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Eating and drinking before anesthesia or sedation

Article Translations: (Spanish)

When and what can my child eat before the procedure?

For your child's safety, it is very important to have an empty stomach when anesthesia or sedation medicines are given. This is important because if vomiting occurs during the procedure, food or liquid can get into the lungs. If your child has had even a small amount to eat or drink, the procedure will be delayed or canceled.

Can I give my child's medicines?

Talk with your child's doctor about taking medicines before the procedure. If your doctor recommends a specific medicine, you may give it with a sip of clear liquid. Do not give medicines with pudding, applesauce, yogurt, or other foods

Eating and drinking guidelines

Eat and drink as usual until:

This includes rice cereal and thickeners
for milk or formula.

_____________________ a.m./p.m.

8 hours before scheduled arrival time

Milk or formula until:

_____________________ a.m./p.m.

6 hours before scheduled arrival time

Breast milk until:

_____________________ a.m./p.m.

4 hours before scheduled arrival time

Clear liquids until:

Clear liquids include: clear Popsicles®,
apple juice, Gatorade®, Jell-O®, Kool-Aid® or soft drinks

_____________________ a.m./p.m.

2 hours before scheduled arrival time

Nothing by mouth:

Including gum, candy and breath mints

_____________________ a.m./p.m.

2 hours before scheduled arrival time

If you have questions about what your child can eat or drink, please call the department where your child's procedure is scheduled. 


St. Paul Surgery Center

345 N. Smith Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55102
Registration: 612-813-7900
Surgery information (nurse line): 651-220-6505

Minneapolis Surgery Center

2525 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Registration: 612-813-7900
Surgery information (nurse line): 612-813-6191

Minnetonka Day Surgery Center

6050 Clearwater Drive
Minnetonka, MN 55343
Registration: 612-813-7900
Surgery information (nurse line): 952-930-8655

Additional resources

Other resources include the education sheets, "Anesthesia: Questions and answers" or "Sedation for a procedure".


Reviewed 5/2017

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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