by Joanne Adams
My daughter is 3 1/2 months and she is sick quite bad. She now refuses to eat. She had her last bottle at half six pm last night.
I have tried to give her one and she is just being sick on it an she is gagging in it. She even gags on her dummy. What do I do please?
Baby Help Line:
What To Do When Sick Baby Refuses To Eat
Poor baby. I don’t know what time of the day you wrote this message, but such a young baby should of course eat a lot more often than once per day. A really sick baby may refuse to eat for various reasons, but you must still get liquid into her. If she has no appetite, she still at least needs some oral electrolyte solution, so she stays hydrated. That is extremely important!
Sometimes a sick baby may not want to drink because she can’t breathe. If she has a stopped up nose, which is especially likely since she gags on her dummy as well as on the bottle, you may want to use saline nose drops.
You can make these by adding 0.5 teaspoons of table salt to 1 cup of boiled water. After the solution has come to room temperature, put one drop in each nostril then suck with the 1 ounce rubber syringe (suction bulb). Do this before each feeding and at bed time. This will make it easier for the child to breathe.
Other reasons your baby may not want to eat are a sore throat and nausea. In case of a sore throat, you can heat a pot of water, add a teaspoon of olive or peach oil in it and let the baby breath in the vapors. This is similar to what the cough and sore throat relieve lozenges do: release oil to cover the throat. But as the baby can’t really eat the lozenge without swallowing or, even worse, choking on it, the oil has to be inhaled. Just don’t make the water too hot and don’t use the essential oils, as those may cause allergies.
Ask your doctor for advice regarding Tylenol, if you think your baby may be in pain, or her fever is so high that she doesn’t want to eat for that reason.
If she gags on formula or breast milk, try with the oral electrolyte solution (rehydration solution) and maybe only a teaspoon at the time. Babies that have a stomach bug or even just a bad cold with a lot of mucus, may vomit very easily if they eat too much.
Start feeding your baby rehydration solution immediately. If you can’t go out to buy any, you can make your own rehydration solution by boiling 6 teaspoons of sugar and 0.5 teaspoons of table salt in one litre (4.5 cups) of clean water.
If your baby appears dehydrated, (tired, doesn’t urinate or urine is dark yellow), start feeding her 2 teaspoons of the solution every five minutes and at the same time call the doctor for advice. Find more signs of dehydration in this thread
If she is dehydrated, you need to feed her even if she is asleep. Take her up, hold her in an upright position and gently push the spoon into her mouth. You can wake her up just a little bit to make her swallow. Keep going.
I sat with my baby daughter doing this many hours at night when she had a stomach bug. The ER told me I could do this at home or in the hospital. Same procedure. I stayed at home, and she slowly got better.
I understand that this may sound very scary, but with a little baby that doesn’t eat, one really has to act. Dehydration is very dangerous for them.
I hope your daughter is better soon and not dehydrated.
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