Shaken Baby Syndrome

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Amniotic fluid problems

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Choosing a pre-school

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Newborn reflexes

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Pelvic floor exercises

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Antenatal Classes

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  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52


Vomiting is very common in children. A single episode is unlikely to be serious and is usually due to overeating, eating something that does not agree with them, or it may occur in response to an exciting or stressful event. Recurrent vomiting may be due to an infection in the digestive tract or other area of the body. If your child is generally unwell and her vomiting is associated with fluid and/or weight loss and pain, it is advisable to seek medical attention (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


Vomiting in young infants

Young babies often harmlessly spit up or simply regurgitate small amounts of milk. This may be related to a temporary feeding problem or swallowing air and is usually not related to a medical illness, especially if your baby is well in general and is gaining weight normally. However, if your baby is failing to thrive or put on weight and brings up large amounts of milk, she may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux and require medical treatment (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


Vomiting may also be a sign of illness or infection such as gastroenteritis, bronchiolitis, meningitis or roseola. Call your doctor immediately if vomiting continues for 6 hours and is accompanied by any of the following symptoms: drowsiness, sunken eyes, loose skin, small amounts of dark urine, diarrhoea or fever. Until medical assistance is available, use fever reduction and rehydration techniques (see previous sections) (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


If your baby appears to be unwell, produces a greenish-yellow vomit (bile) and has sudden, severe abdominal pain, it may indicate an intestinal obstruction. Call an ambulance and do not give your baby anything to eat or drink (Collins), 2003).


An uncommon condition that occurs predominantly in male infants under 2 months of age is called pyloric stenosis. The pylorus is the outlet leading from the stomach into the small intestine. If the pylorus is severely narrowed, only a small amount of food is able to enter the intestine. The remaining food builds up in the stomach and is ejected under force, resulting in projectile vomiting or vomit coming out at several feet (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


If your baby has any of the above symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. He will perform a physical examination while your baby is feeding to feel for a swelling in the area of the pylorus. If pyloric stenosis is suspected, your child will be re-examined in hospital and an ultrasound will be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Fluid will be given intravenously for dehydration, if necessary. A minor surgical procedure is used to widen the pylorus and relieve the obstruction. Once treated, pyloric stenosis does not recur nor does it have any permanent side-effects (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


Vomiting in older infants and children

Vomiting in this age group is most commonly caused by an infection or irritation of the lining of the stomach and intestines called gastritis. Symptoms include nausea, mild stomach discomfort, diarrhoea and retching or ‘dry heaves’. Call your doctor immediately if your child appears to be dehydrated or if symptoms show no signs of improvement within 24 hours (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990).


What to do when your child is vomiting

·                Support your child’s head while she is vomiting. Once she has stopped, give her a sip of water to rinse out her mouth. Gently sponge her forehead and face.

·                The experience of vomiting may be upsetting or frightening; give your child plenty of reassurance.

·                Encourage your child to have small sips of water or rehydrating solution to prevent dehydration (see Diarrhoea). Only begin offering liquids 1 hour after vomiting has occurred, so that your child’s stomach is able to settle. Offer small amounts every 10-15 minutes and increase the amount gradually. Do not force your child to drink. If vomiting recurs, give her liquids a teaspoonful at a time.

·                Give only clear liquids for the first 24 hours. Crushed ice, popsicles (made from frozen juice at home), flat carbonated liquids (ginger ale/cola), clear soup broth and sports beverages (Energade) are generally well tolerated.

·                Let your child lie down and rest until she feels better or there has been no vomiting for 24 hours.

·                Place a bowl next to her bed so she doesn’t have to worry about getting to the toilet in time, in the event of a recurrence of vomiting.

·                Use the same observation techniques for dehydration as discussed in the section on diarrhoea.

·                If your child wants food, slowly introduce saltine crackers. Do not give any milk or solid foods in the first 24 hours.

·                Once vomiting has subsided, begin reintroducing diluted skim milk, refined rice, cereal, clear juices and bananas. Continue with small, more frequent feeds as these are usually better tolerated by a vomiting child. Avoid giving your child fruit with peels, raw vegetables or coarse cereal until she has fully recovered.

·                Medication to stop the vomiting is usually not necessary. Do not give your child any medication without consulting your doctor. If your doctor suspects that your child has a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed (Collins, 2003; Leary, 1990; NDDIC, 2008).


Consult your doctor if

·                You suspect that your child’s vomiting is secondary to some other illness that requires treatment, such as a cold, ear infection or tonsillitis.

·                Your child appears to be drowsy or confused.

·                Your child is experiencing sharp, intense abdominal pain, painful and/or frequent urination, high fever that won’t subside, or a severe cough.

·                Any signs of dehydration are present (Collins, 2003; NDDIC, 2008).