Diarrhoea or loose motion (i.e. frequent passing of loose and watery stools) is a common problem among babies. It is very tough for parents to handle the situation because it may cause dehydration as a lot of water and salt is lost during loose motion. Though, it is a natural way to flush out the toxins, viruses, and other bacteria from the digestive tract but it may cause weakness and dehydration. So, you should know about the best and worst food to get your baby or child’s life back on track.
Since a kid’s immune system is not as strong as that of adults, they are more prone to getting infected. Loose motion (diarrhoea) in babies usually cured automatically within 1 or 2 days but if it last longer than 2-3 days then it is chronic and needs immediate medical treatment.
Most infections in babies are caused by viruses not bacteria; therefore doesn’t require antibiotics. In fact, medicines aren’t always needed for kids’ illnesses. Most illnesses get better by themselves using therapies that do not involve medicines. If it is mild loose motion, you need not to give antibiotics to your baby. It is best to try some home remedies instead of medicines. Fortunately, there are many effective natural remedies for treating loose motion. (1) But always remember to consult a doctor if the condition persists for more than 24 hours to avoid any serious consequences.
Home Remedies for Diarrhoea in Babies:
1. Banana to Treat Diarrhoea:
The ripe banana (kela) is an amazing food to cure the loose motions in infants and toddlers. Banana is a rich source of potassium. It is soft, squishy and easily digestible fruit; give its puree to your baby to control diarrhoea.
To make banana purée, peel a banana, cut it into small pieces and mash well with a fork or masher. Then add 1 tbsp breast milk or formula milk in it and stir well. Preferably, green cardamom or elaichi powder (a pinch) with banana works well for curing loose motion.
2. Apple Purée for Diarrhoea:
Apple is good for all whether it is an infant or an adult; it contains pectin that helps to firm stool. You can give it your baby for controlling loose motion (diarrhoea).
How to make Apple puree:
Simply, take an apple, peel it and chop it into small pieces after cleaning with water. Then, pour a cup of water into a pan, add the chopped apple pieces and cook it on the low flame for 10-15 minutes. Once the apple cooked, put it off from the heat and mash with a fork thoroughly. Let it to be cool and feed to your baby. You can give it to infants (who have started to take solid food) as well as toddlers.
3. Sabudana Water for Babies:
Sabudana (sago) refers to the starch that is extracted from tapioca roots. It is helpful in rejuvenating energy level of the babies and also helps in healthy weight gain. Sabudana is very good to control loose motion in babies; you can give sabudana water or porridge to your baby. For preparing sabudana water for your baby –
- At first, soak 1 tbsp sabudana pearls in water for 3-4 hours after washing with clean water properly.
- Boil it into a cup of water till sabudana pearls get completely immersed in water. You can add some more water if required.
- Then, strain the pearls and give sabudana water to your baby after cooling.
- Sabudana (sago) water is also safe for infants (4 months and above).
- If your baby has started to take solid food, you can give sabudana porridge.
- You can prepare sabudana porridge by grinding sago pearls well to make smooth paste after boiling. Add some salt and curd if required. Now, feed it to your baby.
4. Arrowroot Porridge for Diarrhoea:
Arrowroot (also pronounced as araarot in Hindi) powder is a form of starch which is extracted from the roots of tropical plants of ‘Arrowroot’. This is an allergen-free and easily digestible food which helps to soothe the upset stomach of babies. Arrowroot powder is very good and safe for infants; you can give its porridge to your baby. Arrowroot porridge is a good substitute of breast milk and very good for dehydration.
How to make Arrowroot Porridge:
Add 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder in 50 ml of water and stir well. Then boil the water into a pan till it cooked (looks transparent). Add some jaggery (gur) or palm sugar for taste and feed the porridge of arrowroot to your baby lukewarm. It is very useful in the loose motion due to teething problem.
