Diarrhea is the passing of loose stools. A common condition for young children, it is caused by various stressors to the body. While most cases are acute and last only a day or two, some cases can become chronic. Chronic diarrhea can be harmful to growing children because it prevents them from absorbing nutrients. The disease’s most serious and most common complication is dehydration. With good home care and attention to keeping your baby hydrated, most of her experiences with diarrhea should resolve within 48 hours and should not require a call to your health care provider.
- Watery, loose stools with decreased consistency
- Greenish color, mucus, or foul smell in stool
- Passing loose stools more than three times a day
- Abdominal cramps
- Fever or vomiting (only if diarrhea is due to infection)
- Sensitive intestines from overeating or from too many acid-producing foods
- Cold, rich, or spicy food
- Transition to solid foods
- Introduction of new or unfamiliar foods
- Food allergy, especially milk-protein allergy (if nursing mother drinks cow’s milk, it can cause an allergic reaction)
- Reaction to vaccines or medications, especially antibiotics
- Infection from virus, bacteria, or parasite
- Food poisoning
- Mouthing contaminated toys or objects
- Overstimulation, fear, stress, or emotional upset
- If breast-feeding, observe your own diet and how certain foods affect your baby. Consuming alcohol, dairy, gluten, and caffeine can cause a reaction. Boost your baby’s immune system with fermented foods, probiotic booster, and foods with zinc, such as roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Avoid citrus, tomatoes, wheat, sugar, soy, eggs, and nuts.
- Be sure all foods she eats are fresh, clean, and safely prepared.
- Wash both her hands and yours before feeding her.
- Wash your hands after diaper changes.
- Introduce foods carefully in order to give your baby’s digestive system time to adjust to new foods.
- Be mindful that your baby does not become overstressed.
Diarrhea: Suggestions for Care
Because your baby’s intestines are much shorter than those of adults, food moves through them more quickly, and it moves even faster when she has diarrhea. Keep your baby comfortable and hydrated. Keep her bottom clean with warm water and a soft cloth. Be gentle when changing her diaper, because her skin is
easily irritated when she has diarrhea.
Food and Remedies for Nursing Mother or Baby Older than Six Months
If your child is breast-feeding, continue to nurse her. If she is more than six months old, give her as much additional fluid as possible to prevent dehydration. This may be difficult at first if she has stomach cramps, but as the diarrhea progresses and your baby feels better, it should become easier to get her to drink.
- Hara-maki (belly warmer)
- Warm ginger compress or warm water bottle
Foods to Emphasize
A simple diet of easily digestible foods, such as grain cream, very mild miso soup, vegetable broth, fermented foods, probiotic booster, toast, small amounts of yogurt, and sea vegetables to replenish minerals. Make sure all food is cooked and served warm, not cold. For the first few meals and until the diarrhea has ceased, keep regular mealtimes without snacks. Other diarrhea remedies include savory or brown rice syrup, kuzu, fennel or chamomile herbal tea, and plum tea.
Foods to Avoid
Frozen or cold foods, refined sugars, raw foods, dairy foods, spices, proteins, fats, fruit, and juice (especially translucent, processed juice).
Essential Oils for Baby
Acupoints for Baby
- Stomach 25, 36
- Spleen 3
Reiki for Baby
For two or more minutes, place your hands on the following parts of your child’s body: abdomen, stomach, and lower back.
Massage for Baby
- Start by massaging downward, from her upper body to lower body, on the front of your baby.
- Massage her abdomen with clockwise movements.
- Massage upward on her back from the bottom of her sacrum to the center of her back.
- Massage the back of her tailbone and below her tailbone.
- Massage all over her body—shoulders, arms,legs, and neck.
Dehydration is the main concern with diarrhea, especially in warmer weather. Call your health care provider if your baby suffers chronic diarrhea.
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.