How to Treat Vomiting in Children

There can be many reasons for your baby or child to be sick, or vomit, when the contents of the stomach are forcibly brought up through the mouth. It is very common for young babies to projectile vomit occasionally, and in such cases no treatment is necessary. In some cases, it may just be over-excitement or over-indulging on too many sweets that turns their stomachs and is nothing to worry about. But there can be other causes that need closer attention, particularly if the vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms. If your child vomits for more than six hours, consult your doctor immedi­ately. Common causes of vomiting include:

  • regurgitation: this occurs when a baby regurgitates or possets some milk after feeding, usually when burping. This is quite normal.
  • pyloric stenosis: projectile vomiting (sometimes shooting out by a few feet) in babies around eight to twelve weeks old. This is caused by the thickening of the pyloric muscle which controls the movement of food out of the stomach. Treatment is usually necessary with drugs or surgery.
  • food intolerance: your child may be intolerant or allergic to milk products
  • coughs and colds: the force of coughing can make a child vomit and if the child is swallowing a lot of mucus this can sometimes also cause vomiting
  • food poisoning/gastroenteritis: other symptoms include diarrhoea, raised temperature and loss of appetite. Call for medical assistance if symptoms last more than six hours, because of the risk of dehydration
  • infection: other symptoms may include fever, headaches, loss of appetite and possibly spots or rash
  • meningitis: other symptoms may include severe headache, dislike of bright light, lethargy, drowsiness, stiff neck and sometimes a rash
  • travel sickness: any motion such as air, car or boat travel can set off nausea and vomiting
  • migraine: other symptoms include flashing lights, abdominal pain and numbness in the affected part of the head.

What you can do

Always monitor your child if they are vomiting, even if it is only due to too many sweets, as it can lead to dehydration. Make them comfortable and have a towel in front of them and a bucket nearby to be sick into. Give frequent, small sips of liquid. To help prevent dehydration, give frequent cups of water with a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar added. Give only bland foods and avoid milk until the stomach setdes.

Look out for any other symptoms and signs of dehydra­tion, which include a dry mouth, depressed fontanelle in babies, sunken eyes, hsdessness, and call for medical assistance if you are in the least bit worried.

Medical attention should be sought if the vomiting lasts longer than six hours, but the following complementary therapies may also be beneficial:



Vomiting is a sign that the body is ridding itself of unwanted matter or toxins and a naturopath will look at possible causes for this before treatment. Warm abdominal compresses may be given and ginger tea and white toast recommended once the symptoms have eased. Simple foods such as brown rice and vegetables should be given slowly. Probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus or live yoghurt will help to replace healthy flora in the bowel. Mineral salt sup­plements such as potassium chloride, iron, sodium, calcium, potassium or magnesium phosphates may also be given.

Herbal medicine

Ginger is a well-known remedy for vomit­ing. A herbalist may recommend giving your child some root ginger to chew or recommend an infusion of a teaspoon of grated ginger root in a cup of boiling water which should be strained and cooled before drinking. Chamomile and Peppermint tea will help, as Chamomile is calming and relax­ing to the digestive system and helps to stimulate digestive function while Peppermint has the effect of soothing the bowel and helps prevent wind forming. Meadowsweet may also be recommended for its abilities to soothe the lining of the digestive tract. It can help reduce acidity and calm feel­ings of nausea. Other herbs that may be recommended include Catmint, Fennel, Lavender, Dill and Cinnamon.

Bach Flower Remedies

A practitioner may recommend reme­dies that can help treat the emotions that can accompany vomiting. Guilt would be eased with Pine, while any feelings of distaste, shame of uncleanliness would be removed with Crab Apple. Crab Apple is also useful to help the body cleanse itself. If stress or anxiety is a contributory factor, a number of remedies may help, depending on the child’s nature. Vervain would help the over-active enthusiast, while Mimulus is for the shy, timid child and Rock Water for the perfectionist whom demands too much of her/himself.

Traditional Chinese medicine

Chinese medicine sees vomiting as a food blockage, especially in children under three, cold in the stomach and spleen or heat in the stomach. Signs for heat in the stomach will include a red face, sweating, constipation, loud cries and smelly vomit. Cold signs will include a pale face, diarrhoea, cold sweats, pale vomit containing undigested food. Generally, Ginger will be given to help calm the stomach, but other herbs will be given, depending on diag­nosis. A practitioner will always advise seeing a doctor if the symptoms don’t improve quickly with TCM.


Seek medical attention if your child vomits for more than six hours because of the risk of dehydration. To help prevent dehydration, regularly give your child a cup of water con­taining a pinch of salt and one teaspoon (5ml) of sugar to sip. Other therapies that may be beneficial: naturopathy, acu­puncture, osteopathy.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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