Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Coping with Stomach Flu

My hubby had to travel last week - his first time away since our baby was born. So obviously all of us were a little nervous about everything...how the baby would behave after he left, how I would manage every single day with a full time job and the baby, how my hubby would cope being away from her etc. In any case, he left for an overseas trip on Sunday evening and as I was about to step out the door to get to work on Monday morning, the little one suddenly threw up all of her milk on the kitchen floor. It was so sudden and forceful and it just wouldn't stop! Mind you - this from a 10.5 month old baby who has never been ill so far (knock on wood!). So after she threw up, I gave her some water followed by Gripe Water (this is the Indian mommy in me). But she threw that up instantly as well!

I was stumped! Called the doctor's office and all they said was she does not need to come in for a visit yet. Asked us to give her half strength formula for the next 2 feedings and no solids at all. Then if she is ok, I can give her regular formula and light food such as crackers, cereal, etc. So after the nanny convincing me that she'll be ok, I left for work. The baby seemed to do fine the rest of the day on half strength formula. So the next morning I thought she is out of it and life is back to normal. So I gave the nanny a her usual regular strength bottle and stepped in the shower. I come out to see that the nanny is wiping the chair and poor baby had thrown up all of it again :-(

So this time I call and make a doctor's appointment, cancel going to work. The doc explained that it is probably a combination of a stomach virus and some teething (she went potty twice and was a little more liquidy than usual). She said we probably hurried in getting her back to the normal strength formula. Asked us to go easy on solids and continue with the half strength bottle for a while. Then gradually bring her back to normal diet and bottle. There is no medication for this but it takes a couple days or more for the stomach flu to pass. Whew! I have never seen the poor little one sick before. And between feedings she really was not sick as such - she was playing and laughing fine. Its just that she lost interest in eating all of a sudden - even refused to nurse from me the first 2 days!

So anyways, I wanted to figure out what to give her to eat and got all sorts of conflicting advise from our Indian nanny. The doc says to give rice but the nanny says rice is heavy. The doc says to give banana but the nanny says bananas are heavy. The doc said no citrus fruits cause it might cause irritation in the stomach but my nanny gave cherries (I am just glad she did not give strawberries from the fridge)! My mom and mum-in-law say give Gripe Water 2-3 times a day but the baby always throws it out. Other suggestions were - dal ka paani (lentil soup), jeera ka paani (water boiled with cumin), laung ka paani (water boiled with cloves), sauf ka paani (water boiled with fennel) and so on...

Finally it was my close friend who gave me an easy to remember recipe in such cases. It is called the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice (Cereal or just Rice), Applesauce and Toast (or White Bread). This was sooo helpful and so easy to remember! She also said no yogurt (though in India we think yogurt is light and easy to digest) but since it has dairy the docs don't recommend it here during diarrhea/vomiting. Also Pedialyte was suggested strongly amongst all my friends instead of any solids or the types of waters that were mentioned above. Pedialyte for those Indian moms is like Electral powder that we get in India to replenish lost fluids and nutrients during dehydration.

So I got her on bananas, rice, pedialyte (though she didn't take a lot of that), crackers and apples (she refused applesauce). Then gradually gave her some lentil soup followed by churi (minced chappatis with ghee and gud) which was kinda closer to her original diet. Thankfully she has been able to digest these so far! She has also graduated from half to 3/4th strength formula bottles during the day (I nurse her at night).

We are now waiting for daddy to return home tomorrow and all will be well again :-)

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