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A baby with an upset stomach is a miserable creature; as his parent, you want to provide something to alleviate his discomfort. You also must prevent dehydration, a potentially serious problem in infants, who dehydrate more quickly than adults. Certain foods have soothing qualities, while others can worsen stomach problems. The goal of a diet to treat viral stomach upsets is to give the intestines a rest and a chance to recover. Call your child’s pediatrician if your baby shows signs of dehydration, such as lethargy, decreased urine output or a sunken, soft spot.
The best first food for babies with stomach problems is actually a liquid. If your child has been vomiting or had diarrhea, start with commercial oral rehydration solutions that contain electrolytes to replace what’s lost in vomit or loose stool. Don’t give fruit juice or other drinks high in sugar, which can worsen diarrhea unless you dilute them. Don’t give more ounces than your baby would normally drink. Don’t give plain water, which doesn’t contain the necessary salts and sugars and which could cause water intoxication in large amounts. If you’re breastfeeding, continue to nurse as long as your baby isn’t actively vomiting.
Bananas are part of the BRAT diet — bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Doctors often recommended the BRAT diet after a gastrointestinal upset to give the stomach a rest. There’s no solid evidence that the BRAT diet helps children recover any faster from a stomach upset, but according to MedlinePlus, ripe bananas still make the list of good recovery foods, since they’re easily digested and supply energy. Restart solid foods only after 24 hours with no vomiting, the All for Kids pediatric clinic recommends.
When your baby’s stomach begins to settle, he needs protein but might find beef or pork too difficult to digest. However, chicken is soft, bland and easily digested. Chicken and rice soup, a time-honored recipe for treating stomach upset, provides both the protein and carbohydrate energy your baby needs.
Stick to easily digestible, bland grain products, such as plain crackers, rice cereal, plain noodles, mashed potatoes or pasta, if your baby normally eats table food. Avoid sauces or seasoning. These grains digest quickly and supply needed energy and calories but don’t contain refined sugar.
Article reviewed by Connie Bye Last updated on: Oct 29, 2012