The Stomach Flu at 18 Months

Last month my daughter had the stomach flu and it lasted about a week.  It seemed like the days and nights would never end, and it seemed like my baby girl would never get better.  But if you are going through it - I promise it will get better.  I remember how tough it was for my baby, and for me to feel so helpless.  I wanted to share the symptoms she had in case anyone finds them helpful.

I'm not sure exactly how she got the bug, but the first time she threw up was while we were out shopping.  I bought her one of those organic baby fruit pouches, she gulped it down, and fell asleep in her stroller.  Instead of actually taking a long nap, she woke up in about 30 minutes - I thought it was because we weren't home but then she threw up all over me and the floor while I was walking towards the bathroom with her in my arms to change her diaper.  My theory is that it might have been the pouch of fruit, it has happened before (the throwing up after eating a store bought fruit pouch) but this time she got a little better, only to get worse the following day. 

Although taken back, I wasn't too worried about her throwing up the first day.  She showed no signs of feeling ill, so I continued to feed her as I would.  Her appetite wasn't quite the same but she still wanted to eat plenty that day.  Then the next night right before bedtime she vomited again, and this time it didn't stop.  It was never ending, she threw up with minutes in between until everything in her stomach was out.  So for the next three days, she was unable to keep anything down.  Even when she wanted to drink, it would come back out violently.  I started giving her little sips of Pedialyte, which she was okay with the first day - then she started to gag with that as well.  She was able to nurse, fall asleep, then wake up and throw up.  Naturally when your child is unable to hold anything in, you don't even think of offering food.  I continued to offer her Pedialyte until she couldn't tolerate it anymore, then sips of water (because she asked for it), and nursed over and over again - even if she threw up right after. 

She had a fever at some point that went away on it's own.  I didn't want to give her any medicine on a completely empty stomach - and it would have been gagged out anyway.  She was noticeably much thinner, all she did was hug me and fall asleep.  It was a horrible experience.  The only reason I was able to keep calm was because I knew she was at least nursing, if it wasn't for breastfeeding I would have took her to the doctor for an IV for dehydration.  Although she was holding in her liquids better by the 4th or 5th day, she was gagging with Pedialyte and even breast-milk - to a point that she no longer wanted to nurse.  Also at one point, it seemed like she was getting better only to start throwing up again.  Just that it wasn't as dramatic since she had nothing to puke out.  I still can remember how heartbreaking that feeling was, to hold my little baby girl in that condition and not be able to do anything about it right away.

Once she was able to hold in her liquids a little better, and saw that she looked a little better I started to offer her what I can from the "BRAT" diet.  Banana, rice, apple sauce and toast.  My daughter has the same diet as her brother so we don't have toast - so I offered her the other three.  She was interested in eating, and had little bits of it here and there.  But then diarrhea started.  It was horrible.  It wasn't just a normal stomach ache, her diaper would leak and the smell was bad.  She was in so much pain every time she had to go, and she would go so many times.  Anything that went in had to come out.  But I continued to nurse her as much as she would want it.  She almost stopped breastfeeding completely because of being traumatized from throwing up so much, and only would when she was in a deep sleep so I took advantage of that time.

It took a very long time, and I was so scared that she may never love food again.  I was scared she had weaned herself off nursing for good.  I was scared she'd never gain her weight again.  But before I knew it, she was back, back to her playful, full of appetite self.  If you are out there dealing with what you know is the stomach flu, hang in there, offer lots of love and know it will get better. 

*My experience, and opinions.  Not medical advice.