What Do You Give Babies for an Upset Stomach?

If your baby is vomiting, has diarrhea or seems to have a stomachache, you may not know exactly what's causing the problem. Get in touch with his doctor to make sure that the root of the upset stomach doesn't require medical intervention. If you're just dealing with a self-resolving stomach bug, the doctor will often recommend temporarily adjusting your baby's diet to help alleviate his discomfort.

Babies with upset stomachs should generally nurse as usual. Credit: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Breastfeeding and Formula

Unless your pediatrician recommends otherwise, continue feeding your baby breastmilk or formula as normal. Breastmilk contains electrolytes and fluids that will help prevent dehydration if your baby has diarrhea or is vomiting. If your baby normally takes formula, your pediatrician may recommend that you temporarily switch formula until your baby's stomach is more settled.

Oral Rehydration Solution

An oral rehydration solution may be necessary if your baby still acts thirsty after or between nursing or feeding sessions. If your baby consumes formula and seems particularly dehydrated, your pediatrician may recommend that you switch from formula to an oral rehydration solution for up to one day to ensure that your baby takes in the right amount of electrolytes. Although sports drinks contain electrolytes, your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid those and use an over-the-counter electrolyte solution formulated for infants. If your baby is actively vomiting, you should generally wait for the vomiting to stop for at least 30 minutes. Then, you might offer her only about 2 to 3 teaspoons of the solution every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure she can keep it down. If it stays down for more than about two hours, ask your pediatrician whether you should offer her more.

Tea and Gripe Water

Weak herbal teas such as fennel, anise, chamomile and peppermint tea may help soothe your baby's stomach, although you should have your doctor's okay before offering your baby tea of any kind. Gripe water, a preparation made from sodium bicarbonate and herbs, is also a popular home remedy for babies who frequently get stomachaches -- but again, you should do this only with your doctor's okay.

Solids

If your baby has transitioned to solids, your pediatrician will likely recommend that you continue to feed your baby as usual unless he is actively vomiting. The nutrients your baby gets from cereals, yogurt, fresh fruit and vegetables may help him as he recovers from his upset stomach. If your baby has been been having diarrhea and it worsens after he eats, you may want to check with your doctor about what foods to offer. Still, your baby may temporarily refuse to eat if he has a stomachache. As long as you continue to keep him hydrated, he should return to his normal eating habits when his body feels ready.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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