The Stomach Bug Strikes! What to Feed My Toddler with the Stomach Flu

It’s the bane of every parent’s existence. The stomach bug. In my experience with Elle, stomach viruses come out of nowhere. One minute your child is happy and playing and the next, it’s a night camped out on the bathroom floor.

This can happen because toddlers often can’t identify what their bodies are telling them if they have never experienced it before. Sometimes their first time throwing up is frightening as they weren’t expecting it, so as parents, it’s up to us to explain. Reassuring your child that vomiting is normal when they aren’t well is important, especially if it’s going to keep happening.

Whether something didn’t agree with your child’s stomach or if they’re experiencing a stomach bug, there is always the moment when it comes time to test the waters. If Elle has stopped vomiting for 4-6 hours, isn’t showing other symptoms, and is keeping down sips of water or electrolyte solutions, typically I take that as a sign she might be ready to try a little solid food.

What to Do if Your Child is Throwing Up After Eating or Won’t Eat at All

If your child is still vomiting after eating, take a step back to fluids. Sometimes bugs run their course in 24 hours and sometimes they take longer. The most important thing you can do is keep them hydrated.

Sometimes at this point children can be too traumatized to eat. The fear that they may vomit again, which we can all admit is not a pleasant experience, holds them back from eating at all. Be patient and reassure them that everything will be okay.

Encourage them to start with a bite of something bland, but don’t force them to eat. Instead, focus on keeping them hydrated. It is normal to not have an appetite after having the stomach flu. If they still refuse to eat for a long period of time, consult your pediatrician.

What Should I Feed My Child After Vomiting

After it has been 4-6 hours since the last time your little one upchucked and they are keeping down fluids, you can start trying to feed them these recommended foods:

  • Plain cereal
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Peeled fruit
  • Lean protein
  • Cooked vegetables

While many still stick to the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) after the stomach flu, doctors now recommend reducing sugar intake and implementing small amounts of the child’s regular diet.

How Long Does The Stomach Viral Flu Last In A Child

Typically the stomach flu lasts 24-48 hours in children, but some children have symptoms for up to 10 days. If your child suffers from symptoms past 48 hours, contact a medical professional as they are at risk for dehydration.


It’s never easy seeing your little one suffer, but remember to take care of yourself too by sanitizing everything. You won’t be much good if you catch the virus too. I’ve made that mistake before and it’s not pretty.

Don’t forget, while this might be gross and difficult to deal with, it will pass. When it finally does, you and your little one can get back to snuggles and fun. It just takes a little time.

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