Baby with Stomchache
A baby with stomach pain may have the following signs and symptoms the baby is grumpy or fussy and more.

When a baby has a stomachache or stomach pain, it can cause significant discomfort, making it difficult for the baby to sleep or rest. Knowing the cause of the pain can help determine if the child requires medical attention or if home remedies and soothing strategies would suffice. Home remedies can help ease a baby’s pain and would be enough if the stomach pain is not caused by anything serious. However, sometimes medical treatment may be required as well, especially if the baby doesn’t seem to be getting better. Hence, it is advised to consult a pediatrician to understand the cause and care required for the baby.

How can you tell if a baby has a stomachache?

A baby with stomach pain may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • The baby is grumpy or fussy
  • Unable to eat
  • Unable to sleep
  • Cries more than usual
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty being still
  • The baby shows expressions of pain (eyes squeezed shut, grimacing)
  • The baby’s tummy may be too tense to touch even when the baby is not crying

What can help a baby’s stomachache?

There are several home remedies and soothing strategies to help ease a baby’s stomach ache, which varies with the cause of the stomachache. If the baby doesn’t show any signs of improvement, it’s advised to seek medical attention right away. Some common causes of stomachache and their remedies include:

Colic:

Commonly occurs in babies under 3 months of age. The exact cause is not known, but it’s believed to be because the intestines tighten causing pain. The baby cries more in the late afternoon or evening and cries for at least 3 hours for 3 days a week or more and this lasts for at least 3 weeks. The baby also tries to pull the legs to the chest and passes a lot of gas

  • Remedies to help the baby:
    • The baby may be swaddled in a blanket
    • The baby may be held while walking and rocked
    • Using a pacifier can help

Gas:

Gas may often be associated with colic. Gas may arise because of swallowing air, problems with digestion, difficulty in digesting breast milk when the mother eats certain foods.

  • Remedies to help the baby:
    • Breastfeeding mothers may consult with a doctor regarding an appropriate diet
    • Discontinuing foods that cause digestive problems

Constipation:

A baby can have stomach pain if they are constipated. The baby may have hard, dry stools or not pass stools at all. A baby may be constipated when they hold their bowel movements, as well as due to insufficient fiber in the diet, inadequate hydration, certain medications, changes in the diet, and food allergies like milk or milk-products allergy.

  • Remedies to help the baby:
    • One to two teaspoons of prune juice may be given to babies over 6 months of age
    • Avoiding milk and cheese because they can cause constipation
    • Keeping the baby physically active because moving around helps relieve constipation

Acid reflux:

Babies with reflux have stomach pain and burning chest pain (heartburn) because stomach acid backs up into their esophagus (food pipe). In this condition, the baby refuses to eat, has hiccups, chokes, coughs, vomiting, frequent ear infections, poor weight gain, and rattling sound in the chest.

  • Remedies to help the baby:
    • Keeping the baby upright while feeding and for some time after feeding
    • Most babies usually outgrow reflux problems by the age of 1 year

When to see a doctor?

If the baby has any of the following signs and symptoms along with stomach pain, emergency medical attention is required:

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Medically Reviewed on 12/26/2020
References
WebMD. How to Soothe Your Child's Stomachache. https://www.webmd.com/children/guide/help-child-tummyache#1

American Academy of Pediatrics. Abdominal Pains in Infants. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/abdominal/Pages/Abdominal-Pains-in-Infants.aspx