Diarrhea in a Preschooler and the BRAT Diet

Updated on September 02, 2012
H.M. asks from Columbia, MO
7 answers

Hi Moms!
My 4.5 year old has been having bouts of diarrhea every day for the last week. No fever or any other symptoms of sickness. She's sleeping fine too. Most of the time it happens right after or during her meals. We've gone days without dairy to see if that would help, we've cut out sugars, junk food (we don't eat much of those things anyway) and an overabundance of fruit and other fiberous foods, but it doesn't seem to be helping. We're vegetarians, so this wouldn't have been caused by anything meat related either.

So, I'm putting her on the BRAT diet until her tummy settles down and gets back to normal. She's NOT happy about it though. She doesn't want to eat plain rice or rice cooked in broth and doesn't want to have anything to do with dry toast. She'll go for saltines, bananas and applesauce though I wonder how long she can go on so little? She's not thrilled about just drinking water. She loves milk and almond milk...I'm guessing she would enjoy gatorade though. Would that be ok? Eventually, I'll get her on some probiotic yogurt, but I'm afraid the dairy (and the fruit...she won't eat plain yogurt) will just cause further problems for her right now. Advice?


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answers from Norfolk on

Our pediatrician once told us that once a gut is irritated it can stay irritated for a long time after the initial source of irritation has resolved itself.
Our son had diarrhea that lasted about 8 weeks.
No fever, no sickness, just the runs for the longest time.
He just had very irritated bowels.
It gave him a wicked diaper rash (he was 18 months).
As long as you keep them hydrated (and electrolytes balanced), they do alright.
Give her intestines a break, put her on clear liquids
Pedialyte, Gatorade, soup broth, jello.
People can go a long time without eating solid food, so don't worry about it.
Stay away from dairy and sugary drinks - they seem to help keep the irritation going.
Very slowly (after a week or two), start up on the Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast (crackers will do).
Work in just a little yogurt - like a spoonful.
Be careful with it because probiotics can give some people diarrhea and she's already got that.
Then add one thing back at a time (and stop and go back a step if the diarrhea comes back) - mashed sweet potatoes, potatoes, soft boiled eggs, etc until she's back to normal.
It can take a long time, but you will get through it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anniston on

Sounds like your on the rt track. But i would stay away froom Gaterade. It has too much sugar which can upset the stomach. You could try probiotic capsules if she cant swallow them you can break them apart and sprinkle over her food. That way the good stuff isnt getting washed out of her colon. Give her a lot of TLC and hope she feels better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Dairy can take weeks (or longer) to fully evacuate her system. A few days will not see much of a difference, I'm afraid. There is dairy hidden in SO many items. Even, in lactose free items. Casein, the protein in milk, is found in many lactose free items. If you ar still wanting to keep out dairy, read packages diligently. These are things you can look for (aside from traditional dairy ingredients) , that contain dairy...Calcium casein, casein hydrolysate, magnesium casein, potassium casein, rennet casein, sodium casein.

My pediatrician said food is not the concern when one has diarrhea. Water and fluids, are the most important. She is eating enough to get her through this time. If she's not drinking much water, consider watered down juice, or slices of fruit in her water.

Have you contacted your dr. If not, you really should. Diarrhea for this long, deserves a professional opinion.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

Hi There,
If she is still eating and is having no complaints otherwise, it could just be juice or certain fruits. You said it is happening around mealtime or right after.... look at what she is eating or drinking... has anything changed or is she eating/drinking more of something? When my 4 year old son was a toddler, he would get random really bad diarhea. We started to realize that it would happen if we were out at a barbeque or some other outing or party. We started to realize it was every time he had a juice box! We rarely gave him juice at home and when we did it was watered down (once per day). As it turns out, several fruits have a chemical compound (I can't remember what it is called), that acts as an extreme laxitive. It is found in many fruits and more concentrated in the juice of those fruits (cherry's, pears, grapes, apples etc.) And it was interesting, because usually something you eat won't make you have diarhea right away, but in his case it happened very soon after. Eventually he outgrew it... it was just a matter of his intestines getting used to it. Maybe she is drinking more or different juice or fruits she isn't used to?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Maybe it's a gluten allergy. Try taking all gluten items out of her diet.

It is extremely to go gluten and dairy free. Btw there is only ONE margine out there that is totally dairy free. All of the others have milk in them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Yes, get her on a probiotic, but it doesn't have to come in the form of yogurt. If you have a "natural food" store near you they can tell you which to use. There are chewables, powders to put in drinks, and pills. If you don't have natural food store, a lot of the grocery stores are now carrying these as well.



answers from Philadelphia on

I know the docs are against giving it to a child but I am a fan of Imodium AD. I suggest you do your own research. Also as an Fyi... You can buy a probiotic powder that you can mix into her applesauce or water.

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