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Cold and Flu Center

Diet for a Vomiting Child

author image J.M. Andrews
J.M. Andrews has been a professional journalist for more than 20 years. She specializes in health and medical content for consumers and health professionals. Andrews' background in medicine and science has earned her credits in a wide range of online and print publications, including "Young Physicians" magazine.
Diet for a Vomiting Child
A mother is checking her daughter's temperature. Photo Credit Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Almost every child vomits at one time or another. According to the National Library of Medicine, a viral gastrointestinal illness causes the vomiting in most cases. If this is the case, you should focus on feeding your child small sips of liquid initially, and then move on to a bland diet once the vomiting subsides. In a few cases, your child may vomit due to other medical conditions, some of which require special diets.


When a child vomits, he propels the contents of his stomach up and out, according to the National Library of Medicine. If the vomiting occurs as a result of a viral gastrointestinal disease, your child will fall ill quickly and likely will recover just as quickly. Other symptoms of viral gastrointestinal infections include diarrhea and stomach pain.

Initial Diet

If your child vomits repeatedly, she may become dehydrated. Therefore, you should try to get her to drink small sips of clear liquids every 15 minutes, according to the website KidsHealth.org. These liquids can consist of water, ice chips, a commercial electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte, or an electrolyte solution mixed with a small amount of non-acidic fruit juice, such as apple juice. Avoid milk and acidic juices such as orange juice.

Preferred Liquids

Electrolyte solutions work the best to replace nutrients and fluids in a child suffering from vomiting and diarrhea as a result of a virus, according to the website FamilyDoctor.org. If you don't have access to a commercial version, you can make your own: mix 8 tsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. of salt into a quart of water until it dissolves.

Next Steps

Once your child has stopped vomiting for about 8 hours, you can begin to reintroduce solid foods, according to KidsHealth.org. Start slowly with very bland foods such as crackers, toast and broth. You also can try the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. These foods can help make your child's stools more firm, and thus clearing up lingering diarrhea.


In a minority of cases, a child's vomiting could be due to an undiagnosed illness, such as a urinary tract infection, meningitis or septicemia, according to an article published in the magazine Australian Family Physician in September 2007. Food allergies such as an allergy to cow's milk protein or celiac disease, which involves the proteins found in certain common grains, also can cause chronic vomiting. If your child's vomiting fails to clear up within a couple of days, or if it worsens, you should contact your pediatrician.

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