One of the most frequent questions I get asked is what do I feed my baby when they are unwell. Here I have put together some tips and recipes for when your baby is feeling unwell with a sore throat, a cold, flu, diarrhoea or constipation and simply won't eat. Colds and flu are very common with the change of seasons. Sometimes after doing everything we possibly can, our babies can still pick up a sore throat or a bug. It can be tricky feeding your baby when they are sick as they may have lost their taste for food, and nothing appeals to them. It is important to give foods rich in vitamins and liquids which will help shorten the sickness and increase hydration levels.
I have also included some tips on how to get back on track as soon as baby is feeling better.
Here are some tips on when your baby is sick:
- That horrible feeling of a stingy sore throat can cause your baby to become so under par. Vitamin C and Vitamin B-6 are important for boosting the immune system so stick to fruits and vegetables. Did you know that ginger is considered a folk medicine? This is a great one for fighting off bugs and infections.
- Colds are difficult to avoid as there are so many strains. It is so important to be feeding your baby lots of fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. They are invaluable for protecting the immune system. Remember with a cold you can have a stuffy nose, a cough and even headaches. Your baby will have a lower sense of smell and taste so they might not be so enthusiastic about food.
- The flu is one that nobody wants to have, young or old. Having a high temperature, aches and pains and even queasiness are all symptoms of the flu. Stick to lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and mainly bland foods that have less texture and are not very spicy.
- Fluids are so necessary when your baby has diarrhoea as they can become quite dehydrated. It is best to stick to binding foods that are not as runny - like plain pasta, rice or banana. Try to stay away from sweet ingredients too as sugar can worsen diarrhoea.
- Fruits and vegetables such as prunes, apples, oranges, celery and carrots are good high fibre foods to have when your baby is constipated. Water is key too for keeping your baby's stools regular.
Try some of these recipes when your baby is sick or not eating:
- Peach Purée with Ginger and Basil. That fresh, zingy flavour will give that added kick when your baby's sense of taste is reduced.
- Vegetable and Lentil Purée. This is packed full of nutritious vegetables and the winner for colds, garlic.
- Hearty Homemade Chicken Soup. This is just the perfect pick-me-up when your baby is sick with a cough or cold.
- Polenta Chips. They are good to try as they are soft and not as jam packed with flavour as other recipes.
- Boiled Egg and Avocado Toast. This is quite plain and gives binding substance.
- Apple, Cinnamon and Prune Purée. This is great for getting more fibre.
There's nothing worse than feeling under the weather so wrap your little one up well in the cold weather and up their intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to boost the immune system.
Tips on getting baby back on track when they are feeling a little better
When your baby is sick you would literally give them anything they would eat so that they keep hydrated and gain energy back. This is all fine but it’s important to get back to your baby’s routine as soon as possible. Here are a few tips on how to achieve this.
- Start off by offering your child their favourite meal. They are only building their appetite back up so don’t be worried if they do not eat it all.
- If your child struggles with finger food then hold off until they are back to normal before offering.
- Continue to offer purées that are high in Vitamin C as this will help the body recover.
- Take each day as it comes and continue to offer foods at each meal. Try not to offer alternatives if your baby does not accept the foods. Remember this may go on for a few days and by offering alternatives you will only prolong the delay in getting back onto normal foods.
- At all times make sure your baby is getting enough liquid, after that it might just take a few days for them to get their appetite back.
Our Weaning Advice page provides information and advice on weaning your baby. It includes recipes, tips, and articles on a variety of topics related to weaning, such as introducing finger food, adding herbs and spices to baby food, and healthy snacks for your baby, and lots more