What do you feed/avoid feeding your kids when they are sick?

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May 10, 2002
Edmonton, Alberta
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.
If she's feeling up to it, maybe some chicken broth or mild chicken noodle soup? I loved when my mom made me toast with a little butter and cinnamon sugar on it when I was sick.

Hope your little one feels better!
This goes against what mudbug says (and I agree that cold milk and a lot of milk products may be bad), but I know that for morning sickness they said to eat cream soups. I've had them when I had an upset stomach (along with some crackers) and they helped. Of course everyone has their own tolerances and intolerances to different foods.

:) Barbara
Mine get put on the BRAT diet when they have tummy problems. Broth, Rice, Applesauce, Toast & they get ginger ale to drink of if they need it PediaSure to keep them from geeting dehydrated. Dairy is a BIG no no! I learned that one the hard way too. Jello is another good thing.
i think there must be a mom manual out there somewhere. when my siblings and i were sick as kids, we would always get crackers or toast, room temp flat ginger ale, and chicken broth with a few noodles or rice, and freezie pops. i need a coopy of this manual. no one ever told me that babies don't come with diagrams and instructions...
Bangbang said:
I give tthem jello,popscicles,broth,and ginger ale(flat). No solid food or dairy products.

I had completely forgotten about the gingerale being flat until I read your posts. Now I remember Mom vigorously stirring the gingerale to "get the fizzies out."
lol @ vurp. have to clean the carpet in the baby's room because of one of those last night. i found out the hard way not to let the ravenous little guy suck down 8 ozs. without a good burp or 2 in the middle...
LOL...been there! I swear my kids tossed more than they kept down. Tough to judge that when you don't bottle feed though.
What I was always served by my mom and I pass it on when mine has an upset tummy is good ole chicken noodle soup and 7 Up. I still can't drink 7 Up if I'm not sick because I associate that with it :)

If they have Diarrhea..........do the BRAT diet (Banana's, Rice, Applesauce, Toast).

Yes steer away for anything spicy or sour and milk products.

If they have vomiting with diarrhea then give them Pedialyte to keep their electrolytes in check.

Hope she feels well soon.
We usually put kids on clear liquids, i.e. broth, jello, apple juice, gingerale, pedialyte, etc. Clear liquids are the easiest for their systems to digest if they have a virus or bacterial infection.
Noted a comment on the 'Net the other day about drinking "soda's" and the "GERD" (ie reflux) issues that result...and I expect that "granny knowledge" found that, of course, ginger will "warm the stomach" (making it work that bit better?), but adding the "gas" from carbonation will worsen things...so let it go flat...

Another note, feed them "diet pop" gone flat! (Why would they need a 'sugar rush"?).

And yes (smiling gently at the rememberance!) apple juice, OJ, etc are ONLY okay to feed them if they are diluted at least 33% with water, otherwise the acids cause more problems than they solve, and are h**l on your waxed hardwood floors (again, this is experience talking!), when they are inevitibly "ejected" by the body...

Try "flat" diet ginger ale, mixed half and half with OJ?

Note your several "BRAT" diet points are good ones...you will note the high quantity of "dietary fibre" that the consistencies represent...so you might try "oatmeal cookies", DRY Cheerio's, or Alphabits, or bran, if you can get away with that! Baked beans?...All aimed at filling up and "flushing" the "system"...oatbran crackers or plain unsalted crackers?

Likewise, providing the little gaffers with a warmed hot water bottle to hold to their stomachs will go far in alleviating discomfort...

I hold with the "belief" that you should only offer some of these mixtures when they are truly troubled...why can't there be some "fun" in the menu when you aren't feeling well? If it makes them feel "special" for even a morning, maybe the afternoon will be better?

"Hope" cures a lot of things a lot quicker than do hard out "remedies"...

Pity Audeo is not available to weigh in on this one, as she'd give us the definitive advice you could take to the Bank...

Alix said:
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!

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