In this article I’m covering such an important topic as ill kids nutrition. I won’t give you strict recipes of food, but tips and general principles of feeding sick children as well as common mistakes parents make.
For it happens sometimes when a child gets a runny nose, he vigorously refuses to eat. And this refusal is understood by parents as a symptom of more tragic and greater danger than the very runny nose.
What to do?
Loss of appetite is a typical sign of almost any disease. Logically, the parents’ actions are obvious: if the child refuses to eat, it means that his body does not feel the need for food, and therefore, both the child and his body ought to be left alone. But it is difficult to act this way, because the amount of health is usually associated with the amount of eaten food.
In fact, a sick baby does not think of the food. The liver is one of the most important organs responsible for the digestive process. And it, firstly, synthesizes the substances that neutralize viruses and bacteria, and, secondly, it detoxifies poisons (toxins of bacteria, disintegrated cells) produced in the body. Naturally, the body strives to free the liver from digestion process that can wait a little, and to load it with more urgent work (to fight the infectious agents). And the more you feed the sick child, the longer and the harder he will be ill.
Sick child nutrition mistakes
Improperly organized nutrition has no time to harm seriously children who have acute diseases because they recover quickly, except, of course, children with stomach, intestines or liver disorders, since proper nutrition is an essential element of treatment in these cases.
But when a child is sick for a long time and he needs strength to fight the disease, improper nutrition almost always causes more frequent and severe exacerbations of the chronic process, and sometimes it is their immediate cause (in case of liver and kidney diseases, gastritis, ulcers, diabetes and bronchial asthma).
The first mistake is to offer the child food at any time of the day and even night. Parents think: “But he does not eat anything and suddenly he wants to, so let him eat something.” And they don’t consider the fact that gastric juice activity is reduced in all sick people, and the scheduled meals promote secretion of gastric juice at a certain time that, in turn, facilitates better digestion.
Of course, you can feed the child 15 – 20 minutes earlier or later, but you shouldn’t essentially violate the set body rhythm.
The second mistake is a desire to feed the child the fatter and more calorie foods since he eats so little. And again, wishing to feed the child, parents don’t consider the fact that the child’s body is weak enough to digest and assimilate such food (cream, butter, sour cream, honey, cocoa), that digestion disorders may appear (vomiting, diarrhea, deterioration of general health condition). Not to mention the fact that the child can lose his poor appetite at all.
The third mistake is supplementation of food with prohibited products and dishes. It’s impossible to forbid the child to eat fried pies or a smoked sausage when he wants them so much, isn’t it?
The fourth mistake is an attempt to feed the child according to the tips on various feeding principles seen, read or heard somewhere even in the authoritative medical sources: diet without meat, the raw food diet, starvation, etc.
After all, adults and children are different – the need for calories, protein, and fat, the ability to digest rough food and to adapt to spicy food and seasonings are different not only in the adults and children, but also in children of different ages, and even with the same disease depending on its form and duration time.
All prescriptions for schedule, nutrition and treatment should be individual.
A child on a strict bed rest should be fed from a spoon even if he is able to eat by himself. Since if the child has some forms of infection in the heart or severe heart defects, even minor efforts, that the child will spend scooping food with the spoon and bringing it to his mouth, can cause serious consequences.
If the bed rest is not strict it is necessary to make a special table at a lateral edge of the bed for the child to eat by himself.
It is very bad to put food on a stool or the bedside table. Because while eating the child has to bend like a corkscrew. And a neat child worries all the time that he gets dirty and, as a result, he spends more energy than if he makes 1 or 2 steps to the table.
Rules of feeding a sick child
To begin with it is necessary to emphasize two aspects of this matter.
1. Specific diseases that require a specific diet, and this diet is often almost a decisive condition for recovery. Two most common examples are:
– salt restriction if a child has kidney disease;
– limitation of sugar if a child has diabetes.
Inflammation processes in the intestine, liver, stomach, pancreas, food poisoning, gastric ulcer, constipation, etc. – all these diseases require special nutrition, certain diet.
2. Universal situation when any acute illness or exacerbation of a chronic disease cause loss of appetite, and it is especially pronounced in children.
Universal rules of feeding a sick child:
1) to consider his appetite primarily;
2) attempts to feed by force are not allowed;
3) to feed more often but in small portions;
4) to avoid experiments during illness – new food should not be used;
5) to prefer digestible, low-fat, warm and liquid food.
Summarizing all the above information, it is worth emphasizing that the family of a sick child must understand that only a doctor can determine what kind of processes is there in their child’s body, and, on this basis, to decide what he can eat and what he cannot.
In order to make a right objective decision, you should consult different doctors independent of each other.