Treatment - Diarrhoea in babies and children

It is safe to treat your child at home if they do not develop severe diarrhoea or dehydration.

You can reduce your child’s symptoms at home by:

  • continuing their normal milk feeds
  • giving them plenty of small sips of water
  • continuing to offer them small amounts of food - do not worry if your child does not want to eat for a day or two
  • feeding them whole milk and fibre
  • giving them liquid paracetamol to reduce a high temperature or tummy pains

Most children with diarrhoea do not need antibiotics. This is because diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus. Antibiotics cannot treat viruses.


When using liquid paracetamol, always read the label and use the correct dose. Keep all medicines out of your child’s reach. 

If your child has diarrhoea, do not give them:

  • fruit juices or fizzy drinks
  • medications to stop diarrhoea
  • diluted formula


When preparing formula, always follow the packet instructions. It is not safe to dilute formula by adding extra water to it. Make up the bottles as normal and give your baby extra water or drinks in addition to their milk feeds.

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021