Every kid gets it at some point – the dreaded stomach virus. Your happy baby/toddler seemingly out of nowhere starts vomiting and it lasts anywhere from 6-48 hours. We have actually dealt with Norovirus in our house the last two Januarys in a row. Both times it started with Harry and then took both of us parents down hard. There are very few things that are worse, and after dealing with this first hand too many times, I’ve come up with a bit of a survival guide for the stomach bug. Fingers crossed you won’t have to use this, but it’s a good idea to have some of these on hand, because when the stomach bug moves in, it moves in fast (no time for a grocery store run).
Pedialyte/Drip Drop/Breastmilk. When your poor little one is throwing up, the risk is always dehydration. It’s very important to keep fluids in your child to prevent hospitalization, but it can be hard to convince them that drinking is going to help. If your little one is still breastfeeding, make sure to feed a little extra during those sick times. If not, both Pedialyte and Drip Drop are good to keep your little one hydrated and replace those lost electrolytes.
Easy on the stomach foods. A few hours after your child seems to stop vomiting it’s important to make sure they eat what they can. Soup, scrambled eggs, toast, oatmeal, and pancakes are all good options. Avoid anything acidic (like orange juice), sugary, greasy, or spicy.
A bucket or bowl. Believe me, you’ll want to keep one of these near by at all times. Kids aren’t great at letting you know when they’re about to be sick (they don’t know themselves!) so it’s near impossible to get to the bathroom each time. A bucket or deep bowl will save you lots of cleaning.
A towel. Again, you’re going to want to lay down a towel on top of the couch or bed where they are laying. It’s much easier to throw a towel in the wash than scrub your couch if they miss the bucket.
Movies and books. This is the time to allow your child screen time. You need them to rest and relax and Harry always has a hard time with this. He’ll throw up then want to run around and play. We try to watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books, calmly and quietly, when he is sick to help him recover faster. Your kids will definitely need more sleep as well, so an early nap/bed time will be helpful.
Lysol Wipes (or similar). Stomach bugs like Norovirus are extremely contagious, so you’re going to want to wipe down any surface your child comes in contact with to prevent anyone else getting sick. I’ve found the easiest is to have cleaning wipes, instead of my usual cleaning solution and rag, on hand for cleanups.
Rubber gloves and a mask. You may feel ridiculous wearing a mask around your child when he or she is actively being sick, but bugs like Norovirus are contagious by swallowing aerosolized particles that are dispersed in the air after an infected person vomits. You really want to minimize your probability of getting the bug. The rubber gloves are good to use when cleaning up messes, because coming in contact with surfaces that are contaminated is another way to get the virus.
Lots of love. Harry was really freaked out about throwing up. I can only imagine, not only was he feeling awful, but he was probably really confused, as throwing up is not a normal occurrence. It may mean you contact the virus yourself, but in my opinion loving on Harry extra when he’s sick and scared is (almost?) worth it. Your baby needs extra back rubs, hugs, songs, and love.