Vomiting (Child, Under 2 Years)

Vomiting is a common symptom. It may be due to many different causes. These include gastroenteritis (“stomach flu”), food poisoning and gastritis. There are other more serious causes of vomiting which may be hard to diagnose early in the illness. Therefore, it is important to watch for the warning signs listed below.

The main danger from repeated vomiting is dehydration. This is due to excess loss of water and minerals from the body. When this occurs, body fluids must be replaced with oral rehydration solution (ORS) such as Pedialyte or Rehydralyte. This is available at drugstores and most grocery stores without a prescription.

Vomiting in infants can usually be treated at home with the measures below. Medicines to prevent vomiting are usually not prescribed for infants since they can cause serious side effects.

Home Care

First:

To treat vomiting and prevent dehydration, give small amounts of fluids at frequent intervals.

  • Begin with ORS at room temperature. Give 1 teaspoon (5 ml) every 5 to 10 minutes. Even if your child vomits, continue feeding as directed. Much of the fluid will be absorbed, despite the vomiting.

  • As vomiting lessens, give larger amounts of ORS at longer intervals. Continue this until your child is making urine and is no longer thirsty (has no interest in drinking). Do not give your child plain water, milk, formula, or other liquids until vomiting stops.

  • If frequent vomiting continues for more than 2 hours with the above method, call your doctor or this facility.

Note: Your child may be thirsty and want to drink faster. If the child is still vomiting, give fluids only at the prescribed rate. The idea is not to give too much fluid at one time, since this will cause more vomiting.

Then:

If breastfed

  • After 2 hours with no vomiting, restart breast-feeding. Spend half the usual feeding time on each breast every 1-2 hours

  • If your child vomits again, reduce feeding time to 5 minutes on one breast only, every 30-60 minutes. Switch to the other breast with each feeding. Some milk will be absorbed even when your child vomits.

  • As vomiting stops, resume your regular breast-feeding schedule.

If bottle fed:

  • After 2 hours with no vomiting, restart regular formula or milk. Begin with small amounts and increase the amount as tolerated. If taking fluids well, infants over 4 months old may start cereal, mashed potatoes, applesauce, mashed bananas or strained carrots. Avoid tea, juices or soft drinks during this time. If your child is doing well after 24 hours, resume a regular diet.

If On Solid Food (Over 1 Year Old):

  • After 2 hours with no vomiting, begin with small amounts of milk or formula and other fluids. Increase the amount as tolerated.

  • After 4 hours with no vomiting, restart solid foods (rice cereal, other cereals, oatmeal, bread, noodles, carrots, mashed bananas, mashed potatoes, rice, applesauce, dry toast, crackers, soups with rice or noodles and cooked vegetables). Give as much fluid as your child wants.

  • After 24 hours with no vomiting, resume a normal diet.

Follow Up

with your doctor as advised. Call if your child does not improve within 24 hours.

Call Your Doctor Or Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Repeated vomiting after the first 2 hours on fluids

  • Occasional vomiting for more than 24 hours

  • Frequent diarrhea (more than 5 times a day); blood (red or black color) or mucus in diarrhea

  • Blood in vomit or stool

  • Swollen abdomen or signs of abdominal pain

  • No urine for 8 hours, no tears when crying, sunken eyes or dry mouth

  • Unusual fussiness, drowsiness, confusion, or seizure

  • Fever over 104.0º F (40.0º C)

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© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions. This information has been modified by your health care provider with permission from the publisher.