Feeding Your Child: Stomach Bug Edition

Feeding Your Child: Stomach Bug Edition

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.

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.

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?

  • prasath
    Posted at 07:22h, 05 March Reply

    my baby is 15days old and having stomach egg i guess needs some advice to care about him

  • Toby Amidor
    Posted at 09:31h, 07 March Reply

    Please seek the attention of your child’s pediatrician to get the individual attention you need.

  • Laura L Bhatnagar
    Posted at 14:08h, 24 July Reply

    Thank you! My 3 year old and 4 year old have landed a bad stomach bug. Qq- what type of gelatin snacks do you give? Is Jello or Jello like snacks (whole food carries their version with less sugar)? Should it be sugar free?

    Thanks for the wonderful info!

    • Toby Amidor
      Posted at 17:29h, 24 July Reply

      Hi Laura,
      I recommend jello with sugar when a child is sick, if they can tolerate it (unless they are diabetic or have other medical conditions where you should be discussing his/her needs with a pediatrician and/or registered dietitian). If the bug is really that bad, I recommend taking him/her to see a doctor immediately to ensure they are properly hydrated and they don’t get worse, which is your number one concern right now.

  • Alarush bagh
    Posted at 10:23h, 10 June Reply

    My 1 year 6 months son having sick in head and stomach.

    Tell me some suggestions plz

    • Toby Amidor
      Posted at 06:34h, 25 June Reply

      I would recommend you see a doctor. Thanks!

  • Hanzal M
    Posted at 14:54h, 27 June Reply

    Thank you, this article is helpful. My 3 year old had the virus and threw up Tuesday morning. She seemed fine on Wednesday (playing, slight appetite) and she wanted her milk before she went to bed. Bad decision. At about midnight, she threw up everything again. I guess maybe no milk (cows) for the first couple of days?

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