Children experience no shortage of tummy aches. Many kids between the ages of four and ten can get frequent stomach aches that are caused by anything ranging from digestive upset and food allergies or sensitivity to stress, tiredness, and even growing pains.
When it comes to helping children ease their stomach discomfort, it can be hard to get direct answers out of them. They're not always adept at describing exactly where their symptoms are coming from or how they truly feel. As a parent, you want to give them effective support without worsening the situation. The following natural remedies are great ways to ease an upset tummy in kids.
Ginger has been trusted as an anti-nausea remedy for thousands of years. Modern research supports it as an effective way to settle an upset stomach, too. It's generally considered safe and can be eaten in food, tea, or supplement form. For kids, the best way to use ginger for fast-acting nausea relief is in tincture form, combined with other beneficial and soothing herbs, like fennel and peppermint. Mo'Betta Belly is an herbal blend that is designed just for kids who need an occasional soothing remedy for an upset stomach.
Sometimes children experience "stomach" pain that is actually in the intestines. It can be a result of constipation, diarrhea, or having problems digesting food well. This can be a result of needing more good bacteria in the gut. The human microbiome changes in response to environment, diet, and lifestyle. When diets contain too many refined or processed foods, the bacteria that live in the gut changes. Fiber, vegetables, and fruits, as well as healthy fats, are all needed to support a diverse and healthy microbiome. Most children aren't fond of eating fermented foods, and even the types of yogurt that children typically eat are too loaded with sugar to be truly beneficial. Adding a daily probiotic to your child's diet can help to restore good gut bacteria and address regular stomach pain from things like constipation, slow transit of food through the intestines, and even diarrhea associated with antibiotic consumption. There are many probiotic varieties available, but be sure to read the "inactive ingredients" and avoid those that contain fillers, flavorings, or sugar. Choose one that is specifically labeled for children. They often come in powder, chewable, or capsule form, but most capsules can be broken open to add to juice, water, or applesauce.
On a similar note, if children frequently experience constipation or diarrhea, an imbalance of fiber in their diet could be to blame. Suddenly boosting their fiber intake could make it worse, too, so it needs to be a gradual change over a few weeks. The best ways to boost kids" fiber intake is to increase fruits and vegetables. When that's not enough, psyllium husk can be a good way to get their fiber intake up. Some supplements are created for children, but adult versions can be used too, if you adjust the dose. Speak with their pediatrician about the right dose. You can also take the adult recommended serving size and divide it by eight to start with, and slowly work your way up to a one-quarter or one-half dose, depending on the age of the child. Fiber supplements are usually powdered and can be added to smoothies, stirred into applesauce, or mixed with juice.
If your child frequently complains about not feeling well or having tummy troubles, pay special attention to their regular water intake. Most kids don't drink enough water on a daily basis. While the amount they need varies wildly based on age and weight, getting a personalized recommendation from their pediatrician is the best way to start. If children struggle to drink water because they don't like it, try getting them a fun new water bottle or infusing water with fruit to boost the taste.
Another herbal remedy that has been trusted for thousands of years, chamomile is soothing for children who have upset tummies from anxiety, the flu, or even generalized stomach upset. Chamomile helps the stomach muscles to relax and cuts down on spasming, which can provide relief. If your child doesn't like the taste of chamomile tea, consider adding a little honey for taste, or pair it with another liquid that they do like, such as peppermint tea. You can even water it down and have them drink it over the course of a few hours so the taste isn't as strong.
The Bottom Line
While these natural remedies are all safe and effective for children if your child repeatedly complains about the same or worsening problems, it's important to make sure your pediatrician evaluates them. Children can develop food allergies or other disorders that can lead to digestive or intestinal problems. These are best addressed as early as possible.
Writer Aimee McNew has a Master's in Holistic Nutrition Therapy (MNT) and is also a Certified Practitioner of Nutrition Therapy (CNTP). Read her posts on nutrition and wellness at https://www.aimeemcnew.com/.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or sell any product.