More than half of all infants, especially in the first six months, have digestive problems such as regurgitation, gas, colic, diarrhea, and constipation.
They bring discomfort to the child and cause anxiety to parents. Fortunately, most of these symptoms are only temporary difficulties that have no impact on the child’s development.
Let’s look at those that occur more often than others and figure out their causes and ways to eliminate them.
What are the most common digestive problems in babies?
A baby may swallow a small amount of air while eating. That is a normal situation. However, it may cause gas and a bloated belly.
Spitting up food
This problem usually occurs in infants and is mainly diagnosed in the first year of life. Regurgitated food at this age in small quantities is not abnormal. It is also due to swallowing small amounts of air and the immaturity of the digestive system.
Constipation is the absence of bowel movements for more than three days. It is found in every second newborn and often becomes the cause of moodiness and crying. Constipation usually occurs in babies on formula feeding.
Diarrhea is liquid and frequent stools. The main symptoms are the baby empties after every feeding, the defecation volume is large, and the baby is not gaining weight.
Diarrhea is often a serious health problem related to infection, intestinal absorption disorders, or food allergies.
This digestive issue in babies is usually diagnosed at 3-4 months. Its main cause is an imbalance of gut microbiota and the overall immaturity of the GI tract. Colic can occur both in breastfed babies and those who are formula-fed.
Colic and digestive issues mentioned earlier are not the only reasons your baby may have a tummy ache.
Sometimes the pain is caused by serious health problems that require immediate medical care. These are indicated by:
- Little or no weight gain
- Bloody stool and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Unusual bowel movements
How can I help my baby’s upset stomach?
If there are no such alarming symptoms, the baby has a good weight gain, eats well, and sleeps soundly — until the onset of pain — you can try to relieve your little one’s tummy pain.
If the baby is breastfed, the mother may change her diet and eliminate products that cause bloating and fermentation — cabbage, grapes, cucumbers, beans, etc. The cause of colic, for example, can be an allergy to cow’s milk protein.
In this case, the mother will have to avoid dairy products and beef for the lactation period.
If the baby is formula-fed, parents should change or choose a more suitable formula following the pediatrician’s recommendations.
In addition, pediatricians can educate parents about digestive health, including how to feed their little ones a healthy diet, how to manage constipation and diarrhea, and how to prevent food poisoning.
They can screen for digestive problems, including lactose intolerance, inflammatory bowel disease, and celiac disease.
Many manufacturers today produce special infant nutrition, allowing parents to support their babies’ healthy digestion without medication.
For instance, Serenity Kids and other reputable baby food manufacturers are keen on the ingredients they use in their products to ensure babies’ digestive health.
A good example is a low-sugar, easy grab-and-go baby pouch without preservatives and sugars made of organic vegetables and healthy fats.
Organics Best offers a wide range of organic milk formulas for babies with sensitive tummies and recommends paying special attention to the following criteria when choosing baby food:
- Carefully study the composition of the formula.
- Choose a quality product with a low lactose content, broken down protein, probiotics, and prebiotics in the composition.
- Check the formula’s content of vitamins, minerals, and vegetable fats.
- Avoid formulas with sugar and gluten.
- Buy products from a trustworthy manufacturer.
When choosing baby food, consider your baby’s age. You can identify if your baby has any food allergy or sensitivity by starting with single-ingredient foods. Introducing new food one at a time helps in the same way.
It usually takes some time for babies to get used to new foods. So, don’t be discouraged if your little one doesn’t like a particular food immediately. Offer it again a few days later.
Make feeding time a fun bonding experience, dedicating time and space for you and your little one to explore new tastes and textures.
In addition, you must think about your baby’s preferences. Some babies prefer smooth purees, while others prefer chunkier foods. So, be flexible.
And most importantly, remember to consult your pediatrician in order to prevent the side effects of switching to the new formula.