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As a mother, it can be quite distressing for you to see your baby crying continuously. Not being able to determine the cause can make you feel helpless. Your little one may cry for a number of reasons, one of them could be stomach pain. Stomach pain is a common problem in babies. As a baby’s digestive system is still getting used to solid/liquid food, he may often experience issues like gas, reflux, acidity, diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation. Although it is a minor health problem for adults, it can still cause a lot of discomfort to a little baby, and thus, must be adequately taken care of.
Also Read: Home Remedies for Stomach Pain in Babies
Common Causes of Stomach Ache in Infants
If your baby is gassy, he may experience stomach pain. Gas troubles usually start when babies are just a couple of weeks old and may last until they are 4 or 5 months old. Your little’s one underdeveloped digestive system may make it difficult for him to digest formula milk or any food. He may also feel gassy if he swallows too much air.
2. Incorrect Feeding
If your baby is latched on to your breast incorrectly or if he drinks milk from a bottle being in an incorrect position, he may swallow too much air, which may cause him discomfort.
If you feed your baby too much, it may affect his digestive health. Your little one may have stomach pain due to bloating and pressure on the stomach. He may even vomit.
Also Read: Colic in Babies
4. Sensitivity to Certain Foods
If your baby is allergic to certain foods or ingredients in the formula milk he drinks, the allergic reaction may trigger when he has the formula milk or food or has traces of the food through your breast milk.
5. Lactose Overload
Lactose overload happens when a baby has too much foremilk (milk at the beginning of a feeding) which is rich in lactose but low in fat. If your baby has a lot of milk which is low in fat, it may rush through his digestive system quickly and the lactose is not digested properly. As there is no fat content to slow the digestion process, your baby may feel gassy and have stomach pain.
6. Underdeveloped Digestive System
A baby’s digestive system is not developed completely. His microflora (unique microorganisms that live inside the gut), which help in the digestion process and strengthen the immune system, are yet to be created. This may also be a cause for gas in your little one’s tummy.
7. Gassy Vegetables
Your baby may feel gassy if you consume vegetables like cauliflower, beans, onions, and cabbage. If you’re having such foods, it may be best to cut back on them to see if it makes a difference to your baby.
Certain changes in your baby’s diet, feeding habits or water intake may result in dry and hard stools. This may cause abdominal pain if your baby is constipated.
Babies between one and three months of age usually spit out a small portion of what they have consumed soon after being fed. This is because the valve between the food pipe and the stomach is not fully developed. The ‘spit’ sometimes reverses back into the mouth and throat, leading to stomach pain afterwards.
If your baby is healthy and is crying a lot, he may have colic. A colicky baby may also have gas problems as a result of swallowing too much air and may experience stomach pain.
Best Home Remedies for Stomach Ache in Babies
Mostly stomach pain eases on its own. But if you notice that your baby is crying continuously, then he must be in a lot of pain. You can try the below mentioned natural remedies to put him out of his misery.
1. Try Warm Compress
Warm compress is another natural remedy for stomach pain. Take a clean cloth and soaked in warm water and gently press it against your baby’s abdomen. Applying warm compress will ease stomach pain and make your little one feel better.
2. Feed Yoghurt
If your baby has a stomach ache due to diarrhoea, that means the good bacteria are being lost in the stool. Yoghurt is rich in lactobacillus, which is an essential bacterium for the intestine. It can restore the bacterial flora lost during diarrhoea and thus stabilise the intestine. However, you must feed unflavoured, unsweetened, whole milk yoghurt alone.
3. Massage Using Mustard Oil
Lay your baby on his back and gently massage his tummy using warm mustard oil. Apply it around the baby’s navel in an anti-clockwise direction. This will help stimulate the digestive system and move around the trapped gasses in your baby’s stomach.
4. Try Burping Your Baby
Burp your baby after every feed by tapping gently on his back, while his head rests on your shoulder. If your baby doesn’t burp easily, try the ‘football hold’. Place him face-down on your forearm, with his legs straddling your elbow. Rest his chin in your hand and apply gentle pressure while stroking his back. This should release the excess air which he may have swallowed while feeding.
5. Try Bicycling
Lay your baby on his back and move his legs in a bicycle motion, back and forth. This will help release the gas and ease pain.
6. Use Asafoetida
Mix a teaspoon of asafoetida with some warm water then apply the paste gently around your baby’s navel. It will relieve gas and ease your baby’s stomach ache.
7. Rock Your Baby
If your baby is crying because of stomach pain, try rocking him as it can help your baby pass excess gas.
8. Try Foot Reflexology
Some techniques can be applied to several nerves in the feet, which will create a sense of relaxation in other parts of the body. The tummy region corresponds to the central arch of the left foot. So, take your baby’s left foot in the palm of your right hand and while supporting the ball of his foot, apply steady pressure with your thumb. This will help your baby relax and ease his tummy pain.
These are some home remedies which are very effective; these remedies have been tried and tested by mothers all around the world. It is always best to use natural remedies so that your little one’s system isn’t harmed by any external agents.
If you notice that your baby is in pain even after trying all the above measures then you must consult your doctor. Check with a paediatrician if you notice the following symptoms:
- Your baby’s crying pattern changes- If your baby’s crying pattern undergoes a sudden change and his cries are high pitched.
- He has a fever and a bad cough too – A stomach ache, along with a fever, can either be due to a virus or in serious cases, indicate to pneumonia. It’s best to take action at the earliest if your little one has a temperature.
- He vomits or has diarrhoea – If you notice blood in the vomit or if it is green in colour, it requires immediate attention.
- He has blood in his stool or urine – If your baby is constipated, you may notice blood in his stools but too much blood could indicate a serious infection or disease.
- He has lost weight – If your baby gets stomach aches often and seems to have lost weight, it may need further checking into.
If your baby has stomach pain, try the remedies mentioned above and consult a doctor if he doesn’t feel better even after trying these all-natural remedies. Stomach pain is common in babies and in most cases, it eases away on its own. If it doesn’t you can always check with a doctor. As your little one grows up and his immune system develops, he will be less susceptible to such issues. So don’t panic! Take care of your baby and he will be fine!