- Child drinks less than normal amounts of fluid
- Main cause. Mouth ulcers or sore throat.
- Common cause in babies. Blocked nose in bottle or breastfed infant. Reason: Can’t breathe while sucking.
- Common cause. Nausea (upset stomach) from a virus, but without vomiting.
- Trouble breathing with a viral illness that affects breathing such as croup. Reason: Baby gets tired out from sucking and breathing at the same time.
- Dehydration. This is the health problem where the body has lost too much fluid.
When to Call Us for Drinking Fluids – Decreased
Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If:
- Not moving or very weak
- You think your child has a life-threatening emergency
Call Us Now (night or day) If:
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Too weak to suck or drink
- Signs of dehydration, such as:
- Has not passed urine in more than 8 hours
- Crying does not cause tears
- Very dry mouth
- Sunken soft spot
- Sleepy child
- Will not drink or drinks very little for more than 8 hours
- Will not drink and new onset of drooling
- Could have swallowed a coin or other foreign body
- Trouble breathing
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
Call Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If:
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Poor drinking and also has fever
- Poor drinking lasts more than 3 days
Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If:
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If:
- Drinking adequate amount of fluids AND no signs of dehydration
Care Advice for Drinking Fluids – Decreased
What You Should Know:
- Eating less solids during an illness is normal.
- Drinking less fluids is not.
- So far, your child does not have any signs of dehydration.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
Offer Lots of Fluids:
- Give your child lots of their favorite liquid.
- Use fluids like chocolate milk, fruit drinks, water or even soft drinks. The type doesn’t matter. The type only matters if your child has diarrhea or starts throwing up.
- Don’t worry about solid food intake.
- It’s normal not to feel hungry or want to eat when sick.
- Preventing dehydration is the only thing that is important.
For A Sore Mouth:
- If the mouth is sore, give cold drinks.
- Do not use citrus juices.
- For babies, offer fluids in a cup, spoon or syringe rather than a bottle. Reason: The nipple may increase pain.
- To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
Liquid Antacid for Mouth Sores:
- For mouth pain, use a liquid antacid such as Mylanta or the store brand. Give 4 times per day as needed. After meals often is a good time. Age: For children over 1 year old.
- For children over age 6, can use 1 teaspoon (5 ml) as a mouth wash. Keep it on the ulcers as long as possible. Then can spit it out or swallow it.
- For younger children age 1 to 6, put a few drops in the mouth. Can also put it on with a cotton swab.
- Caution: Do not use regular mouth washes, because they sting.
Nasal Washes To Open a Blocked Nose:
- Use saline nose drops or spray to loosen up the dried mucus. If you don’t have saline, you can use warm tap water.
- STEP 1: Put 3 drops in each nostril. (If age under 1 year old, use 1 drop. Also, do 1 side at a time.)
- STEP 2: Blow (or suction) each nostril out while closing off the other nostril. Then, do the other side.
- STEP 3: Repeat nose drops and blowing (or suctioning) until the discharge is clear.
- How often: Do nasal washes when your child can’t breathe through the nose. Limit: No more than 4 times per day.
- Saline nose drops or spray can be bought in any drugstore. No prescription is needed.
- Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use 1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) of table salt. Stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces or 240 ml) of warm water.
- Reason for nose drops: Suction or blowing alone can’t remove dried or sticky mucus. Also, babies can’t nurse or drink from a bottle unless the nose is open.
- Other option: use a warm shower to loosen mucus. Breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.
- For young children, can also use a wet cotton swab to remove sticky mucus.
For Shortness of Breath:
- For trouble breathing, feed more often. Feed every ½ hour.
- Offer smaller amounts per feeding.
- Reason: This allows your baby to rest in between feedings.
Call Your Doctor If:
- Trouble swallowing gets worse
- Signs of dehydration occur
- Poor drinking lasts more than 3 days
- Your child becomes worse