Written by Pradeep
Stomach Pain is common in babies and can happen for many reasons. They can be painful sometimes, and it’s always good to have some trusted home remedies at hand for quick relief. Babies cannot express their pain and end up crying until the pain subsides. This is a difficult situation for a mother to watch. So it is best to learn about the causes and easy tips to soothe stomach pain in babies. Read on to know the details.
There can be many causes for what causes stomach aches or pains in babies, even after we as parents take the most care. There are many reasons, and some important ones are listed below for you:
-Infection: Babies have a developing immune system and are susceptible to a host of viruses. Adults may get some infection and pass it on unwittingly to their child. Rotavirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis among infants, and this causes acute stomach pain with vomiting. There are many other viruses such as Streptococcus and the Adenovirus that can be transmitted easily.
-Food Allergy: We may not know how the baby will react to many foods unless we’ve tried feeding them once. The introduction of most new foods may cause some discomfort and pain as the baby gets used to digesting it. Even babies who are exclusively breastfed may have stomach pain. The culprit may be the food the mom ate, too!
-Colic: Colic is defined as crying for hours together, and it occurs for no obvious reason. Crying may contract the diaphragm cause stomach cramping, which in turn causes pain. General calming techniques will help in settling the baby. For Eg: Rocking the baby, taking the baby out for a walk.
-Pediatric Hernia: A hernia usually occurs when an intestine slips out of the abdominal cavity. It causes discomfort and sometimes may lead to infections. Don’t worry much about hernias, they can be easily noticed and will close on their own after a period. Some types may be painful, and you may need to consult your pediatrician.
-Gastroesophageal Reflux: GERD is a condition where the oesophageal sphincter doesn’t close properly and causes the food to either come out or irritate. The intersection between the stomach and the esophagus is separated by this sphincter. In babies, it is under formed and causes GERD. Vomiting usually occurs as soon as there is an intake of food, and this causes stomach pain. The doctor may recommend the thickening of formula to keep the food heavy and down in the tummy. This usually goes away before the first year of birth.
-Appendicitis: The appendix is an appendage that is attached to the large intestine at the lower right corner of our bodies. Since it is a close-ended tube, it is easy to get obstructed by any food or fecal particles. This causes pressure to build inside the appendix and causes sharp pain, making the baby cry incessantly. Please consult your pediatrician immediately if you suspect this to be the cause of the baby’s crying.
-Intestinal Blockage: Intestinal blockage is of two types, one is pyloric stenosis where the muscles of the lower section of the stomach enlarge abruptly and restrict the flow of food from the stomach to the small intestine. The second is Intussusceptions, which is a rare condition where one section of the intestine collapses on the other and creates a thick fold, which eventually becomes a block. Both these conditions have to be treated surgically.
-Constipation: Constipation is surprisingly common in babies, and it means a very hardened stool that is difficult to pass. Babies may tend to hold it in, and it may cause abdominal pain.
-Gas: Baby’s intestines are brand new and will take time to start working properly. Gas can be caused by bacteria in the intestinal tract by breast milk when the mother eats certain foods, and the most common reason being swallowing air. This can be resolved by avoiding foods that seem to bother the baby’s sensitive tummy.
Your little one may have stomach pain if he/she shows one or more of these symptoms:
Once you confirm there is a pain, you can follow some simple home remedies to soothe them.
Stomach pain in babies is different from pain in adults. It is difficult to say how long the pain may last, and it may depend upon why the pain occurred.
Never give your baby any medicines unless prescribed by a doctor. Alternatively, you can try these time tested home remedies:
-Camomile Tea: Camomile tea is an excellent home remedy for stomach pains as it contains anti-inflammatory properties.
-Ginger: Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties increase digestive juices and help in neutralizing stomach acids, and the reason behind this is Gingerol-a strong antioxidant present in ginger.
-Apply Heat: Heat increases the blood flow to the skin surface and helps diminish the perception of pain. Heat can be applied in the form of a hot water bottle or a heating pad. You can also rub your hands together and apply the heat thus generated. Old-timers recommend warming some mustard oil and applying on the tummy.
-Bland Foods: If the baby is hungry in spite of the pain, you could let him have bland foods like plain rice with ghee, yogurt, and some liquids. It is good to avoid food with seasoning and any kind of sauces as it can irritate the tummy even more. Also, avoid greasy foods.
CRAP stands for Cherries, Raisins, Apricots and Prunes, foods that are known to help digestion. This diet is particularly helpful if your child complains of stomach pain due to constipation. You can give toddlers lesser than half a cup.
-Yogurt: Yogurt is a time tested remedy and is very effective for basic stomach ache as it contains good bacteria.
Taking simple precautions helps in prevention. You can follow the list below, to begin with:
Home remedies can do wonders for most, but it always safe to know when to consult the doctor. Constipation should be addressed if it continues for more than three days. If the child is vomiting, has a fever, or is generally feeling worn out most of the time, it is better to consult the doctor. Other than this, I would say you trust your instincts. After all, a mother knows best!
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