If your child isn’t tolerating feeds, a good starting point is at 50% formula and 50% hydration solution, like Pedialyte. We recommend not using sports drinks because added sugars can make other symptoms of the illness, like diarrhea, worse. For older children, you may be able to dilute with water if they aren’t experiencing as much vomiting and diarrhea.
Very often you need to slow feeds down. Whether you are continuous or bolus feeding, you likely will need to run feeds for longer than you usually do. If your child is running a fever, you may also need to add additional free water to maintain hydration. This can be done in the form of water flushes throughout the day.
If you are using a blenderized diet, consider the foods you include in your blend. Stick to the basics of what you would eat while you are sick. Avoid foods that are harder to digest, like dairy and oils.
There can be some trial and error. If your child still isn’t tolerating 50% of his calories, you may opt to go to 100% Pedialyte and/or water and slow feeds down further.
If you are J feeding, you may not have to make as many modifications. However, you may still need to lower calories and increase hydration. If you see increased retching and vomiting, you may have to vent or drain the G-port more often.
It can take a week or so for full motility (how food moves through the GI tract) to return to normal – it can be longer depending on the severity of the illness. You can increase calories and return to the normal schedule as tolerated.