campus of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota in Minneapolis
Surgery Eating and Drinking Guidelines
chart of eating and drinking guidelines

For your child’s safety, it is very important that he or she have an empty stomach when anesthesia is given. If these guidelines are not followed, your child’s surgery will be cancelled.

* Clear liquids include water, Popsicles®, apple juice, Kool-Aid®, Jell-O®, or soft drinks. Clear liquids DO NOT include hard candy, gum, milk, or juice with pulp in it (such as orange juice).

If your child takes medicines regularly you may give them as scheduled with a sip of clear liquids. DO NOT give medications with pudding, applesauce, yogurt, or other solid foods.

Example of how to follow the eating and drinking guidelines

If your child's surgery is scheduled to begin at 8:00 a.m., for example:

  • Your child may eat or drink any type of food or beverage until midnight the night before surgery (8 hours before surgery is scheduled to begin).
  • Your child may drink formula or cow's milk until 2:00 a.m. the morning of surgery.
  • Your child may breast feed up until 4:00 a.m. the morning of surgery.
  • Your child may have clear liquids up until 5:00 a.m. the morning of surgery (see above note for the definition of "clear liquids").
  • Your child may not have anything to eat or drink after 5:00 a.m. (3 hours before surgery).
  • Remember, if these guidelines are not followed, your child's surgery will be cancelled.

If you have any questions or would like further information specific to your child, please call our office at (612) 874-1292.

This information is provided as a service to our patients. The information is for educational and informational purposes only and should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of your child's physician.