Last updated on Jan 31st, 2021 at 08:52 pm

(Article by Lynne Gidish)

From vomiting to diarrhoea, gastric issues are common in babies. Here’s what causes them and how to make things better

In the article below, we’ve covered diarrhoea, constipation, tummy ache and gastric reflux and vomiting. Medical professionals offer their advice on how to treat each condition.

1. Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea is extremely prevalent among babies and toddlers for many reasons, explains Dr Rashinta Moodley, specialist paediatrician and nephrologist, consulting at Life Entabeni Hospital and Gateway Hospital Medical Centre. “Infection of the gut is the most common cause due to viruses, food poisoning or consuming contaminated water. Non-infectious causes are due to inflammation of the gut, food intolerance or the use of certain medications.”


  • Loose to watery stools
  • Abdominal pain and loss of appetite
  • Vomiting may also occur, but the biggest risk is dehydration

Watch out for the following red flags, advises Dr Moodley:

“Infection of the gut is the most common cause due to viruses, food poisoning or consuming contaminated water.”

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  • Decrease in passing urine
  • Dry tongue and lips
  • Fewer tears when crying
  • Irritability and lethargy
  • Sunken eyes

These, together with fever, are all danger signs, so it’s important to see a doctor if they are present.

Treatment, according to Dr Tashmin Bisseru, a paediatrician at Life Hilton Private Hospital, includes: 

  • A home-made rehydration solution of half a teaspoon of table salt, eight teaspoons of sugar and one litre of cooled, boiled water
  • Rehydration solutions available at pharmacies
  • Encouraging fluid intake by increasing breastfeeding or formula consumption
  • A bland diet for older children (broths, purées, toast)
  • Supplementing with zinc
  • Taking probiotics to improve gut health.

Remember, says Dr Moodley, that diarrhoea usually resolves itself within two or three days. “However, if symptoms continue or are severe, you should always seek medical assistance as your child may need to be put on a drip for severe dehydration.”

Registered homeopath Dr Jaci Schultz suggests trying homeopathic remedies such as Aloe 6ch and Podophyllum 6ch for explosive, yellow diarrhoea and monitoring your little one’s fruit intake, especially during summer. “Too much fruit often produces a dodgy tummy, so if this is the cause, aside from cutting back on consumption, Ars Album 6ch should do the trick.”

Click page 2 below to find out more about your baby and constipation …