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Children encounter stomach troubles fairly often. Their digestive system is still delicate and so is their immunity. While, thankfully, most tummy upsets usually do resolve on their own, it can still be worrying to see your child feeling under the weather. The best course of action to take is to feed him the right fluids and foods that calm the tummy and quickly bring relief.
Babies have a developing and extremely sensitive digestive system. Plus, if your child is mobile and has started crawling and putting things in his mouth, be prepared for problems in his delicate tummy! Feeding babies during tummy troubles can be very difficult, as the illness makes them cranky and lowers their appetite. However, not getting adequate nutrition will only delay the process of healing.
KEY TAKEAWAY: In this video, the expert talks about identifying the signs of diarrhoea. If your baby has diarrhoea, take the following steps-
- Do NOT stop giving fluids to your baby.
- In case you are breastfeeding, do not stop nursing.
- Occasionally, give him electrolytes.
- Ask your paediatrician regarding any dietary supplement that needs to be given.
- Most importantly, understand the cause of diarrhoea.
Best Foods for Babies With an Upset Stomach
1. Usual Diet at Half the Amount
If your baby’s stomach is upset, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he cannot eat regular foods. Babies and toddlers usually consume a few fruits, vegetables and starches, and these don’t affect the stomach. Paediatricians recommend that unless a new food in your child’s diet is what has caused the tummy upset, you can continue feeding him the same. You only have to reduce the quantity to about half and try feeding him more often. He’ll find it easier to keep the food down, and it will not exert pressure on his sensitive tummy.
2. BRAT Diet
The BRAT diet includes bananas, rice, applesauce and unbuttered toast, which are recommended foods for toddlers with upset stomachs. You can feed it to your toddler if he refuses to eat his regular food. The BRAT diet can also include yoghurt. If your child doesn’t like yoghurt, consider adding probiotics to his food after consulting his doctor. They can promote a healthier digestive system.
Note: The BRAT diet may not be complete in itself to cover all your child’s nutritional needs. You do not need to limit his diet to these foods unless advised by the doctor.
3. Low-Fibre Food
Food that’s high in fibre softens stool and makes it easier to pass. However, during diarrhoea, low-fibre foods are recommended as stool may become firmer. Crackers and white rice are a couple of foods you can feed 12-month-old babies with upset stomachs. You can also try some of these low-fibre foods; they are safe options for feeding babies with diarrhoea:
- White bread
- Cottage cheese
- Cooked vegetables like carrots
- Lean meats such as chicken
An upset stomach takes on a worrisome note when dehydration sets in. In order to keep your child hydrated, continue feeding him water (if he’s older than 6 months) and, if you’re nursing, breast milk. If diarrhoea is moderate to severe, contact his doctor who can prescribe oral rehydration salts or an electrolyte solution.
Note: Always consult a doctor before attempting to give your toddler any anti-diarrhoeal medication as they can be dangerous for kids!
Foods You MUST Avoid If Your Baby’s Stomach is Upset
There are certain foods that may worsen upset tummies, so it is important to keep them away from your child. These include:
1. Sugary drinks like soft drinks and undiluted fruit juices.
2. Gas-causing veggies like corn, broccoli, and cauliflower, and other green leafy items.
3. Processed foods.
4. Dairy other than yoghurt and breast milk, unless your child doesn’t have a reaction.
When to Contact a Doctor
Though most cases of upset tummies go away on their own, as parents, you should know when to consult a doctor. Please watch out for these signs and consult the doctor immediately if you observe any of them:
- Frequent vomiting
- A fever of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit
- Infrequent urination
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry and sticky mouth
- Little or no tears when crying
- Blood in stools
- Dull or irritable baby
Seeing your child come down with a bad stomach can be difficult. Yet, it’s important to remember to stay calm, feed your toddler the right foods, and keep an eye out for worsening symptoms. Almost all babies and toddlers suffer from upset tummies at times, that typically resolve with just a bit of help.