Best Foods for Toddlers With an Upset Stomach

Foods to Cure Upset Stomach in Babies and Toddlers

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Paediatrician)
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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. In this article, we’ll discuss the best foods for upset stomachs in toddlers.

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.

Best Foods for Babies and Toddlers With Upset Stomach

If you are looking for ‘what to give an infant for an upset stomach,’ then search no more. Here are some top baby foods for upset stomachs that will help ease the discomfort caused by tiny tots.

1. Usual Diet at Half the Amount

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

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

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:

  • Pasta
  • White bread
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cooked vegetables like carrots
  • Lean meats such as chicken

4. Fluids

fluids

An upset stomach becomes worrisome when dehydration sets in. 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. In the case of fruit juice, provide only pasteurised fruit juices and that should be not more than 4 ounces in a day. As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, juice should not be given to babies before 12 months of age. Therefore, please consult your doctor before providing anything you are unsure of.

5. Steamed Vegetables

Steamed Vegetables

Steamed veggies are a nutritious take on the troubled tummy as long as your baby is above 6 months and has started solids and semi-solids, including vegetables. Sweet potatoes, sweet peas, and potatoes are some recommended vegetables for this situation. These are ideal upset stomach foods for toddlers.

6. Fresh Fruits

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits, including bananas, strawberries, raspberries, pineapples, and white grapes, are known to be easy on tummies and do not cause gas.

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

FAQs

1. Can teething cause an upset stomach in your child?

Although a common belief, but teething does not cause vomiting or diarrhoea, which are the signs of an upset stomach, in babies.

2. Can I give my baby fruit juices during an upset stomach?

It is better advised to avoid giving fruit juices to babies with upset stomachs. This is because fruit juices, especially citrus fruits, can intensify the stomach acidity and irritate the stomach lining, elevating the tummy troubles. Apple juice must be particularly avoided. Additionally, the natural sugars in fruit juice can ferment in the baby’s and toddlers’ digestive systems and cause discomfort. Therefore, it is best to consult your doctor before giving fuit juice to your 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 watch for worsening symptoms. Almost all babies and toddlers suffer from upset tummies at times, which typically resolve with just a bit of help.

References/Resources:

1. Treating Vomiting; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/abdominal/Pages/treating-vomiting.aspx

2. Lorenzo. C. D; Patient education: Nausea and vomiting in infants and children (Beyond the Basics); UpToDate; https://www.uptodate.com/contents/nausea-and-vomiting-in-infants-and-children-beyond-the-basics

3. Heyman. M. B, Abrams. S. A; Fruit Juice in Infants, Children, and Adolescents: Current Recommendations; American Academy of Pediatrics; AAP Publications; https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/139/6/e20170967/38754/Fruit-Juice-in-Infants-Children-and-Adolescents; June 2017

4. When your child has diarrhea; MedlinePlus; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000693.htm

5. Boyse. K; Feeding Your Baby and Toddler (Birth to Age Two); University of Michigan Health; https://www.mottchildren.org/posts/your-child/feeding-your-baby-toddler#feeding-1-2yrs

6. Vomiting and Diarrhea; Familydoctor.org; https://familydoctor.org/condition/vomiting-and-diarrhea/

Also Read:

Stomach Ache in Babies
Causes of Vomiting in Toddler
Foods to Feed Baby and Toddler with Diarrhoea

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