Groaning on the floor, hair and limbs sprawled out, lolling her tongue in and out, my daughter was convinced she was dying.
In a fashion that made me suspicious she had been watching TV she shouldn’t, she grabbed her throat and proclaimed she’d probably been poisoned.
I was certain she was totally fine based on the fact that, when she wasn’t doing Hamlet renditions, she was up and running around, wind in her hair, pink-cheeked, and healthy.
But of course smart moms are careful, so I made an appointment with the doctor just in case.
Yep, she’s totally fine.
So what’s up?
I remember I got a ton of tummy aches as a kid, which I mostly attribute to my anxiety, but I’ve also learned that they can be a part of the growing pain experience.
Kids get a lot of tummy aches—especially kids 4-8 years old. Some of the main reasons for this are stress, diet, and even growing pains as the cramps around and on the outside of the stomach occur. (1)
Even though these tummy-aches aren’t serious, they’re often the worst pain kids have experienced in their lives because their lives have, thus far, been very short and sheltered. And usually they act accordingly.
We were all there once.
If you’re like me and don’t really want to hit the medicine cabinet every time they have an ache and pain, then you’re reading the right post.
That being said, I’m not against medicine, and if that’s the way you roll then you do you. The information in this post can still help you and your kiddo out whether you use medicine or not for growing pains and tummy aches.
Here are some natural ways to help soothe pain and give comfort:
-Get outdoors: Running around, fresh air, sunshine…all of this can help relieve tension and stress. Being active will also help their digestive systems out.
-Chamomile tea: The taste is comforting and the heat alone can soothe distressed feelings. Additionally, it assists in decreasing inflammation, has sedative properties, and helps people relax and fall asleep—all of which can help with tummy aches. (1)
-Ginger: In a previous post we talked about how ginger can help expecting mothers with morning sickness. Giving ginger ale to your child is beneficial (the carbonation can help keep food down if the child has been throwing up), but ginger tea is even better. It’s more natural and has a higher concentration of ginger. You could also grate a small amount into warm water if the little one isn’t a fan of the other two. (3) Ginger also helps decrease inflammation and is also a powerful antioxidant.
-Peppermint tea: My daughter loves this one. It’s easy to take and soothes an upset stomach. Peppermint is great for tummy aches.
-Massage: Sometimes kids just get stressed out. There’s a lot to figure out about the world, and it’s all so new at this stage of life. Giving a massage could help soothe their emotions, feel safe, and connect with a trusted source, all of which could help soothe tummy cramps that are emotionally driven. This link has some neat tutorials on how to give massages that move gas bubbles through the gut http://www.mommypotamus.com/home-remedies-stomach-aches/ . Acupressure could be a good for your little ones as well. It has long been used as a calming and tension-releasing technique. (2)
-Fiber: Find it in prunes, whole-grains, raspberries, pears, raisins, etc. Fiber keeps everything flowing and assists in avoiding tummy aches caused by indigestion or constipation.
-Heat: Using warm compression (such as a hot water bottle or rice bag) will increase blood flow to the skin and will ease the feeling of pain. Heat is also very comforting. Sometimes my daughter and I will just curl up with hot rice packs when we are anxious or stressed because it makes us feel better. No scientific reason why. It just does.
-Honey: Honey is a super-combo of sugars, carbs, and antioxidants (remember it’s not recommended for kids under 1-year-old). (3) Giving your child a spoon of honey is both tasty and healthy.
-Helpful Foods: Remember that smaller meals throughout the day are better for tummy pains. Helpful foods with tummy pain are yogurt and milk (unless of course your child is lactose intolerant as that would further aggravate an upset stomach), applesauce, rice, oatmeal, toast, bananas, soup, etc. (4) Avoid spicy, greasy, refined sugar, fatty foods, caffeine/chocolate, or very processed foods as these are more likely to irritate the stomach and result in expelling food through vomit or diarrhea. (5) Go with easy-to-digest foods so that the stomach and digestive tract don’t have to over-work during this time.
Remember to know when to go to the doctors. Some of the resources I included at the bottom have some good advice.
Tummy aches and growing pains are going to happen. It’s part of growing up. But these small things can really help out in keeping them either at bay or relatively fewer and further between.
Good luck, Smart Moms!