Gastroenteritis


What should I give my child to eat and drink?

Some helpful instructions are listed in the table below. Do not give your child soft drinks like soda (including ginger ale or other carbonated beverages) caffeine, juice, tea and/or foods with too much sugar (especially corn syrup or artificial sweeteners) or fat because these can make vomiting and diarrhea worse.

Suggested clear liquids

When your child has vomiting or diarrhea, water and minerals cannot be absorbed into the body normally because water is moving through the body too quickly. These vitamins and minerals need to be replenished in order to prevent dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions (such as Pedialyte) are a good source of vitamins and minerals and do not contain large amounts of sugar that can make symptoms worse. When giving oral rehydration solutions, remember that small sips are better than drinking big gulps.

  • Under age 1 year old: Pedialyte or other brands of oral rehydration fluids
  • For children over age 1 year old: Pedialyte or half-strength Gatorade (mix with water). You can try other clear liquids, but remember that the best fluids should contain some sugar (look for the words "dextrose" or "sucrose" on the food label) and some minerals (like sodium and potassium).

Click here for more information on how Pedialyte can help prevent dehydration

If your child is throwing up
  • Start by giving a sip or spoonful (5-10 ml) every 10 minutes
  • After 2-3 hours of clear liquids, start giving your child small amounts of milk, formula, or food
  • If your child eats solid foods, you may try giving bland foods like cereal, bread, noodles, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, rice, crackers, or applesauce
  • After 24 hours, return to your child's normal diet and feeding schedule
If your child has diarrhea, but is not throwing up
  • Continue to give your child milk or formula
  • If your child eats solid foods, start with mild foods like cereal, bread, noodles, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables, rice, crackers, and applesauce
  • Be sure to give plenty of fluids to drink
  • For children who are too young to ask for a drink, offer them drinks more than you normally would
  • Limit apple juice since it can make diarrhea worse
  • After 24 hours, resume your child's normal diet and feeding schedule