No mum likes to see their baby ill and will do everything to ensure they are healthy and happy. Unfortunately though, viruses attack and they can come down with a bug no matter how careful you are.


One of the most common childhood illnesses is gastroenteritis, or the stomach bug, and can be really severe in babies and young children.  


1. Symptoms

Initially your child will be off their food and a little irritable, but within 24- 48 hours they can experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea which can last up to a week
  • Fever
  • Stomach pains – although this can be hard to detect in young babies

2. How can you treat it?                 

One of the risks of a stomach bug is dehydration so it is important you keep their fluid intake up. Look out for signs of drowsiness, dry mouth and lips, not urinating and cold hands and feet which can be an indication of dehydration.

  • Unless instructed by your doctor, do not give your little one medicine to stop the vomiting or diarrhoea
  • If you are breastfeeding make sure you continue to do so, upping the number of feeds if your little one is only taking a little milk
  • If bottle feeding, try small but frequent amounts
  • Offer your baby a drink every time after they vomit

3. Complications

If your little one experiences severe dehydration they may need to be admitted to hospital in order to get their fluids up. They will be treated with a tube through the nose called a Nasogastric tube or intravenously with a drip. While it can be frightening to see your young child hooked up like this know that it is helping them get better.



4. When to call your doctor

While you should always trust your instincts and call your GP if you have any concerns, the following symptoms should always be checked by a medical healthcare worker:

  • Your baby is under six months
  • Vomiting for more than 24 hours
  • Vomit is green
  • Your child has not been able to hold down liquids for the past eight hours
  • They are showing signs of dehydration
  • They have had diarrhoea for ten days or it is very severe
  • There is blood in their poo