5. Gripe Water for Infants:
Gripe water is a special solution that will soothe the stomach of babies and cure pain due to loose motion or diarrhoea. If your baby has loose motion due to teething problem, use of gripe water is good. Gripe water also helps to release gas from the stomach of babies and also regulates bowel movement. It is better to start gripe water after 3 months of age. Dosage may vary according to age; for the babies from 1 – 6 months, you can give- 5 ml & for 7 – 12 months, 10 ml (or as recommended by doctor).
6. Rice Powder Cereal for Diarrhoea:
Rice powder helps to control diarrhoea or loose motion. For making rice powder cereal, mix one tbsp of rice powder with a cup of water and cook it on the medium heat in a saucepan by stirring continuously. Then, add some more water to make it thin and put it off from the heat. Now, give it to your baby for controlling loose motion.
Note: To make rice powder cereal, it is better to use home made rice powder. For making rice powder at home, firstly wash the rice with clean water and spread on a clean cotton cloth for drying into air or fan for few minutes. Once the rice becomes completely dry, roast the rice in a pan on low flame for 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it to be cool. After cooling, grind it to make a smooth powder and store it in to an airtight jar for further use.
7. Nutmeg for Babies Diarrhoea:
Nutmeg (jaiphal in Hindi) is a type of herb that is used to treat various health problems of small babies from the centuries. To treat loose motion of infants and toddlers, wash a nutmeg from clean water and rub it on a rough rolling surface (4-5 rounds in circular motion) with 1 tsp of water. The water will be light brown; keep the water into the spoon and feed your baby. You can also use breast milk instead of water to rub the jaiphal. You can give it twice a day if needed.
8. Dry Ginger for Diarrhoea:
Dry ginger and ginger is very good for digestive system. If your baby is suffering from loose motion due to indigestion, use dry ginger powder. But you can give it to toddlers only because of its bitter taste.
How to Use Dry Ginger:
If your baby is passing green colored stool, rub a jaiphal and a small piece of dry ginger in water on a rolling surface (4-5 rounds in circular motion) and give to your baby with honey. It controls green dysentery (dast) among babies.
9. Walnut for Loose Motion:
Use of walnut is another home remedy of controlling loose motion that you can apply for over 3 months old baby. Simply take a walnut (akhrot) and remove its outer layer. Then grind its kernel (giri) with water to make paste. Now apply this paste around the naval point of the baby.
10. Fennel Seeds Water for Infants:
If the loose motion is caused due to indigestion, you can try fennel seeds (saunf) water. Boil 1 tsp of fennel seeds or saunf in a cup of water for 5-10 minutes on low heat. Sieve the water for removing the seeds and let it to be cool. Ingest 1 tbsp of water 3-4 times in a day.
One more important thing to be careful about, increase the fluid intake of your baby during loose motion. Offer the food at regular intervals but if he is not accepting the food then don’t feed forcefully.
11. Curd for Loose Motion:
Curd is good to control loose motion in kids; it is an excellent natural probiotic that protects intestine and strengthen digestive system. Therefore, feed curd with a pinch of black salt to infants and toddlers to control loose motion. You can also give banana with curd 2-3 times in a day. It is not advisable to infants below 4 months of age. But if your baby is able to sit and started to take semi solid food then you can feed him some curd.
12. Pomegranate Juice for Infants:
If your infant has started to take solid food, give her pomegranate juice at regular intervals. Blend a pomegranate (anar) seeds after removing its rind to extract its juice. For the infants, dilute it with water and feed; for toddlers, you can give it directly. Pomegranate juice helps in re hydrating your baby during loose motion (diarrhoea).
13. Cinnamon Powder for Diarrhoea:
Cinnamon (dalchini in Hindi) is good for stomach problems; you can use it to control toddlers’ loose motion. Whenever your toddler (baby above 1 year) is suffering from diarrhoea, give him a pinch of cinnamon powder mixing with honey or milk.
