Similar to diarrhea in adults, toddler diarrhea is also a common health condition. You can easily identify whether your kid is suffering from this condition or not, based on the nature of stool and the frequency of bowel movement. For example, if your child is passing watery stools at least three times a day, then he is experiencing loose motions. It is estimated that more than 1 billion toddlers seek medical help every year because of diarrhea.
Diarrhea in toddlers can be caused due to several reasons, out of which the most common are infections by bacteria and virus, food allergies, food intolerance (like lactose intolerance), and introduction of new foods in the diet plan. Very often, toddlers are diagnosed with stomach flu (gastroenteritis), in which, the bacterium strain, Salmonella, and other viruses cause inflammation of the stomach and intestinal lining. It is estimated that rotavirus alone is responsible for causing about 10 percent cases of diarrhea in kids.
Good Foods for Toddlers with Diarrhea
Since children are more susceptible to dehydration, diarrhea should be treated as soon as possible. Treatment for diarrhea in toddlers mainly involves preventive measures and combating dehydration complications. Most mothers are very worried about how to treat diarrhea in toddlers. It is to be kept in mind, that an episode of loose motions in children may last for about a week. Nevertheless, with effective medical intervention and incorporation of healthy food, the duration can be as shortened to about 2-3 days.
Feed Plenty of Fluids
Drinking ample amounts of fluids is the key to preventing dehydration in toddlers, who are suffering from diarrhea. In fact, you cannot find effective alternative food for a sick toddler, other than giving him plenty of fluids and water. You can replace apple juice and cherry juice, that contains high amounts of sorbitol, with grape juice. Doing so helps in keeping your child well-hydrated and fresh. If the condition is associated with vomiting, then sipping clear fluids also helps in stopping regurgitation.
Incorporate Easy-to-Digest Foods
Do not feed your kid immediately after a bowel movement, rather let the gastrointestinal tract rest for a few hours. After that, have your kid eat easy-to-digest foods, like, strained bananas, rice, applesauce, and mashed potatoes. Ascertain that you serve in small sections, so as to ensure complete digestion. Feeding large meals at a time increases indigestion, which, in turn, worsens the diarrheal condition.
Give Rehydration Fluids
If the child is very weak and shows signs of dehydration and increased tiredness, then the doctor may recommend rehydration fluids, which are sold in pharmaceutical stores. Make sure that you check the reliability of the brand and expiry date of the fluids before feeding them to your kid. Feeding your child with such oral rehydration fluids will not stop diarrhea, but will surely aid in replenishing the lost electrolytes (specifically potassium and calcium).
Foods to Avoid
Besides these, there are certain food items that should be strictly avoided while treating your toddler against diarrhea. For example, if your kid is intolerant to lactose and milk protein (casein), then avoid milk and dairy products, as they trigger loose motions. In addition, foods containing complex carbohydrates and sugars are difficult to digest, thus worsening the condition. Hence, you can exclude such food items from the diet, until your child recovers fully from the health condition. Also, remember that over-the-counter medications for diarrhea are strictly not recommended for kids.
Since the main trigger for diarrhea in young ones is consuming foods and drinks contaminated with diarrhea-causing pathogens, you should be very choosy about the foods and keep a strict watch regarding your child's diet. If diarrhea and vomiting in toddlers continue for more than 24 hours, then it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention. Call the doctor if the child manifests dehydration symptoms like dry mouth, sunken eyes, and abdominal irritability. By introducing healthy food and following the doctor's advice, you can combat the risk of developing chronic toddler diarrhea.