“OOOh Mom, I don’t feel so well”… We have all heard these dreaded words before or been given “the look” that lets us know something isn’t right. There is not much worse than seeing our little ones hurting or sick. Sometimes it’s a virus that’s been going around that no amount of hand washing or vitamins could prevent. Yet sometimes (like adults) your child’s tummy is simply upset. Maybe they ate too much or something didn’t quite agree with them. This isn’t really that hard to believe, I’m pretty sure my tummy would be upset too if my typical day included five graham crackers, two crayons and licking the bottom of my shoes, just for fun. Oh, to be a kid.
Here are some natural remedies I have found that can calm your little one’s (or your own for that matter) tummy. These are great for upset stomachs or in helping transition/ heal a stomach after a virus or flu. If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea contact your pediatrician before anything else.
1. Ginger has many anti-inflammatory properties and can help ease digestion and calm stomach acid. This is probably why growing up I always heard you should drink a ginger ale for an upset stomach. Unfortunately now a days most ginger ale is loaded with sugar (which can upset the stomach more) and doesn’t actually contain ginger. A great way to give your child some ginger is to use fresh ginger (most potent) and make them a tea from it. Fresh ginger can be found near the produce sections of most grocery stores. Peal and chop a few small pieces (about 1 inch cubes) of fresh ginger, using a tea strainer brew it in hot water for a few minutes then mix with additional water till it’s the right drinking temperature for your little one. Ginger does have a strong flavor so for children (over one) you can add a little honey if they complain about the taste. They may not gulp it down but as long as they sip on it for awhile it should help.
2. Lemon can be a wonderful fruit in aiding with tummy troubles. Squeeze half a lemon into a cup of warm water. If it seems to be a little too tart add more water. Again, let your child sip on it for awhile till their tummy pain eases. The acid in the lemon can actually help break down food, calming the overactive stomach acid.
3. Mint can be wonderful at helping to calm an upset stomach and in aiding digestion. If your child has an appetite you could try making them a smoothie with fresh mint, spinach and banana. If their tummy is still a little too fragile you can brew them some tea with fresh mint, using a tea strainer brew it in hot water for a few minutes then mix with additional water till it’s the right drinking temperature for your little one. If you can’t find fresh mint you can look for herbal peppermint tea. Just be sure it doesn’t contain caffeine or other additives.
4. Heat can actually help an upset stomach. Give your child a warm compress (I stick it in a sock to make it comfortable for them to hold) and have them rest it on their belly for awhile (this may be only for a few minutes, which is an eternity to a child when they have to sit still) but it can still help relax the stomach muscles in that time.
5. Yogurt is full of “good” bacteria that can aid in stomach troubles. Probiotics found in yogurt and kefir can help restore healthy gut bacteria that is needed in digestion. Watch out for many commercial yogurts can be loaded with sugars which can cause more upset to a fragile stomach. Plain yogurt or with just a touch of honey (for children over one) is a favorite in our house.