Trying to feed the sick and the weary

Nothing is worse than when your kid gets sick. I don’t care how old they are, you feel helpless in a way you never thought possible. I remember the very first time Melanie, my oldest, got sick. She was four months old. It was allegedly a cold. We ended up in the emergency room and spending a couple of days in the hospital because of “pneumonia” (this is in quotes because we’d later learn that there was a bigger issue). I had a four month old who couldn’t breath. We spent the better part of a year in an out of hospitals and seeing all kinds of doctors. It turned out that she had a slight developmental delay that was causing her esophagus not the function properly, which was causing her to get fluids in her lungs. With some great medical professionals and time, she outgrew it.

However, now that I’ve tugged your heart strings a bit (don’t worry, she’s barely ever had so much as a cold since), let’s talk about feeding the sick kid. Before the doctors figured out what was happening, we spent a year or so with the child projectile vomiting on a pretty regular basis. Doctors told me about the “BRAT” diet. We tried. But she would only eat the bananas. But, we discovered some foods she could eat. Mashed potatoes can be a great food for a little one that is having tummy troubles. Sure, I kept them a little more bland than I do for myself these days, but they are mild, can be made rather subtle in flavor, and yet are filling. Oatmeal was also a big hit. Again, you can keep it simple, just add a little applesauce or any pureed fruit.

As they’ve grown older, we’ve experienced all manners of illness, as kids do. Mashed potatoes are still a prime choice with the older two. The youngest one won’t touch them. I will have to say the youngest as not been sick often, and it’s usually just a cold, so it doesn’t really impact her eating other than how much energy she has or is using. And my oldest is “adulting,” so I have not had to cater to her during an illness lately.

But I recently went through an illness with Katie, and it reminded me of what a challenge this can be. We came up with some options to eat when you are suffering from one of those illnesses where you are sure anything you put in your stomach will not stay. Plain pasta is a good option. She prefers ramen noodles without the seasoning, but any plain pasta would work. Toast also works if your child will eat it without the usual spreads. Quinoa or rice with just a bit of salt is gentle. The aforementioned bananas or mashed potatoes are an option. Hot tea can also be good if you choose a mild-flavored tea. The best is find something not too filling, not too spicy, but that is edible.

Hopefully, the kids just never get sick and can just eat what they like. But since we don’t live in a fairy tale, I thought I would share some minor thoughts that occurred to me.

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