Diarrhea in infants
When your infant has diarrhea; When your baby has diarrhea; BRAT diet; Diarrhea in children
Children who have diarrhea may have less energy, dry eyes, or a dry, sticky mouth. They may also not wet their diaper as often as usual.
Give your child fluids for the first 4 to 6 hours. At first, try 1 ounce (2 tablespoons or 30 milliliters) of fluid every 30 to 60 minutes. You can use:
- An over-the-counter drink, such as Pedialyte or Infalyte -- do not water down these drinks
- Pedialyte frozen fruit pops
If you are nursing, keep breastfeeding your infant. If you are using formula, use it at one half strength for 2 to 3 feedings after the diarrhea starts. Then begin regular formula feedings again.
If your child throws up, give only a little bit of fluid at a time. You can start with as little as 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of fluid every 10 to 15 minutes.
When your child is ready for regular foods, try:
- Rice cereal
- Apple juice
- Fried foods
- Full-strength fruit juice
The BRAT diet was recommended by some health care providers in the past. There is not a lot of evidence that it is better than a standard diet for upset stomach, but it probably can't hurt.
BRAT stands for the different foods that make up the diet:
- Rice cereal
Bananas and other solid foods are most often not recommended for a child who is actively vomiting.
WHEN TO CALL THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
Call your child's provider if your child has any of these symptoms:
- Blood or mucus in the stool
- Dry and sticky mouth
- Fever that does not go away
- Much less activity than normal (is not sitting up at all or looking around)
- No tears when crying
- No urination for 6 hours
- Stomach pain
Kotloff KL. Acute gastroenteritis in children. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 366.
Larson-Nath C, Gurram B, Chelimsky G. Disorders of digestion in the neonate. In: Martin RJ, Fanaroff AA, Walsh MC, eds. Fanaroff and Martin's Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 83.
Nguyen T, Akhtar S. Gastroenteritis. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 84.