Has your little one been experiencing tummy issues? Be it loads of gas or spit-ups, here are tips to help give Baby better digestion, and you, peaceful days.
Being a mum is tough. From ensuring that the household stays immaculate (okay we can hope, right?) to completing that client’s deal so the boss doesn’t chew you out, to surviving on piecemeal sleep, it’s safe to say that staying on top of everything is tough with a capital “T”.
Add in a fussy child who refuses to let you have a moment’s peace and it’s enough to make even the calmest mum go mad. But what’s causing all the fuss? Why isn’t your baby a bubbly, cheery, smily kid like every other child you know?
Why is my baby fussing?
If you’ve gone through the usual basic checks – diaper clear, baby fed and not hungry, not too warm or cold, not overly tired and needing to sleep – and Baby’s still not happy, it could be a digestive issue that’s causing the fussing. Some babies have a delicate tummy, and this can cause discomfort through symptoms such as:
- Altered stool consistency.
How important is my baby’s tummy?
Maintaining Baby’s digestive health is a holistic process that includes right kinds of food and drink, as well as other factors such as movement and activity. Our digestive system breaks down the food we consume into nutrients, providing energy for us¹. Without proper digestion, your little one will not be able to get nutrients from food, no matter how healthy her meals are.
And we know how vital nutrients are in aiding their growth and development, so it makes perfect sense to ensure that Baby enjoys good digestion all the time. So how can you keep Baby (and her tummy) happy and fuss-free so that she’s happy and fuss-free as well?
1. Don’t Overfeed
Your baby does not understand portion sizes yet. And yes, we are just as guilty as you are of over-feeding our babies because we fear that our little ones don’t have enough to eat. But really, mums, there’s no need to be kiasu! Large portions of food put pressure on Baby’s little tummy, causing indigestion¹. And indigestion can lead to tummy aches, so Baby could be fussing or crying because of abdominal discomfort.
Pro-tip: Feed Baby little and often. Let her indulge in small portions of food often rather than consuming a heavy meal in one go.
2. No Drinks for Bub
Let’s admit it – in hot, hot, Singapore, there’s nothing we love more than an ice-cold drink to accompany our meal. However, it’s been proven that consuming drinks (even water!) during meals can slow down digestion as it dilutes the digestive juices in our tummies¹.
Pro-tip: Give Bub water before and after meals instead.
3. Say “Hi!” to Whole Foods
Ah, processed foods, so tasty, but not at all good for health! We adults are capable of digesting processed foods better than our young ones. That’s not to say that they can’t have the occasional trip to McDonald’s or KFC, but keep these fast food meals occasional. The preservatives and trans fats found in certain foods can interfere with and complicate digestion for your children. This could lead to altered stool consistency and an unhappy tummy.
Pro-tip: Stick to whole foods – packed with good nutrients – for your kids, especially those with sensitive tummies.
4. Yes, Veggies Are Good For You
For a healthy bowel² feed Baby fibre from a variety of sources, such as wholemeal bread, brown rice, fruit and veggies, beans, and oats. Children with sensitive tummies can start with certain fruits and veggies (check to ensure that these do not cause bloating and gas) to avoid bloating from other sources².
Pro-tip: Add greens into omelettes as a great way to sneak veggies into the kids’ diets without them noticing!
5. Bye Bye Screen Time
Is your little one staring at a mobile device as he eats? If the answer is yes, it’s time to set some rules at the dining table. With distractions, it’s hard for Baby to pay attention to the food in front of him. This could potentially hinder his digestion, as the body isn’t primed to digest food when distracted. It may also distract Baby from chewing properly and lead to choking!
Pro-tip: Practice mindful eating with your little one. Talk about the foods that he is putting into his mouth: what it looks like, what it feels like, how easy or hard it is to chew, and so on. It may take some getting used to, but Baby will love listening to you, and believe it to not, he’ll be learning from you too.
6. Run, Baby, Run
Exercise is great for our whole body – and our stomachs too! “Exercise can help speed up the digestive process and keep bowel movements regular,” says Dr Dylan Atfeld of Concierge Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Singapore⁷.
Why? Physical activity stimulates our intestines, helping us digest food better⁴. By moving, your baby increases blood flow to the tummy, keeping the digestive muscles moving⁶. This allows food to pass through it more quickly too. So get your little one moving every day.
Pro-tip: Go for a stroll in the neighbourhood park, sign up for baby gym classes, go to an indoor playground, or try trampolining (if your child is old enough)… the list of things to do is endless!
7. Drink Milk That’s Gentle
Milk is the main source of vital nutrients that aids kids’ development. However, babies are born with immature digestive systems (Dr Laurence B Palevsky Pathways, Family Wellness magazine⁵,). This means that they have less effective digestive enzymes and have a harder time digesting protein and lactose found in milk as compared to adults. Therefore, using a formula with easy-to-digest partially hydrolysed protein, and a lower lactose content is encouraged.
Pro-tip: Try a milk formula that’s easier on your baby’s digestive system!
Try Enfamil A+ Gentlease Stage 2 & Enfagrow A+ Gentlease Stage 3
Enfamil A+ Gentlease Stage 2 and Enfagrow A+ Gentlease Stage 3 are formulas with easy-to-digest partially hydrolyzed protein (smaller protein molecules) and low lactose to support the maturing digestive system. Furthermore, it contains Omega-3 fatty acid like DHA. DHA is also an important building block for brain and eye development.
Happy Tummy, Happy Baby
So next time, before you despair and swear you want to “return” baby due to constant fussiness, wait! Check if she’s behaving like this because of digestive problems.
If your little one’s been having tummy troubles, spit-ups, or gassiness, these are clues that she may need a gentler milk formula which contains partially hydrolysed proteins and low lactose content to support delicate tummies. That means no more messy diapers, constant crying after meal time, and fussiness – yay!
- “Digestion | How to Improve Digestion in Kids | Gut Health.” MaxCure Suyosha, 4 Nov. 2017, www.maxcuresuyosha.com/digestion-in-kids/.
- “Good Foods to Help Your Digestion.” NHS Choices, NHS, 21 Aug. 2016, www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/good-foods-to-help-your-digestion/.
- Presti, Lilian. “6 Tips for Improving Children’s Digestion.” Natural and Organic Products, GMO Free Foods, Living Healthy Lifestyle Tips, 10 Aug. 2016, www.naturallysavvy.com/nest/tips-for-improving-kids-digestion.
- Shaw, Gina. “A Nutritionist Speaks: How to Promote Your Child’s Digestive Health.” WebMD, WebMD, 6 Feb. 2012, www.webmd.com/children/features/digestive-health#3.
- Palevsky, Laurence B. “A Holistic Perspective on the Digestive System of Infants and Children.” The Power of a Child’s Imagination | Inspirational, The International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, www.pathwaystofamilywellness.org/Children-s-Health-Wellness/a-holistic-perspective-on-the-digestive-system-of-infants-and-children.html.
- Waters, Jo. “Why Exercise Is Good for Your Digestive System.” Healthspan, Healthspan, 26 June 2017, www.healthspan.co.uk/advice/why-exercise-is-good-for-your-digestive-system.
- Atfeld, Dylan. “Digestive Problems.” Concierge Chiropractic and Rehabilitation RSS2, Concierge Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, www.ccr.com.sg/chiropractic-and-rehabilitation/digestive-problems/.
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