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 till 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.
What Causes Stomach Aches in Babies
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 an acute stomach pain with vomiting. There are many other viruses such as the 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. 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 maybe 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.
-Paediatric 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 maybe painful and you may need to consult your paediatrician.
-Gastroesophageal Reflux: Or commonly known as GERD where the oesophageal sphincter doesn’t close properly and causes the food to either come out or irritate. In other words, the intersection between the stomach and the oesophagus are separated by this lining and in babies, it is under formed and causes GERD. Vomiting usually occurs as soon as there is intake of food and this causes stomach pain. The doctor may recommend 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 an 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 paediatrician immediately if you suspect this to be the cause of 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: Babies 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 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.
What are the Symptoms of Stomach Pain in Babies
Your little one may have stomach pain if he/she shows one or more of these symptoms:
- Trouble sitting still
- Making faces to show pain
- Is acting fussy
- Refuses to eat or sleep
- Cries more than usual
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Crying when you touch the tummy
- Passing foul smelling gas
Once you confirm there is pain, you can follow some simple home remedies to soothe them.
How long do the stomach cramps last for?
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.
Baby Stomach pain Home Remedy
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 skin surface and helps diminish the perception on pain. Heat can be applied in the form of 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.
How do you prevent a stomach ache?
Taking simple precautions help in prevention. You can follow the list below to begin with:
- Feed the baby using clean utensils
- Baby’s hygiene is of utmost importance
- Identify the foods that cause pain and eliminate
When to Rush the Baby to the Doctor?
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 trust your instincts…after all, a mother knows best!