If the same irritants were to blame for every child's tummy ache, parenting would be a significantly easier job. When your little one suffers from an upset stomach, it's essential to pay attention to his or her symptoms and be ready to give more than one remedy a go.
Signs & Symptoms of Tummy Aches
Kids almost never make great patients. Babies and toddlers lack the ability to adequately describe digestive stressors and even older kiddos can lack the vocabulary to really discern why your child doesn't feel well. If you notice any of the following symptoms, though, it may mean your little one has an upset stomach:
- Frequent bowel movements
When you've set your sights on your child's stomach as the culprit behind their discomfort, try one of the following remedies to start gently easing his or her distress.
Keep Your Child Hydrated
One of the simplest natural remedies for tummy aches is fluids — and lots of them. Hydration is vital to a smoothly running digestive tract, so sit down with your child for a "Doc McStuffins" marathon and keep track of their fluid intake.
Keep in mind, not all drinks are created equal when it comes to easing your child's abdominal discomfort. Stick to plain water for the best results. The fizz in carbonated beverages can cause gas. Sports drinks are helpful in some instances, particularly if your little one has lost electrolytes.
Warm Compresses & Tummy Rubs
Sometimes, the best medicine for an upset stomach is a gentle belly rub from Mom or Dad. Research suggests that abdominal massage can:
- Aid digestion
- Relieve occasional constipation
- Reduce discomfort from occasional bloating
Tummy rubs have other indirect benefits as well. They can boost blood flow to the abdominal region (always a good thing), as well as help your child relax and release any anxiety, stress, or tension that may be causing or contributing to his or her discomfort. Similarly, a warm compress applied to the stomach or a warm bath can also encourage relaxation and help abdominal muscles loosen up.
Yogurt + Other Probiotic Foods
If your little one needs to go but can't, yogurt and other foods full of probiotics can help. (Don't worry if your toddler isn't stoked about kimchi and sauerkraut: Probiotic drops and gummies are good, too.)
Probiotics are live bacteria that, when ingested, can help bolster the good bacteria in your child's gut microbiome. Some evidence suggests that regular probiotic usage in kids may lead to more frequent and consistent bowel movements, too.
A roller bottle with nausea-fighting essential oils can be a parent's best friend when his or her little one has a stomach ache — especially if you're out and about. This topical aid involves diluting an essential oil with a carrier oil and then rubbing it onto your kiddo's belly. Some of the most valuable oils include:
No matter what oil you use, there are two important things to keep in mind: First, use pure, high-quality essential oils. Stick to therapeutic-grade products. Second, you must dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, such as avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. Undiluted oil can irritate the skin.
If you're looking to go the old school method, and your older kids are willing to sip, try herbal tea to ease your child's tummy ache. Herbs have been healing digestive distress for centuries.
Not just any tea will do, though; some teas contain caffeine, for example, which isn't recommended for kids younger than 12. Additionally, some children may be allergic to herbs found in popular teas, so keep your eyes peeled for an allergic reaction.
When you're ready to enlist the help of a soothing herbal tea, opt for the following:
- Ginger (good for nausea)
- Fennel (excellent for colic as well as support for occasional gas)
- Peppermint (also good for both nausea and colic)
Sweetening your child's tea with honey may make it go down extra smoothly, but remember that honey is unsafe for consumption by all children under age two.
Try the BRAT Diet
Looking for a different kind of throwback remedy? Check out the BRAT diet, but be aware that most pediatricians no longer suggest it as a way to relieve long-term stomach pain. BRAT stands for:
Nice and bland, right? The thought behind BRAT was that it gave your kiddo's gut a breather, thereby reducing the need to eliminate waste from the body. This can be very helpful in the beginning. Since the BRAT diet is low in protein, fat, and fiber, it is recommended that children return to a standard, well-balanced diet within the first 24 hours after feeling ill. That diet should include complex carbs, protein, yogurt, and plenty of fruits and veggies.
Get Your Child Moving
When your little one is sick, your first instinct is probably to snuggle him or her up in the fluffiest blanket in a 45-mile radius. We feel you. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for stomach discomfort is helping your kid to get moving.
When your child experiences occasional gas or bloating, a leisurely walk or bike ride can help move things along. Movement helps scoot food through the GI tract faster, which nudges gas out of your stomach (where it's most likely to cause discomfort) and into the small intestine. This makes it one of the most effective yet overlooked tummy ache remedies for toddler abdominal pain.
Polisorb rounds out this list because this silicon dioxide powder provides fast-acting support for various stomach ache symptoms, including occasional gas and bloating. It's not only safe for use by children, but it's also tasteless, odorless, and free from many common allergens, including:
- Tree nuts
Polisorb works by essentially acting as a magnet, coasting through your child's GI tract and attracting toxins along the way. Polisorb itself isn't absorbed at all, so it exits your child's digestive system right alongside whatever irritants were stressing him or her out. It's gentle, quick, and efficient: The entire process typically takes 15 minutes or less.
How to use Polisorb
At the first signs of distress, mix 1 tablespoon of Polisorb powder with ¼ cup of water or any other clear liquid and drink. Want to jazz that water up with some lemon? That's OK, too.
Tummy Ache Relief—Fast! Polisorb is Safe for the Whole Fam! Shop Now
When your son or daughter has a stomachache, it can be hard to pinpoint the exact problem. Kids don't always have the right words to say, "Mom! I'm bloated!" or "Dad, I think it was that fourth slice of pizza!" When your little one needs support, pay close attention to his or her symptoms, keep them comfy and turn to this roster of tried-and-true remedies for help.