26 answers

Stomach Flu - Child Won't Eat!

My 17 mo old has the stomach flu that has been going around. He's drinking milk and some water but won't eat a thing. This is our second day now. He ate a handful of dry cereal this morning but no lunch. I've tried crackers and popsicles...could someone please give me some other suggestions? I'm keeping him hydrated as best I can and hoping to avoid an ER trip. I know if I call the doc they won't be able to help me and will just tell me to keep him drinking. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

What can I do next?

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Hi AH,

I always worry when my daughter won't eat, but everytime I've asked the Dr about it they always tell me they don't care if they don't eat for a week as long as the child is staying hydrated. I was always told if the child has diarrhea or is throwing up not to give them milk because it makes it worse. I had to switch my daughter to soy milk for about 10 days last year when she was sick. I used vanilla and she didn't seem to mind at all. Have you tried jello, apple sauce, or maybe chicken broth? I wouldn't worry too much if you can help it, one day soon he'll start eating you out of house and home when he's feeling better. Good luck and hope he gets better soon. Oh and my daughter loves the pedialyte juice when she's not feeling well. It does a much better job hydrating when they're not eating, than any other liquids.

My pediatrician always told me that it's fine that they don't eat when they are sick. It's actually harder on their little bodies to try & digest food when they are sick. He said to always offer it to them, but they will know when they are feeling better & are ready to eat. BUT, he also said to just keep pushing the fluids. That's far more important than the food. My daughter's brother in law is a pharmacist. He told her to give the little ones an enima when they are sick like that. She didn't want to, but because my preemie grandson kept getting sick & landing in the hospital dehydrated, she gave in. She is convinced that she's been able to keep him out of the hospital many times because of it. You could talk to a pharmacist/pediatrician about how to do it. I know it's a very small amount, but it's worked miracles on him. I just don't know how to even do that. I just always gave my babies the water, juices, popsicles, bananas, crackers, & avoided milk as much as possible. Good luck!

As long as he's taking fluids, he's doing OK. Just keep him hydrated as best you can, and introduce little bits of Cheerios and toast as he feels better.

More Answers

As long as he's taking fluids, he's doing OK. Just keep him hydrated as best you can, and introduce little bits of Cheerios and toast as he feels better.

My 16 month old goes through episodes of not wanting to eat for days. The solution we use is pediasure drinks (packed full of nutrition). When he is sick and not eating much, I also give him a single serving pedialyte electrolyte drink in between cups of milk to make sure he doesn't get dehydrated. He'll eat when he's ready, and we just have to be patient. I hope this helps.

Our household of six went through this...all but my four year old. We all lost weight and the baby (who had it the worst and first) still isn't eating properly. My stomach hurt for about 4 days and I could only eat limited amounts. It came on hard and fast and I think it just really jams up the system! Don't push it. When he feels better, he will eat. He is not going to starve in a couple of days. Offer very bland things, and if he will take it, let him have it. My daughter (16 months) didn't want any of her usual favorites. Finally, bannanas helped, but she kept going between being constipated and having runny diapers! It was crazy. When she finally started feeling better, she started to nibble, but she would only eat 1 or 2 meals a day and no snacks. Milk sometimes makes it worse and if you force the milk they can develop an intolerance (my son has a dairy intolerance). I did very watered down juice. If he will take plain water...that would be best because there is no sugar. It is a pain, but it will pass. I have been exposed to it 3 or 4 times since we all had it, and I haven't gotten it again, so I think once it passes, you are done!

Good luck!

I have for children and we've had our go arounds with the stomach flu. It seems un-natural to not give a baby food for an entire day although the stomach really needs a little time to rest and get over the virus. So a day or so with only pedialyite, popsicles, frozen 7up, etc. is actually doing him more good than harm. Of course keep giving him iquids any way you can..jello, broth, ice chips, and such. Hang in there, it won't last forever.

It doesn't sound unusual for your child not to eat for a few days due to the stomach flu. Concentrate on keeping him hydrated with smaller but more frequent amounts of room temp water and pedialite. Once he is no longer throwing up, start feeding based the BRATT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesause, Potatoes and Toast). Keep him on this diet for several days after until his stomach is ready for regular food then slowly introduce.

try teh b.r.a.t. diet


for the dehydration--use pedilight

The best thing u can do is keep him drinking clear liquids. As for food if he doesn't want to eat try not to force him. As for suggestions maybe try jello or just things that are clear and not too harsh on his tummy.

I know it's hard to make them eat or drink when they don't feel well, but you know how important it is. Try Pedialite (I think I spelled it correctly. There are also pedialite popsciles that the little ones some times suck on, or if that doesn't work, just try plain popsciles even if they do have sugar, or make your own out of juice.

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