Following these guidelines will reduce the risk of complications during procedures and improve the efficiency of your child’s 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 child’s surgery could be delayed or rescheduled for another day.

  • Up to eight hours before surgery, regular foods and meals are permitted
  • Up to two hours before surgery, only clear fluids are permitted if your doctor approves
    • Clear fluids include water, apple or white grape juice, carbonated beverages, Gatorade®, infant electrolyte solutions (Pedialyte®), and clear tea. Milk and Jell-O® are not allowed.
  • The amount of clear fluids allowed is based on your child’s age:
    • No more than 2 ounces for children under 5 years old
    • No more than 4 ounces for children 5-13 years old
    • No more than 8 ounces (one regular-sized cup) for children over 13 years old
  • Less than two hours before surgery, patients should have nothing to eat or drink—no gum, mints, or candy


Infants (less than 1 year of age) should be given clear fluids before surgery to prevent dehydration. An infant should complete breastfeeding about four hours before surgery or may have 2 ounces of clear fluids up to two hours before surgery. In order to maintain this schedule, your infant may need to be awakened from sleep.


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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