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Diet for Diarrhea

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is frequent loose bowel movements. If your child has severe diarrhea, her body can lose too much fluid and she can get dehydrated. Dehydration can be very dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Your child may also be losing minerals that the body needs to keep working normally.

Does my child’s diet need to change?

You do not need to change your child’s diet, but it is important to replace the liquid your child loses in the diarrhea. It’s OK for your baby to keep drinking breast milk or formula, but give your baby extra fluids. The best fluids to give are oral rehydration solutions, which replace fluids and minerals. Older children with severe diarrhea should be given an oral rehydration solution, plus water and other clear liquids. Clear liquids include water, weak tea, fruit juice mixed half and half with water, Jell-O, or light-colored soft drinks without caffeine (like lemon-lime soda). Stir soda until the bubbles are gone (the bubbles can make vomiting worse). Don’t give your child dark carbonated drinks, full-strength fruit juice, or sports drinks that are high in sugar, which can make diarrhea worse.

Foods that are easy to digest may be useful for a short time and help your child return to a normal diet. Good choices are:

  • Jell-O
  • Soda crackers
  • Toast
  • Plain noodles
  • Rice
  • Cooked cereal
  • Baked or mashed potatoes
  • Soft-boiled eggs
  • Applesauce
  • Bananas

As soon as possible, your child should return to a normal diet.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.3 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-01-08
Last reviewed: 2014-01-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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