Eating and Drinking Restrictions Before Surgery

On the day before surgery, you'll need to carefully follow any instructions your child's surgeon's office gave you at her preoperative appointment. These directions will include information about anesthesia and any eating or drinking restrictions for your child. It will also tell you if your child should take any of her usual medications.

For procedures at the Main Hospital

If your child is having surgery at Main Campus, please consult the Main Campus pre-procedure instructions: EnglishEspañol.

For procedures at CHOP’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers

If your child’s procedure is at King of Prussia, Brandywine Valley, Bucks County or Voorhees please read the important information associated with each center about your arrival time and rules for eating and drinking before the procedure. Directions to the surgical site are also included.

CHOP has helpful information about preparing your child for his or her procedure.

If you have any questions at all about your child's eating and drinking restrictions, call your child's doctor immediately. If your child doesn't properly follow the preparation steps, she may experience complications during the surgery, or the surgery may have to be postponed.

General eating and drinking restrictions

No food, drink, milk, candy or gum is permitted after 11 p.m. the evening before the procedure, except:

Clear liquids

Your child may drink clear liquids — only those listed here — until 30 minutes before his scheduled arrival time:

  • Water
  • Pedialyte®
  • Clear Apple juice
  • Clear White Grape juice

Breast milk

Children younger than 12 months may have breast milk until 3 hours before your arrival time.

Children 12 months and older may have breast milk until 11 p.m. the night before the procedure.


Healthy babies less than 6 months old on the day of procedure may have formula until 4 hours before your arrival time.

Healthy babies 6-  to 12-months old on the day of procedure may have formula until 6 hours before your arrival time.

Do not add cereal to formula. Do not use formula that has cereal already added.


Please do not give your child MOTRIN, ibuprofen, ADVIL, naproxyn, or ALEVE for three days before surgery. TYLENOL is fine up until and including the day of surgery. If your child develops any symptoms of illness (fever, cough, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea) on the day of surgery, please call 267-425-4700.


Date: May 2013

Next Steps
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