Unfortunately almost all toddlers will experience a bout of diarrhoea at some stage usually brought on by a viral infection. Diarrhoea is the passing of frequent, watery and loose stools. One thing for sure it’s not a pleasant experience for both you and your little one. It can last from 1-2 days, up to a week or sometimes longer. It is important to keep your toddler well hydrated during this time. Talk to your pharmacist who will recommend an oral rehydration solution that you need to make up with water, as per instructions, and helps to replenish the fluid and salts that have been lost in the watery stool. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor who will advise further.
Toddler diarrhoea is the name given to a type of diarrhoea that can last for weeks or even months in children between 1 to 6 years of age. Toddlers that experience this type of diarrhoea are normally otherwise healthy and show no other symptoms that they are unwell. Toddler diarrhoea can be recognised if your toddler passes three or more watery loose stools, with food pieces in it every day over an extended period of time. Poor diet is often the main reason why toddlers pass these types of stools, so slight dietary changes will help improve this.
Toddler diarrhoea is usually caused by too little fat and too many fruit juices and other fluids in the diet.
Fat in the diet is important for young children and babies. While too much of it is not healthy for adults, young children need fat to slow down the movement of food through the gut. If there is a low level of fat in your toddler’s diet, foods will move quickly through the digestive system, giving less time for its’ full digestion and as a result of this, watery diarrhoea like stools are produced.
Although your toddler may love it, do not feed your toddler fatty junk food, these will provide no nutritional benefits to your toddler. Nutritious fat sources include full fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
If your toddler is drinking large amounts of fruit juice, this may also be contributing to the problem. Pure fruit juices contain high levels of the natural sugar fructose, however this sugar can be difficult to absorb especially when present in large amounts. Often toddlers fill up on fruit juices between meals. The problem with this is that if your toddler is taking too much juice, they will be less likely to eat nutritious foods e.g. fruit, vegetables, wholegrain bread, cheese and many others which will provide more variety of nutrients in their diet.
While it is important that your toddler stays well hydrated, try and limit the amount of fruit juice your toddler drinks. Water is great as it will keep your little one hydrated and it won’t fill them up too much in between meals. So getting the right balance of fluid is important. Your toddler should be drinking between 1200-1500 mls everyday and that includes their milk. Anymore fluid could impact on the other foods they take in the diet.
If your toddlers’ diarrhoea does not clear up after you’ve made the changes to their diet. Talk to your doctor for further advice.
Furthermore, if you are concerned at all about your toddlers diet, contact our team of Nutritionists.