Following these guidelines will reduce the risk of complications during procedures and improve the efficiency of your childs care. If your child is having abdominal (belly) surgery, he or she may have special eating and drinking instructions.

It is very important for your child to follow the eating and drinking guidelines. If the guidelines below are not followed, your childs surgery could be delayed or rescheduled for another day.

  • No food for eight hours before your childs surgery (even food given through a feeding tube)
  • Your child may have:
    • Formula or milk up to six hours before surgery
    • Breast milk up to four hours before surgery
    • Clear fluids up to two hours before surgery. The defining feature of a “clear fluid” is the ability to see through it and clearly read text.
  • Clear liquids are:
    • Water
    • Apple or white grape juice
    • Carbonated drinks, such as soda pop
    • Sports drinks such as Gatorade®
    • Pedialyte®
    • Clear tea
  • No milk, creamer, or lemon added to any drinks
  • No swallowing of gum, mints, or candy
  • Crushed medicines may be given with up to 2 tablespoons of plain apple jelly at least two hours before surgery.
  • Do not use apple pudding, apple sauce, or yogurt.

Your childs stomach must be empty for surgery. We do not want food from your childs stomach to get into the lungs during surgery. Surgery will be delayed or rescheduled if you do not or cannot follow these instructions.



Give your child prescription medicines as usual up to two hours before surgery unless told otherwise by your doctor or anesthesiologist. Your child may take pills with a sip of water.

To speak with a doctor or nurse regarding questions about eating and drinking instructions, call 1-319-353-6684.

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