Nursing a vomiting Baby
Your normally happy and playful 2-year-old has not been himself all day. He’s been clingy, fussy, and has refused to eat his favorite foods. Then out of nowhere, he throws up what you think was breakfast. It doesn’t stop there. For the next three hours he throws up every 10 minutes. This is replaced by dry-heaving until he finally falls asleep, exhausted. You are naturally worried. Here are some guidelines that will get you through the night when dealing with child vomiting.
NOTE: Vomiting in an infant 2 months or younger is very different than older infants and children.
Top 6 causes of child vomiting
1. Stomach flu – by far the most common cause.
2. Food poisoning – relax, this doesn’t really mean “poison, ” it simply means there were some bad bacteria in the food your child ate.
3. Other intestinal illnesses – there are a variety of other viral and bacterial intestinal illnesses besides the flu that can cause child vomiting; Most are not serious.
4. Severe cough and cold – children can often vomit after a big coughing fit. This isn’t really considered a vomiting problem but rather a coughing problem. Click on Coughs, Colds & Sinus Infections for more info.
5. – if your child has had a high fever for several days with occasional vomiting, and the urine burns or smells foul, consider this cause.
6. Intestinal obstruction – now DON’T PANIC. This is by far the least common cause, but it is also the most serious and is considered a surgical emergency.
How to determine the cause of child vomiting
The top four causes of child vomiting are very difficult to distinguish at the onset because they all start out the same – profuse vomiting every 5 to 30 minutes for the first 1 to 12 hours. Understanding the various causes and expected course of these three will help you determine the cause.
This is a virus that causes sudden onset of vomiting, high fever and stomach pain. Diarrhea usually begins during the first or second day. The length of vomiting varies from the “12 hour flu” to the dreaded “72 hour flu.” There is no blood or stool test to diagnose this.
This is caused by bad bacteria that is present in spoiled food. The onset usually comes 2 to 12 hours after eating the food. Common food sources are: spoiled mayonnaise, chicken, fish, beef, or salad dressing. Some clues that it may be food poisoning are:
- Often there is no fever
- Usually occurs within a few hours after eating an identifiable source of bad food such as a questionable restaurant or a picnic.
- Vomiting usually does not last more than 12 hours.
- Therefore, if there is a high fever, you can’t think of any bad food your child ate, and the vomiting lasts beyond 12 hours, it probably is not food poisoning. Diarrhea may or may not develop.
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