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Vomit. Just the thought of it makes me queasy.

Vomit-fest paint cloud

It was like a switch. The moment I became 6 weeks pregnant, the vomiting began. And it continued right up until the day my son was born (I do NOT recommend vomiting while the obstetrician is sewing you up after an emergency caesarean). But it was all worth it. We had an adorable baby.

Until he turned into a crying, vomiting, pooing machine.

For babies doctors and nurses call it posseting. That’s cute. But let’s face it, it’s still vomiting no matter what you call it. Just when I got used to permanently smelling like off milk, we started solids. Solids added an extra layer of smell to the vomit. Not quite off milk, not quite adult smelling, but something in-between. And the triggers seemed to be everything.

New food = vomit

I don’t like it *gag* = vomit

Eat too quickly because I DO like it = vomit

Clean up, wake up and start again.

When the toddler years hit, baby number 1 finally got used to eating and keeping most of it in. Clearly life was just not the same without a bit of vomit and so we started the cycle again with baby number 2. And then again with baby number 3. All nicely spaced 2 years apart so that we never quite got used to life without vomit.

This brings me to now. 3 kids aged 2, 4 and 6 years old. We’ve gotten through the normal vomit phases of life and yet it still hangs around like a bad smell ... literally. The bouts of vomiting are nowhere near as regular but this is almost worse because we’re less prepared. I have obviously passed on the vomit gene (aka the 'V-gene') to each of my children.

Milkshake before car trip home = vomit

Fever = vomit

Take-off and landing = vomit

20 minutes after landing = vomit (learnt that one the hard way)

So here are my top tips if your child has the 'V-gene':

1. Vomit bags in the car – I have medical grade vomit bags in each of the 4 car doors plus a spare in the glove box

2. Towels on each of the car seats – because no matter how well you scrub, that smell lingers for days

3. Vomit bucket plus towels on the bed when your kid is sick – because changing sheets 3 times in one night is exhausting

4. Spare clothes and baby wipes in strategic locations (car, carry-on luggage etc) - you never know when the V-gene will strike unexpectedly

5. Do NOT feed V-gene children within 30 minutes of entering a ‘danger zone’ no matter how hungry they say they are!

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids and I deal with the vomit, but every now and then I just need to vent my frustration. On a positive note, I am forever grateful that I have not had to deal with simultaneous vomiting and squirts ... yet.

NOTE: If your child is vomiting, keep an eye out for how much they are drinking (and keeping down) and how much they are weeing (number of wet nappies, how often they go to the toilet and colour of the urine). The younger the child, the quicker they can become dehydrated. Take your child to the doctor sooner rather than later to be checked. See the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne fact sheet on Gastroenteritis for further information.


Related Children's Book

Sometimes you barf

by Nancy Carlson

This children's picture book helps children understand that vomit is a normal part of life, especially when you are sick. Don't be embarrassed, even if it happens at school because it happens to everyone.

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