It’s always difficult to get to the bottom of just what’s wrong when your child is sick. Work out the reason and treatment with our expert overview
What causes it?
Vomiting is fairly common in babies who can bring up small amounts of milk (known as posseting), particularly if they swallow lots of air during feeds. This usually becomes less frequent after 12 weeks when your baby’s digestive system is more developed.
‘Vomiting that is sudden and more copious, however, is usually down to a tummy bug known as gastroenteritis,’ explains GP Rebekah Gibbons.
‘These are fairly common in little ones and are usually caused by a viral gut infection. In most cases your child’s immune system should fight off the bug in a couple of days so don’t panic too much.’
What are the symptoms?
Vomiting, particularly after eating, diarrhoea, and tummy pains. Your child may also have a raised temperature, headache and aching limbs.
What can you do?
Monitor the symptoms closely and offer your child regular drinks to ensure she doesn’t become dehydrated. Avoid fruit juice as this can irritate an already sensitive stomach. If you’re bottle or breastfeeding you may want to offer feeds more regularly or supplement feeds with sips of water.
‘If you notice your child is weeing less, this is a sign of dehydration, so speak to your pharmacist about giving an oral rehydration sachet such as Dioralyte,’ says Dr Gibbons. Good hygiene is important to stop the bug spreading to the rest of the family, so wash surfaces and hands even more carefully than usual.
See your GP if…
Your child is under six months, just to be on the safe side, but also in older children if the vomiting persists for more than one or two days, your child has been unable to hold down any fluids and is weeing noticibly less, has severe tummy pain or generally seems unwell (listless, floppy, irritable, headache, stiff neck). This can sometimes be a sign of something more serious, such as a severe infection, appendicitis or even meningitis, so don’t hesitate to call your GP.