Originally Posted by Alix
OK, my youngest is home today with a tummy complaint. I am sitting here trying to think of things she can eat without too much trouble. She is a skinny little mite, so I need to make sure she gets SOME calories when she is ill. So far I have got some crackers and ginger ale down her, and have the freezies on standby.
I learned the hard way not to feed a kid grape juice when they are sick.
Alix, sorry to hear your youngster is under the weather, although by this time, I imagine she's feeling better, and you, too.
You've received (no surprise) great advice here! As parents, we've all been there, done that! Personally, I find ginger very helpful and downright comforting!
Stomach woes come in a variety of forms. Sometimes, upsets are caused by stress (kids seem to manifest stress in their stomachs). Then there is the very common stomach virus that runs rampant this time of year when we are all pretty much confined indoors where the stuff can spread like wildfire.
The BRAT diet that Crewsk first mentioned is most commonly recommended because of its high fibre and total void of dairy, fats and acids...all three real instigators in causing continuing trouble.
If your daughter has a stomach virus, the gut has to be placed in a state of rest (digesting the easiest foods possible) before the virus will travel all the way through the gastro-intestinal track. So...
No dairy. No butter or oils of any kind. No acidics (tomato-based foods, OJ, grape juice, apple juice).
If a child is vomiting, give one or two small sips of water every 20 minutes and keep offering same until the child can hold that down successfully for a period of a couple of hours. Then you can get a LITTLE brave and offer a small glass (1/4 cup) of water at once. If it comes back up, go back to offering a couple of sips at a time and repeat the process. When the child is successfully holding down that 1/4 cup of water at a time and hasn't vomited in a couple of hours, you can feel relatively comfortable in going to a clear liquid diet...
Now offer totally fat-free broth at about half a cup at a time. When that stays down for a couple of hours, you can add some dried pasta to the broth for bulk. At the end of the day (and the child is probably going to be feeling better and is hungry), resist going to a normal diet yet. Remain fat-free and hit the BRAT diet. Also really nutritious and easy to digest is a baked potato served only with salt and pepper. You can also make some killer mashed potatoes using boiled potatoes mashed with fat-free chicken broth. This is reallly good with some crackers or unbuttered whole wheat toast and applesauce. Another good food that is easy on the stomach is oatmeal served with brown sugar or honey (not for the very little ones!!!) with cinnamon. Flavorings (sweeteners) and spices (cinnamon and the like) are fairly benign to the stomach and can sure help make bland food a little tastier for younger palates.
Usually, the vomiting issue is resolved in 12-24 hours. And it also usually, at some point, welcomes diarrhea into the symptoms as the virus makes its way out of the body.
When diarrhea hits, and no vomiting is present, go heavy on the fibre. Bananas have spectacular "binding" qualities, as do whole grain foods. And, if there is no vomiting, you can add cheeses, too. But I'd still stay away from any and all butters, oils and fats, and certainly those acidic foods and drinks.
If vomiting and diarrhea occur together, first resolve the vomiting through the sips of water as noted above. With diarrhea, you have a much greater risk of dehydration, so those sips are really important. Electrolytes as found in Crewsk's mention of Pedialyte are very helpful in managing hydration, and you can achieve the same thing exactly by using Gatorade. Most kids find the "green" gatorade much easier to get down than any of the other specialty flavors.
Once all symptoms are gone for 24 hours, you can go back to a normal diet in most cases, but gradually re-introducing complex foods. I'd start with lower fat milk...and save eggs for last. And if one or more symptoms recur, revert back to treating those.
In short, treat the symptoms. And, by the way, the durations are merely estimates, as some youngsters will only be ill for a couple of hours and others for a couple of days....Medicine is sometimes completely void of exact science!
I totally agree with Lifter that Nature is the best medicine. When you offer anti-diarrheal products for obvious reasons, they instead hold the virus in place and delay recovery in children.
I hope this helps in the future and that the little one is bouncing off the wall in good spirits today!