Your little one’s belly is hurting but you don’t know why. Find out what might be causing their discomfort.

It is common for children to experience episodes of digestive discomfort. Learn more about the top tummy troubles to look out for in your little one, as well as common misconceptions about managing the symptoms.

Here are signs to keep an eye out for, as well as how to deal with the symptoms:

1. Constipation

What is it?
Constipation is diagnosed as a delay or difficulty in pooping that causes the child distress.

What are the signs?
No (or very few) dirty diapers.

What can I do?
1.  Gently massaging your child’s tummy may have a relaxing effect that may help.
2. If your child is above 6 months old, try to introduce fruits like
papaya and prune purée.

3. Your doctor might recommend probiotics which can help to soften your child’s poop to enable smooth passage out of the body.

2. Diarrhoea

What is it?
Diarrhoea is when the child passes very runny stools, sometimes at an increased frequency or more volume than normal. There may also be mucus in the stool.

It can occur because of reasons like teething, a virus or antibiotics and also a reaction to changes in the mother’s diet if she is breastfeeding.

What are the signs?
Stool changes such as more stools all of a sudden, if they poo more than once during a feed or really watery stools.

Do note that it is common for breastfed children to poo up to six to seven times a day, as quickly as immediately after a feed. Don’t confuse this with symptoms of diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea…can occur because of reasons like teething, a virus or antibiotics and also a reaction to changes in the mother’s diet if she is breastfeeding.

What can I do?
1. See your doctor if your child has loose watery stools for 24 hours, or if dehydration, vomiting, fever or blood in stools accompanies the diarrhoea.
2. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the
amount of fluids your child needs, how to make sure he gets them, when to give them and how to watch for dehydration.
3. Do seek your doctor’s advice as your child might need to switch temporarily to a
reduced lactose diet.

3 Colic

What is it?
Colic is often described as episodes of irritability, fussing and/or crying in healthy children. These episodes last at least three hours a day, and at least three days a week. Colic begins in the first four months of life and peaks at around six weeks. Healthcare professionals are still unsure of causes for colic, but it typically starts and ends for no apparent reason.

What are the signs?
Non-stop, inconsolable crying, especially in the late afternoon or evening.

What can I do?
1. Pay attention to your child’s hunger cues. Feed him only when he appears hungry, not just because he is crying.
Extra feeds can upset his tummy, which may cause them to cry even more.
3. Try
soothing techniques such as rocking, massage or a warm bath.

4. Regurgitation

What is it?
Regurgitation (also known as spit up) is when the contents of your child’s stomach flow involuntarily out of his mouth because their immature digestive system can’t keep the milk down. Although regurgitation can occur at any age, it usually peaks at around four months.

What are the signs?
Regurgitation, or spitting up, often after a feed. Some children show signs that they are uncomfortable from the heartburn, while others are “happy spitters” who are not affected by it.

What can I do?
1. Avoid overfeeding.
Burp your child more often and in different positions. Prop him up on your shoulder or sit him on your lap to let gravity aid digestion.
3. After a feed, make sure not to press on his tummy.
4. Avoid strapping him to a car seat or chair immediately after a feed.

Lactobacillus Reuteri, a beneficial bacteria (also known as probiotics), promotes healthy and balanced gut flora in a child’s digestive system.

How healthy bacteria in the gut promotes a healthy tummy

Lactobacillus Reuteri, a beneficial bacteria (also known as probiotics), promotes healthy and balanced gut flora in a child’s digestive system. Studies also show that it supports gut health. Its benefits include:

* Softens stools.
* Shortens diarrhoea.
* Decreases spit ups.
* Lessens crying in colicky babies.

Found naturally in the human body, Lactobacillus Reuteri is one of the most well-researched probiotics. It has been to treat certain functional gastrointestinal conditions.

FAQS on managing tummy discomfort

Will a lactose-free diet help eliminate gastro discomfort in children?
It will be helpful to know if your child’s gastro discomfort is due to lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is a digestive problem where the body is unable to digest lactose (a type of milk sugar), so lactose stays in the digestive system where it’s fermented by bacteria.

This leads to the production of gas and watery stools. There is some evidence that a reduced lactose diet can help children who are lactose intolerant.

Does soy or goat milk formula help in relieving diarrhoea? Any recommendations for their usage?
It will be difficult to recommend soy or goat milk formula to treat diarrhoea as it really depends on the cause of the diarrhoea. If the diarrhoea is due to lactose intolerance, then soy milk (which does not contain lactose) will be helpful. However, goat's milk, which contains lactose, won’t help if the diarrhoea is due to lactose intolerance.

Infantile colic (inconsolable crying) not only affects bottle-fed children, but also breastfed children. How can probiotics help to relieve the symptoms for breastfed children?
Studies have shown that the amount of fussing and crying in early infancy may be connected to the development of gut flora in a baby, so probiotics may help alleviate colic symptoms.

When added to their diet, certain probiotics like Lactobacillus Reuteri have been found to reduce infantile colic symptoms in breastfed children. However, the effects of probiotics are both strain- and clinical condition-specific, and cannot be generalised.

Brought to you by Nestlé Baby & Me.

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