in between.

3. Bananas

Age: Six months and above

You can give your baby banana once they attain the age of six months (7). Banana is part of the BRAT (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) diet that is often recommended to alleviate diarrhea among babies and toddlers. You can mash ripe bananas and feed in small bites to the baby. Bananas can provide energy to the babies who may be weak due to diarrhea. The fruit replenishes potassium, which is lost by the body during loose motions (8).

How To Stop Diarrhea In Babies Fast?

Bananas provide rapid relief to the baby from diarrhea. The fruit is often known to cause constipation if eaten in excess quantities, but in this case can be beneficial for a baby.

4. Rice

Age: Six months and above

Rice is one of the first solid foods for a baby (9). Since it is a starchy grain, rice is easy to digest (10). You can give your baby rice cereal made with water instead of formula thus making it easy to digest. Puffed rice soaked in water also makes an ideal alternative. Make sure the puffed rice and rice cereal do not have any other added ingredients. Mashed boiled rice is also an excellent choice. Evidence suggests that giving rice in combination with banana can help relieve diarrhea (11).

5. Applesauce

Age: Six months and above

Applesauce can help the body retain liquids and decrease fluid levels in the stools. The fluid retention property of applesauce can cause constipation when given in large quantities. However, this can be an advantage when your baby has diarrhea and loose stools.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Rotavirus In Babies ]

6. Baby cereals

Age: Six months and above

Cereals made for infants and toddlers are easy to digest. Most infant cereals contain added nutrients, which help the baby stay nourished during diarrhea. Pick cereals that have low fiber since it helps make the stools firmer.

7. Toasts

Age: One year and above

Toasted white bread is rich in starch and low in fiber, which makes it easy to digest. Toast the bread lightly and give it with other foods such as applesauce and mashed bananas. Give only plain white bread and not milk bread or multigrain bread.

8. Potatoes

Age: Six months and above

Just like rice, potatoes are rich in starch and easy to digest. Starch from potatoes can provide essential glucose that helps keep the intestine healthy, especially during diarrhea (12). Potatoes are also rich in potassium, which is an electrolyte lost during diarrhea. Peel the skin of potatoes and boil them. Mash the potatoes before giving it to the baby.

9. Ginger

Age: 12 months and above

Some research suggests that ginger may provide relief from diarrhea when it is caused by bacteria such as the E.coli (13). You can boil some pieces of ginger in water, and give the water to the baby in small sips. Keep the quantity of the liquid to a few teaspoons a day. It is best to employ this home remedy for loose motions along with other home remedies.

10. Coconut water

Age: Six months and above

Coconut water contains adequate quantities of potassium and sodium, the electrolytes lost during diarrhea. Give small sips of coconut water to the baby after a bout of loose motions. It can help replenish the lost electrolytes (14).

11. Yogurt:

Age: 8 months and above

Once your baby is eight months old, you can give them plain yogurt (15). Yogurt is a probiotic containing several healthy bacteria that the body may lose due to constant diarrhea. Give plain, whipped yogurt to your baby, which is easy for the baby to swallow. It is best to give homemade yogurt. In case of packaged yogurt, pick one with no added sugar, salt, flavoring or preservatives.

Following a few tips, while using these home remedies, can help the baby get better sooner.

[ Read: Signs Of Dehydration In Babies ]

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Tips For Using Home Remedies For Diarrhea

  1. Check how the baby reacts: If your baby is less than a year old, be more watchful for any signs of allergies while introducing new foods as home remedies. If your baby develops abdominal discomfort, rashes, or swelling after eating certain foods, then stop giving a home remedy immediately.
  2. Moderation is essential: Do not give any food in excess, even if only as a remedy. Maintain a balance across and give as recommended for the best results.
  3. Stick to doctor’s advice: If your doctor suggests against the use of a home remedy, suggests an alternative remedy, or prescribes a medicine, then adhere to it.

Home remedies are a good way to control an infant’s loose motions as they are natural products and are readily available at home. You can try as many you can to see what works the best for your baby. However, take the baby to a doctor if you see no improvement in a day or two.

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Have you tried home remedies to treat a baby’s diarrhea before? Do let us know in the comment section below.

References:

1. Rotavirus; World Health Organization
2. Breastfeeding vs. Formula Feeding; Brenner Children’s Hospital
3. Making the decision to breastfeed; U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
4. Breastfeeding; World Health Organization
5. Treating Dehydration with Electrolyte Solution; American Academy of Pediatrics
6. Integrated Management of Childhood Illness; World Health Organization
7. Starting Solid Foods; Benioff Children’s Hospital
8. Mom’s Advice Is Still the Best for Treating Diarrhea; Cleveland Clinic
9. Starting Solid Foods; American Academy of Pediatrics
10. Diarrhea; St. Louis Children’s Hospital
11. The BRAT Diet for Acute Diarrhea in Children: Should It Be Used?; University of Virginia
12. Casburn-Jones & Farthing, Management of infectious diarrhoea; National Center for Biotechnology Information
13. Chen et al., Ginger and Its Bioactive Component Inhibit Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Heat-Labile Enterotoxin-Induced Diarrhea in Mice; Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
14. Diarrhea; Columbia University Medical Center
15. Feeding Guide for the First Year; Stanford Children’s Health

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Rohit Garoo

Rohit Garoo took writing as a profession right after finishing his MBA in Marketing. Earlier he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Botany & Zoology from the autonomous St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Rohit has also done a Stanford University certification course on breastfeeding. This botanist-zoologist turned writer excels at life sciences, and at MomJunction he writes everything about pediatrics and maternal care. In between writing and being overly curious, he spends time cooking, reading, and playing video games. LinkedIn profile – linkedin.com/in/rohit-garoo-263115aa
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