Tummy troubles are an inevitable part of every parent’s journey with their little one. As a parent myself, I know how unsettling it is to watch your baby or toddler struggle with digestive discomfort, be it constipation, an upset tummy, or something more. Here are some of my top tips to help set your child on a path to good digestion.
Tip #1: Fiber
Occasional constipation can be a familiar tummy trouble for young children. While bowel patterns can vary considerably from child to child, one of the most common reasons for occasional constipation in toddlers is not meeting the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber (although it’s important to note, many infants experience some constipation as they are introduced to solids for the first time, as their systems are still developing).
This is just one of the reasons why foods that contribute fiber should be a regular part of your food routine each day, to really help your little one shine. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend children ages 1-3 get about 19 grams of fiber per day (or 14 grams per 1,000 calories).1
Offering a variety of foods that contribute fiber each day will help accomplish this:
- Whole Grains – A variety or cooked whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa or whole wheat pasta are good choices. For infants ready for cereal, Earth’s Best Organic® Whole Grain Oatmeal or Multigrain options are packed with nutritional goodness of whole grains including oats, spelt and barley.
- Beans and lentils - you can mash or puree them until your child can safely handle the variety of textures and size of a whole bean, as well as most vegetables and fruits keeping the skin on can significantly boost the fiber.
- Prunes - New Earth’s Best Organic® Stage 2 Prunes- also known as dried plums- have become an instant classic. They come from our family of certified organic farmers and provide a nutritious choice for good digestion. Try mixing into hot cooked whole grains at breakfast, or add to your child’s favorite smoothie or baked good recipe for a boost of fiber.
Tip #2: Hydration
Think of hydration as fiber’s essential partner for good digestion, helping add bulk and weight to stools while easing their passage. For children age 6 months to a year, your baby’s primary source of hydration should be breast milk (which is best for baby) or one of our Earth’s Best Organic® Infant Formulas. And remember that when you start introducing solids to your infant, they should be in addition to, not instead of breast milk or organic infant formula: check out our feeding guide to learn more. When your child is ready for a sippy cup, a good habit to get into is to offer him or her a sippy cup every time you pour a glass of water for yourself throughout the day.
Tip #3: “Binding Foods”
If your child needs help easing back into regular foods after an upset stomach, foods with ingredients, such as apples, banana and brown rice are known to have binding properties. They can help settle your baby’s tummy and their appetite while they are getting their oh so busy lives back on track.
Other Quick Tips:
- Read labels and talk with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about good digestion for your young child.
- A routine diet with consistent eating patterns as well as regular physical activity are important to good digestion.
- A calm, relaxed, positive toilet training environment can help set toddlers up for success.
1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.