Feeding Your Child: Stomach Bug Edition

Monday, February 25, 2013

Eight o’clock last night my 5-year old daughter came into my bedroom and proceeded to vomit on my bedroom floor. Then came a night filled with upchucking by my gal and worry by me. Of course my number one concern (and that of many parents) is my kid needs to eat! Here are good reminders of how to feed your child during and after a stomach bug wreaks havoc.

During
When you’re kiddo is in the midst of their spout of vomiting and/or diarrhea, here’s what you should be doing:

  • Hydrate: During episodes of vomiting and diarrhea, the most important thing to do is make sure your child’s hydrated. When my daughter becomes sick, I always have a cold glass of water waiting for her. I change the cup and water between each episode since the leftover water has an awful vomit flavor (my 5-year old scolds me if I don’t!). Other better tolerated liquids to offer are cold bevvies like ginger ale and tart lemon sodas. Aim for your child to take in about 1 to 2 fluid ounces every 30 minutes or so.
  • Rehydration Therapy: In some cases, your child may need an over-the-counter oral electrolyte solution (like Pedialyte) to replenish the electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Speak with your physician before giving it to your child. Pedialyte frozen pops are typically better tolerated than the drink itself. Be aware that sports drinks, juice, and soda aren’t acceptable replacements since they don’t have the same ratio of electrolytes as the specially formulated bevvies for kids.
  • Monitor: Keep an eye on your little one for signs of dehydration. Check if they’re urinating regularly (or have wet diapers), and have a moist mouth, tongue and lips. If you’re unsure or concerned, call the pediatrician immediately.  It’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your kids.
  • Let the belly rest: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for the first 24 hours while your child has episodes of vomiting, focus on hydration and offer clear fluids like gelatin, water, and popsicles. Not only do liquids prevent dehydration, but they’re less likely than solid food to stimulate further vomiting.
  • Let the child rest: Keep your kiddo home from school and let them have a day of rest and relaxation. My gals especially love the TLC I give them when they’re sick like a nice, warm bath.
  • Clean and disinfect: To further prevent the spread of the bug, clean and sanitize any areas that your child has come into contact with including toys and rest rooms. Wash bed sheets, towels, and clothing too. Be sure everyone’s washing their hands with soap and water.

After
Once the vomiting and diarrhea have subsided and your child starts to regain their appetite (always a good sign), here are the recommended guidelines for feeding them:

  • Resume a regular diet: Many moons ago when I was in nutrition school, we were taught about the B.R.A.T. Diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). These days the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that once the child is hydrated, they should resume their normal diets.
  • Dial back on sugar: Sometimes after episodes of vomiting, diarrhea ensues. Sugar worsens diarrhea and should be kept to a minimum. Good choices include plan cereal like Cheerios or Kix, rice, bread, and potatoes, peeled fruit, lean protein (like eggs, chicken), and cooked veggies like carrots and green beans.

LET’S CHAT: Have your kids been hit with a stomach bug this season?

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