Should You Feed Your Baby After Vomiting?
It can be distressing--and disgusting--when your baby vomits. You might think that continuing to offer her food is just asking for a repeat performance. However, babies can get dehydrated very quickly, so it is important to get your infant to continue to eat and drink so she doesn't get dehydrated.
Common reasons for vomiting in infants include gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2. GERD can cause spitting up or, with more severe cases, vomiting. Smaller meals fed more often can help to limit this problem, as can keeping your baby upright after feeding. Most cases of the stomach flu are not dangerous and last a relatively short time, but it is important to keep your infant hydrated while he is sick.
Proper treatment for vomiting depends on whether your baby is breastfed or formula fed. If you breast-feed, you should continue nursing your baby every two hours for approximately 10 to 15 minutes each feeding until she has gone eight hours without vomiting, then begin to feed her normally, according to the Kids Health website 1. If you feed your baby formula, give her electrolyte solution every 15 to 20 minutes in small amounts of about 2 teaspoons per feeding, gradually working up to a daily amount equal to the amount of a normal bottle feeding, if she can keep it down in between feedings. After approximately eight hours without vomiting, you can start to slowly give her formula and baby cereal again in small amounts and work up to feeding her normally.
Although sometimes it seems like your baby has vomited up everything you have fed him, this usually isn't the case. He usually retains some amount of food and drink, which helps keep him hydrated. This is why you have to continue offering him breast milk, formula or electrolyte solution frequently in small amounts, even if he continues to vomit.
If your baby vomits repeatedly, look for signs of dehydration, such as a lack of tears or wet diapers, or a sunken soft spot. If you suspect dehydration, contact your doctor. If your baby has periods of vomiting often, you should talk to your doctor about possible causes.
Should your baby vomit green, have black or bloody feces, have a swollen abdomen, be abnormally drowsy or not be able to drink enough liquid to keep from becoming dehydrated, these could be signs of a serious condition, and you should call your doctor right away, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2. Another serious sign is if a baby under 2 months old vomits up most or all of what he is fed each time you feed him.
- baby image by Diane Stamatelatos from Fotolia.com