Why is it that tummy aches always seem to happen at the worst possible times? Like when you’re out to a nice family dinner at a restaurant, on vacation, or even (ugh!) in the middle of the night? And if you’ve got a really little one—too little to explain what’s wrong—the crying can go on for hours.
Before you burst into tears yourself, just keep these four magic words in mind: this too shall pass. And in the meantime, here are some tips for taming those tummy aches:The indigestion question
An “upset tummy,” or run-of-the-mill indigestion, is probably the most common kid complaint you’ll hear throughout your tenure as a mom to small children. Pay attention to what kinds of food you’re serving, because sometimes eliminating soda and adding more fruit, vegetables and whole grains will put an end to these complaints. But if your children still have “gripes” about stomach aches after you’ve revised their diets, it might be time to break out the gripe water, a centuries-old European remedy consisting of sodium, ginger, fennel and chamomile that parents have been swearing by for years. (This is also a good item to have on hand after that extravagant birthday party with self-serve candy bar, unlimited pizza and ice cream cake!)
If your baby hasn’t had a dirty diaper in over 24 hours and seems to be uncomfortable, break out the prune baby food and stand back! (Can you tell I’m writing from experience?) Or feed the non-pureed version to older kids. Hopefully that will do the trick, but if it doesn’t, there’s always (gulp!) an enema, like Fleet Pedia Lax. (And once you’ve given your first enema, there’s nothing you can’t do!) You can add a children’s fiber supplement like Yummi Bears Fiber to your child’s vitamin regimen if this problem seems to crop up frequently.
Some kids just can’t ride in a car without getting green at the gills—while others can read in the car, go on merry-go-rounds and crazy amusement park rides, but develop staggeringly bad motion sickness as soon as that ship sails for your long-awaited family cruise. Thank goodness for natural remedies like Herbs for Kids Minty Ginger. Dramamine makes a kid-appropriate version in a yummy grape chewable.
If you’ve got a newborn whose tummy seems to go on strike every night around dinner time, you might be looking at a classic case of infant colic. The good news is that by 12 weeks, colic is usually on its way out the door. You should check with your pediatrician to see whether he or she recommends a prescription medication, but keep in mind that there are many great homeopathic remedies for colic—and that gripe water is also totally new –baby-safe.
Prepare with probiotics
While all of these remedies are great options, to keep your child’s digestive system in peak health, it can’t hurt to supplement with a probiotic. Yum V’s makes a probiotic bear-shaped cookie in delicious vanilla that contains 1 billion cells of Bifidobacterium lactis. You can also get probiotics in chewable, gummy and powder form (which can be added to a bottle or mixed into juice or yogurt).
Jorie Mark is the Creative Director of Vitacost.com and mother to three children, ages 2 to 10.