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Facts for Life

Diarrhoea

Supporting Information

4.

A child with diarrhoea needs to continue eating regularly. While recovering, she or he needs to be offered more food than usual to replenish the energy and nourishment lost due to the illness.

A child with diarrhoea loses weight and can quickly become malnourished. A child with diarrhoea needs all the foods and fluids, including breastmilk, she or he can take. Nutritious foods will help the child recover more quickly.

A child with diarrhoea may not want to eat or may vomit, so feeding can be difficult. Breastfeeding should be more frequent. If the child is 6 months of age or older, parents and other caregivers should encourage the child to eat as often as possible, offering small amounts of soft, mashed foods or foods the child likes. These foods should contain a small amount of salt. Soft foods are easier to eat and contain more fluid than hard foods.

Recommended foods for a child with diarrhoea are well-mashed mixes of cereals and beans, fish, well-cooked meat, yogurt and fruits. A little oil can be added to cereal and vegetables, about 1 or 2 teaspoons. Foods should be freshly prepared and given to the child five or six times a day.

After the diarrhoea stops, extra feeding is vital for a full recovery. At this time, the child needs to be given more food than usual, including breastmilk, to help replenish the energy and nourishment lost due to the diarrhoea.

A child is not fully recovered from diarrhoea until she or he is at least the same weight as when the illness began.