My 2 year old toddler recently had quite a severe bout of diarrhea. Thankfully she was still generally cheerful and throwing her usual tantrums, without any signs of fever or other symptoms (like teething fussiness), so I knew it was a transient gastrointestinal bug. She didn’t even complain of her stomach hurting during this time and still ate with gusto. However, it became pretty severe, going up to 7 loose stooling episodes in a day! At this point, I had to consider the foods I was feeding and make a few adjustments, although I knew the most important thing was just to wait it out for the bug to pass through her system. Here are 5 things I learned from this whole affair:
1) Stop giving most dairy products like milk and yogurt, and even adding milk into foods
2) Temporarily avoid foods with more roughage like beans and seeds, as well as vegetables and fruits like leafy greens, broccoli, tomatoes and pears. Foods with more fiber, especially insoluble fiber, tend to cause a faster transit of stools through the gut
3) Cook things down to a softer consistency (e.g., well cooked oatmeal if cooking with old fashioned oats)
4) Keep nutrition in by adding in soft cooked beef and chicken, meat gravies, steamed fish and chicken, and hard boiled or steamed egg to foods
5) Don’t cook with too much oil or serve foods that are too oily
It was a bit of a diet change as I was so used to giving her high fiber foods all the time throughout the day, with fruits and vegetables with most of her meals. However I did notice an improvement in her stooling after making the few simple changes above. She had to get used to it as well, but adapted well in the end. Thankfully after 7 days, her stooling returned back to normal and we are back to her usual diet and variety of foods. One more note: as in any case of diarrhea, make sure you offer your toddler plenty of water throughout the day, so that your toddler will stay well hydrated during this period!