Child Development, Health, Year 3

Upset stomach in babies: Causes, Treatment and Remedies

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August 18, 2022

Although your baby might not be able to speak out loud to let you know that they are in pain, you will notice that they are having stomach discomfort from their body language. Having an upset stomach is a very common illness in babies.

You will notice that your baby has a reduced appetite and is more irritable when they have a stomach ache. The pain might also disrupt their sleep cycle and cause them to wake up in between their naps and during the night. Sometimes their face muscles tightening up also gives away the discomfort that they might be having in their belly. 

Other signs of stomach distress might be quite obvious and visual such as when your baby has diarrhea. It’s a tell-tell sign that your baby isn’t able to digest food properly when you see a change in their bowel movements. They might be either constipated or having diarrhea. At times a baby might be puking up their food and having acidity as well. 

Possible causes for upset stomach in babies

It can be very painful to watch your small child sick and in pain. Remember that there are some simple reasons why your baby might be uncomfortable. If you know the cause of their discomfort, you might be able to help them with the right kind of attention. Based on the type of their discomfort you might be able to have an idea about the possible cause of their pain. 

Allergies

A simple rule of thumb is to make sure you are paying enough attention to how your baby feels after meal time. Especially when you are first introducing anything new to your baby’s diet. Some foods might cause allergic reactions such as vomiting, difficulty in breathing, a rash or hive, swelling, and even difficulty in breathing. 

If you just introduced something new to their diet that they are allergic to, you will see these symptoms which might or might not be accompanied by a stomach ache. Make sure to let your pediatrician know if you think your child might have an allergic reaction to something. 

Food poisoning

Unlike adults, babies do not have the ability to digest food like adults. If the food isn’t properly washed or cooked, the bacteria can get into your child’s stomach and cause food poisoning. Without properly developed immunity, your baby might not be able to fight off the bacteria easily.  Be aware of food items that aren’t properly refrigerated that might be spoiled. 

Constipation and gas

Have you noticed a decrease in the number of times your baby does the “number two”? Constipation is one of the most common reasons for stomach pain in babies. If the reduction in their bowel movement is accompanied by some kind of stomach distress, it is possible that they have constipation. This might be accompanied by another culprit which is gas pain in babies. You might notice that the belly is bloated.

Acid reflux  

Young babies tend to spit their breast milk when they have gastroesophageal reflux. Sometimes your baby might even throw up and vomit a large amount if they have a serious gastric condition. 

Apart from these causes, appendicitis is another cause of serious pain. 

Treatment and remedies

If you are thinking of ways you can soothe your baby’s tummy ache and its symptoms, here you go:

Switch up their diet

As a parent, you will know if something that your baby is eating is causing stomach distress. They might feel uncomfortable after eating a certain food.

Change the formula

If you think the formula milk that you are using might be causing them pain, just change it. It just might be that your baby might have a sensitive tummy. There are many formulas that you can make a switch to in that case. 

Breastfeed

If you think that they might have issues with formulas, you can switch back to breastfeeding if that is convenient for you. When your baby is having stomach distress it is better to breastfeed them in small amounts within a small duration of time. Compared to other food, breastmilk will be easier and safer for the baby. They will get the nutrition they need from breast milk. 

Healthier options

When giving them solids, give them food that is healthier. Food that is easier to digest and has a higher nutritious value is essential to help them get better and develop healthy digestion. 

Massage

Gently massaging their backs might allow them to feel the ease of discomfort in the abdominal area. Try to also move their legs so that they can pass any excess gas they might have in their tracts. 

Warm compress

At times just the wind causes abdominal pain in babies. In such a case, you might be able to help your child by gently pressing on their stomach with a warm towel. You can also give them a warm bath. Don’t make the temperature too hot as it can burn their sensitive skin. 

Burp after feeding

Sometimes all your baby might be needing is a gentle massage on their back while you hold them upright to burp them. Small babies tend to take in a high amount of air while they are breastfeeding or eating. Try to burp them mid-way so that the digestion is easy. 

Hydrate

Whether your baby is constipated or having diarrhea, they are very likely to be dehydrated very easily. Whether you choose to give them water or other hydrating fluids, make sure that they are getting enough of it. Also do not allow them to drink soda or fizzy drinks that might further imbalance their stomach environment. When they are having solid foods, give them water as well to drink alongside the food. 

Uncomfortable Clothing

Your baby is already uncomfortable because of the stomach discomfort. An uncomfortable diaper or tight clothing would make them even more irritable. So, keep checking on the diaper and put on light clothes that aren’t tight on them around the waist. 

References:

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