Illness: Stomach Upset and Vomiting
Stomach upset and vomiting are common occurrences during your baby’s first few years, while her digestive system is small and still developing. Typical childhood stomach issues create an overall ache and discomfort in the abdominal region and usually improve within one to two days. Sharp pain, or a specific pain in a specific area, can be a sign of a condition that needs immediate attention, such as appendicitis or an intestinal blockage.
Vomiting is the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins and excesses and restoring health and balance. In general, vomiting is different from spitting up; it has more force behind it, because the food has already been partially digested.
Stomach Upset and Vomiting: Symptoms
- Lack of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Crying and discomfort
- Cramps, tenderness, or stomach pain
- Milk spit-up with a sour odor
- Pale face
- Cold hands and feet
- Accompanying fever, cough, cold, or diarrhea
Stomach Upset and Vomiting: Causes
- Fussy digestive system
- Reflux (common in infants)
- Gas or swallowing air while feeding
- Bacterial, viral, or parasite infection (may be accompanied by fever, cough, cold, and/or diarrhea)
- Emotional upset or anxiety (emotions can be transferred from nursing mother)
- Formula incompatibility
- Mucus accumulation from animal fats, dairy foods, and refined sugars
- Food poisoning (usually occurs around eight hours after a meal)
- Accidental ingestion of poison
- Food allergies
- Motion sickness
- Urinary tract infection
- Reaction to a vaccine
- Transition to solid foods
- Cold food or environment
Stomach Upset and Vomiting: Prevention
- If breast-feeding, observe your own diet and how certain foods affect your baby. Consuming alcohol, dairy, gluten, and caffeine can cause a reaction.
- Feed your baby in an upright position, burp her more often, and space out feeding times to avoid food stagnation.
- Wash your hands and ensure proper food storage and preparation. These practices should prevent the survival of most pathogens.
- Make mealtimes calm. Once you introduce solid foods, be sure your baby chews her food and eats slowly.
- If your child seems to have stomachaches after eating, try serving simpler foods until her digestive system strengthens. If you suspect her formula is causing upset, change brands. If you suspect a food allergy, eliminate the food from her diet.
- Do not feed your baby or allow her to eat during car rides.
- Keep your baby sitting up after feeding for 15 to 30 minutes.
Stomach Upset and Vomiting: Suggestions for Care
Common stomach upset and vomiting usually heal on their own. You can support your baby by making sure that she remains hydrated, rested, and comfortable. Many children become frightened of vomiting, so it is important that you remain calm and reassuring. An environment with plenty of air and low lights can help with the nausea and general discomfort.
While your baby is actively vomiting, do not offer food. Once the vomiting has calmed down (which should be no longer than 12 hours), you can reintroduce fluids one tablespoon at a time; wait for 15 or 20 minutes to see if it stays down, and then offer another tablespoon. Be very careful not to move too quickly with fluids or to overfill your baby’s stomach.
Food and Remedies for Nursing Mother or Baby Older than Six Months
When your child has gone at least six hours without vomiting, you can reintroduce foods, such as clear broths and simple solids. After 24 hours with no vomiting, your child can return to her regular diet. If your baby is breast-feeding, remember that what the nursing mother eats can be transferred to the baby, so a simple diet can help your baby.
- Hara-maki (belly warmer)
- Warm ginger compress or warm water bottle over belly and mid back
- Green clay over abdomen or mid back
Foods to Emphasize
Warm foods, such as miso soup and vegetable broth. Once your baby tolerates clear broths and becomes hungry, introduce grain cream. Remedies for stomach upset include chamomile or fennel herbal tea, miso soup, plum extract (concentrated plum) in hot water, umeboshi plum, plum vinegar, kuzu, fermented foods, and probiotic booster.
Foods to Avoid
Cold food, dairy products, high-fat and sugary foods, carbonated beverages, and acidic foods.
Essential Oils for Baby
Acupoints for Baby
- Stomach 36
- Spleen 3
- Heart Governor 5, 6
Reiki for Baby
For two or more minutes, place your hands on the following parts of your child’s body: abdomen and lower back.
Massage for Baby
Calm your baby and her digestive tract with general, low-pressure strokes on her body, head, arms, and legs.
- Rub the abdomen clockwise (when facing your baby).
- Hold your baby facedown on your arm or over your shoulder and gently pat her back.
Stomach Upset and Vomiting: Concerns
The majority of childhood stomach upsets resolve on their own. However, sometimes vomiting or pain in the abdomen can indicate a serious condition. Speak with your health care provider if your baby has had stomach pain or vomiting with a fever for more than 48 hours.
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.