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Thread: Stomach Virus

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Stomach Virus

    My little girl woke at 2:00 vomiting & didn't stop until 7:30. I called my ped & they suggested that I stopped BF & give her pedialyte. WHAT? I thought breast was best always. At any rate, they shrugged it off as a stomach bug & said to give her at least 8 with no vomitting hours before I can BF. What's the general opinion? She has no fever & has had 2 mucousy(sp??) green diapers since this morning. Does she have a virus & should I not BF?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Stomach Virus

    I am certainly not an expert - in fact, I am very new to this site. I'm unable to link the page for you (mostly computer illiterate ) but if you search on the kellymom website, it states that if there is one thing your child SHOULD eat when they are sick, it is your breastmilk. Dr. Greene's website says the same thing. When a child is vomiting, you should DEFINITELY continue breastfeeding - you should, however, make your lo's feedings smaller and more frequent. If your baby overfills his tummy when sick, it will make vomiting more likely. If your baby normally eats every 3 to 4 hours, instead, try feeding your baby every hour or two in smaller amounts. Follow your baby's cues - when my lo got a stomach virus, he wanted to eat more frequently and not eat as much at a feeding (whenever we have a stomach virus - we usually want to nibble on a cracker frequently and don't usually want a big, full meal - KWIM?) Hang in there!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Stomach Virus

    Here's the kellymom info I was talking about (I can cut and paste - just can't link)

    Vomiting and Diarrhea

    Another time when moms can be unsure about whether to continue nursing is when baby has diarrhea or is vomiting. Frequent and loose stools in a breastfed baby is not necessarily diarrhea. Here is more information on normal stooling patterns for breastfed babies: What Are Baby's Stools Supposed to Look Like? Diarrhea in a breastfed baby is diagnosed when a baby has 12-16 stools per day (or more often than the baby's regular stool frequency), watery stools, and an offensive odor to the stools. Just one of these symptoms does not in itself mean the baby has diarrhea.

    The current recommendations when vomiting or diarrhea is present in the breastfed child are as follows:

    Breastfeeding should be the FIRST choice if your child can take anything by mouth. Because of the ease and rapidity with which breastmilk is digested, even if your child vomits or stools shortly after nursing, he will still have retained some of the nutrients. Other foods that are often suggested (such as Pedialyte, sports drinks, gelatins and sodas) offer little nutritional value and none of the antibodies that human milk contains.

    When your breastfed child is ill you'll want to offer more frequent feedings -- this can limit the volume taken in at one time and helps to comfort and soothe a sick child. If your child is vomiting often and not keeping the milk down for long, it may be helpful to breastfeed frequently but limit the length of each nursing session (so your child takes in less milk at once). Another option is for Mom to express some milk before breastfeeding so that the milk flow is slower. RARELY does the baby who is allowed to breastfeed at will during a vomiting or diarrhea illness become dehydrated.
    The use of an oral rehydration therapy such as Pedialyte is a sound recommendation for a formula-fed infant who is vomiting or who has diarrhea, but using this in place of breastmilk offers no benefit to the breastfed baby. Human milk is a natural fluid, unlike formula and other milk products, that again is easily and rapidly digested.

    Forego the Pedialyte as long as baby continues to nurse well and as long as there are no signs of dehydration. If baby is showing signs of dehydration, talk to your doctor. Following are signs of dehydration:

    fewer than 2 wet diapers in a 24-hour period
    baby not behaving normally (more irritable, less active, sleeping more)
    weak cry
    no tears (in an infant older than 3 months)
    dry mouth
    skin that stays wrinkly-looking when pinched (pull up the skin on the front of the hand; it should pop easily back into place - not stay pinched or wrinkly-looking)
    eyes that look sunken
    cool, clammy extremities, especially the fingers and toes
    fast breathing, or a heart that is beating faster than usual

    Babies who are allowed to continue breastfeeding through an illness such as this are less likely to become dehydrated than those who are taken off the breast. Continued nursing also provides your child with precious antibodies that will prevent the illness from worsening and speed healing. Nursing is also very comforting to your child, which is healing in itself.

    Breastfed babies sometimes need oral rehydration therapy (Pedialyte, etc), though far less often than artificially fed infants. The World Health Organization recommends continuing to breastfeed during and after oral rehydration therapy. Research shows that babies lose more weight and actually have more stools during diarrhea when they are deprived of breastmilk.

    Sometimes moms are recommended to withhold breastmilk "because it is a dairy product." Breastmilk is NOT considered a dairy or milk product (mom is not a cow!).

    Anytime there is diarrhea (in s as well as babies) it can take a while for the bowel to heal and the stools to get back to normal. So even if you identify the problem and take corrective action, you may not see favorable results for a few weeks. This is because if the bowel gets irritated it is harder for the bowel to digest lactose - the undigested lactose then actually creates more irritation and runny stools... it can be tough to turn around at times. There is usually an inflammatory response with diarrhea - that is the part that takes time to heal. When the cause of the problem is removed (when baby recovers from the illness), the gut will heal even if the baby is still fed breastmilk. More here on secondary lactose intolerance.

    Breastmilk vs. Pedialyte

    When baby is sick, moms are sometimes told to discontinue or restrict breastfeeding and substitute an oral rehydration therapy such as Pedialyte. This outdated practice has been shown to offer no benefits to the breastfed baby, and can even delay healing.

    Your milk has four things that your baby needs even more than usual when he's sick:

    Antibodies to fight this illness - you want baby to get as much of these as possible. Encourage *more* nursing rather than less. Pedialyte has no antibodies.
    Liquids to keep baby hydrated. Your baby may not be eating as much because he doesn't feel well. Sick babies are more likely to nurse than to take anything else by mouth, so nursing is important to keep baby hydrated. Keeping baby well hydrated also helps keep the mucus secretions thinned out if baby has a cold or other congestion. So again, you want to nurse *more*. Pedialyte will keep baby hydrated, but so will breastmilk.
    Concentrated nutrients. Breastmilk is easily and quickly digested, so baby gets more nutrients and absorbs them faster. Pedialyte will keep baby hydrated but has little nutritional value. Again, it's best to nurse *more* since baby may not be eating as much if he feels bad.
    Comfort. Sick babies need more comforting - what better way to do this than at the breast?

    See the section above for more information on the use of Pedialyte in breastfed babies - Breastfed babies sometimes do need oral rehydration therapy (Pedialyte, etc), though far less often than artificially fed infants. The World Health Organization recommends continuing to breastfeed during and after oral rehydration therapy.

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