Nausea and vomiting in childhood cancer - nutrition advice

Nausea and vomiting in childhood cancer - nutrition advice

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of some cancers and cancer treatment. Medications will be prescribed to manage this but there may still be times when nausea and vomiting affect the desire and the ability to eat and drink. Some ideas you can try to help on these occasions.

How can I encourage my child to eat and drink?

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of some cancers and cancer treatment. Medications will be prescribed to manage nausea and vomiting and there is information about these in:

There may still be times when nausea and vomiting affect the desire and the ability to eat and drink. The following are some ideas you can try to help on these occasions:

  • give small, frequent meals of snacks every few hours; don't let your child's stomach become too full or too empty
  • give sips of drinks all through the day
  • use cups with lids and straws to make smells less noticeable
  • try giving your child cold foods that don't have much smell; things like jelly, fruit juice, biscuits, sandwiches and desserts are good examples
  • try dry foods such as crackers and plain biscuits
  • try ice cubes, ice blocks, peppermints or barley sugars
  • avoid giving fatty and spicy foods such as chips, pizza, fried foods and chocolate until the nausea has gone
  • keep on using your usual fun distractions!

Is it OK to offer my child food after he has vomited?

Yes, children sometimes want to eat a few minutes after vomiting has stopped or after a bout of nausea has passed.

Should I give my child their favourite foods when they are feeling sick?

You could give some of your child's favourites but it might be best to not give all of them, as some children develop a lasting dislike at this time and more favourites may be lost.Where to go for information and support

On this website:
Nutrition and childhood cancer
Childhood cancer: Where to go for more information and support

All the fact sheets in the Childhood cancer section of this website have been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the National Child Cancer Network Clinical Leader.

This page last reviewed 22 June 2013.
Email us your feedback


On this page