14. Poppy seeds or khus khus:
Poppy seeds are good to control loose motion in babies. You can give it in porridge form. To make poppy seeds porridge, mix ½ cup of water and ½ cup of milk in a pan and add 1 tsp poppy seeds in it. Then keep it on heat and stir it continuously. Within few minutes the seeds will swell and become soft; now porridge is ready to eat. You can give it to your baby (above 1 year of age).
You can also give poppy seeds powder (½ tsp) with curd or milk (1-2 tbsp) to your babies for controlling loose motion. For making powder, roast poppy seeds in a pan slightly and grind. You can apply this home remedy for 2-3 times in a day if your baby has started to take solid food (not less than 9 months).
15. Lemon for Loose motion;
Lemon (nimbu) has anti-bacterial and antiviral properties which help to soothe the upset stomach as well as neutralize the acids in the stomach and counter bacterial infections.
16. Ginger and Nutmeg for Diarrhoea:
Ginger (adrak) has anti bacterial and anti fungal properties that helps to treat loose motion in kids. Mix 1 tsp of fresh ginger juice with ½ gm of nutmeg powder in a 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and stir well. Give this solution to your toddler 2 -3 times in a day.
17. Honey for Loose motion:
Honey has the properties to constipate a baby and considered as one of the best home remedies for loose motions in babies. You can give 1 tsp of honey with cold water to your baby whenever she has loose motion.
18. Buttermilk in Diarrhoea:
Buttermilk has the properties to fight with bacteria and germs. It is very good for digestive system of babies. Add a pinch of salt and roasted cumin seeds (jeera) powder for taste and give it to your baby (toddler) whenever required.
19. Carrot Juice for Babies:
Carrot (gajar) is good to cure loose motion due to indigestion. Extract the juice of carrots after washing and peeling and give it to your baby for controlling loose motion.
If your baby has started to take solid food, you can give puree of carrots. Boil 1-2 carrots after peeling and chopping into small pieces. Then, mash them thoroughly or grind to make puree. Give it to your baby once or twice in a day; it is good food for babies to gain energy during loose motions.
20. Cow’s Ghee for Loose Motion:
If your baby is above 1 year of age, you can give him ¼ th tsp of cow’s ghee mixing with half cup of water to cure loose motion. This home remedy is followed in many families from generations for kids.
21. Ajwain, Mint and Tulsi:
Concoction of ajwain, mint, tulsi, saunf and anardana s very good to cure loose motion in babies (above 1 year). Boil 1 glass of water with carom seeds, fennel seeds and anardana (1 tsp each). Also add few mint leaves (pudina patti) and basil leaves (4-5 leaves). Boil the water till it reduced to half. Strain it and give it to your baby by dividing into two doses (twice in a day).
22. Pomegranate Rind:
Dry the pomegranate (anar) rind after cleaning with water properly and grind to make fine powder. Store the powder into jar and use whenever your baby has loose motion. Mix ½ tsp of pomegranate rind powder with some honey and feed it to your baby (6 months and above) twice a day.
Other Tips for Infants (Babies below 1 year) :-
If your baby is suffering from diarrhea, she needs food and fluids frequently; do not starve him. Always follow few guidelines –
- Keep breastfeeding as breast milk has anti-infective properties.
- Increase the frequency of milk to avoid dehydration; feed after every motion.
- For babies below 6 months, only breastfeeding is recommended.
- For babies above 6 months, give small and frequent meals.
- Let the baby eat or drink whatever she likes.
- Give breast milk or few spoons of other drinks like buttermilk, pomegranate juice or carrot juice, coconut water etc. after every motion.
- Give your toddler ORS (Oral Re hydration Solution) if your pediatrician prescribed the same.
(ORS sachet remains available in medical shop. You can prepare ORS at home also; boil 1 liter of water in a pan and let it to be cool. Add 8 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt in it and stir well till sugar and salt completely dissolved.)
All the above home remedies are not the substitute of medical treatment. If your infant has loose motion, watch him carefully. Normally, it is controlled by applying some home remedies within 1-2 days but if there is no change in frequency of motion, you should immediately contact your pediatrician. It is better to consult your doctor before applying any home remedy.