Listen to the Latest Podcast

Help! My Toddler Threw Up after Overeating


My toddler threw up after eating too much. What should I do?
Photo by James Emery/Flickr

My Toddler Threw Up!

More than once in my career have I had a parent say to  me, “My toddler threw up after eating! What should I do?”

Thanks to MN for writing to update me on her daughter’s progress, and for making my day with her kind words.

Dear Jill,

I have been following you on Facebook and your blog for a while and I wanted to thank you so much for everything. The lessons you have taught me have been invaluable.  

That being said, I contacted you a while ago with regards to my daughter who is a toddler.  My husband and I are both very slim and fit people who have never had to really watch our weight.  

However, our daughter is in the 90th percentile for weight and is very much obsessed with food. This has gotten SO MUCH BETTER since you let me know that I was monitoring her food intake too closely.  

Since then we have given her more choices and let her decide when she is full and she has in turn seemed to regulate what she is eating and food doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue.  So, THANK YOU!!!  

A new problem has arrived recently that when she goes out to eat with anyone she will overeat. Yesterday she did it to the point that she threw up.  

I am wondering if there is something I can do to help address this problem.  Please let me know if you have any pointers. Thank you!!!

My answer:

Thanks for your kind words!

If you haven’t started to talk about hunger and fullness (happy belly=satisfied; hungry belly=needs to eat) with your daughter, it’s time to start helping her identify her internal feelings, and also teach her that eating happens mostly when we are hungry.

Also, when it seems like she has had enough to eat, or she is slowing down, you can ask her if she is ready to do something else (go play, etc).

Sometimes it’s hard at restaurants b/c there is a lot of food, and a lot of sitting.

How did she feel after she threw up? You can associate how yucky it feels to eat too much, how that resulted in throwing up, and maybe trying to pause after eating a reasonable amount.

With toddlers you want to keep it simple but definitely make associations so they learn.

I wouldn’t make too big a deal of it.

I would treat the event as a ‘woops, remember what happened when you ate too much? That’s why we have to listen to our tummy…’

Just make it a teachable moment.

What do you think? Do you have any other words of advice for this mom?

Raising healthy kids can be a tough job with lots of challenges peppered along the way. My program, The Nourished Child Project, can help you strike a nutritious food balance, feed with love and limits, and implement healthy habits to last a lifetime. The Nourished Child Project, a nutrition class for parents to raise healthy kids through good food, positive feeding and setting healthy habits for a lifetime.


Last Post

3 Parent Tips to Downsize Processed Food

Next Post

Eating Disorders in Children: Recognize Red Flags

Eating Disorders in Children: Red Flags for Parents to Recognize [Part 2]