Diet for Diarrhea, Infant and Child

Having watery poop (diarrhea) has many causes. Certain foods and drinks may make diarrhea worse. Feed your infant or child the right foods when he or she has watery poop. It is easy for a child with watery poop to lose too much fluid from the body (dehydration). Fluids that are lost need to be replaced. Make sure your child drinks enough fluids to keep the pee (urine) clear or pale yellow.

HOME CARE

For infants:

  • Feed infants breast milk or full-strength formula as usual.

  • You do not need to change to a lactose-free or soy formula. Only do so if your infant's doctor tells you to.

  • Oral rehydration solutions (ORS) may be used if your doctor says it is okay. Infants should not be given juice, sports drinks, or pop. These drinks can make watery poop worse.

  • If your infant eats baby food, choose rice, peas, potatoes, chicken, or cooked eggs.

For children:

  • Feed your child a healthy, balanced diet as usual.

  • Foods and drinks that are okay are:

  • Starchy foods, such as rice, toast, pasta, low-sugar cereal, oatmeal, grits, baked potatoes, crackers, and bagels.

  • Low-fat milk (for children over 2 years of age).

  • Bananas.

  • Applesauce.

  • Do not eat fats and sweets until the watery poop lessens.

  • ORS may be used if your doctor says it is okay.

  • You may make your own ORS. Follow this recipe:

  • ½ tsp table salt.

  • ¾ tsp baking soda.

  • ⅓ tsp salt substitute (potassium chloride).

  • 1 tbs + 1 tsp sugar.

  • 1 qt water.

GET HELP RIGHT AWAY IF:

  • Your child has a temperature by mouth above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.

  • Your child cannot keep fluids down.

  • Your child throws up (vomits) many times.

  • Belly (abdominal) pain develops, gets worse, or stays in one place.

  • Diarrhea has blood or mucus in it.

  • Your child feels weak, dizzy, faint, or is very thirsty.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Watch your child's condition.

  • Get help right away if your child is not doing well or gets worse.