It is always best for the baby if digestive problems such as colic, constipation, diarrhoea, and reflux and regurgitation are addressed before they even occur. With appropriate education and good hygiene, as well as some nutritional adjustments, difficulties related to the alimentary system can be greatly reduced, and serious intervention can be avoided.
When a baby suffers from digestive problems, natural measures provide mild but effective alternatives for treatment. Tummy massages, warm baths, light exercise in the form of playing with the child, and the “flying baby position” are a good start for pain relief. In order to react to digestive problems not just in the immediate instance, but in a more sustainable manner, science draws attention to a number of natural solutions that effectively support babies’ digestion, such as: herbal extracts; vitamins; pro- and prebiotics; as well as lipid-, protein- and carbohydrate-related helpers.
Many studies prove that the right education and good personal and environmental hygiene practices stand in a direct relationship with the occurrence of infections, some of which may result in diarrhoea, for example (Aiello and Larson, 2002). Specifically, proper hand-washing, clean feeding, clean and regular nappy-changing practices, washing of toys, adequate faecal disposal, as well as general household hygiene all contribute to the avoidance of digestive disorders. Also, it is critical to inform parents about possible routes of transmission for infection and behaviours that either bear a risk for, or may promote, babies’ health. One simple example is to trim the child’s fingernails in order to prevent the settlement of pathogenic germs, which – by sucking the hand – get into the baby’s mouth. In relation to the problem of constipation, toilet training and daily defecation are further measures to be considered (Koppen et al, 2015).
Another preventive measure for digestive problems is the adjustment of the breastfeeding mother’s nutrition. For example, by avoiding specific foods with flatulent effects, difficulties for both the mother and the child might be avoided. Although no scientific proof exists, some of the foods that mothers often identify as being related to such effects are: cabbages; legumes such as peas; onions; and garlic. It is also recommended to avoid citrus fruits such as pineapple or kiwi fruit, which might cause the child to have a sore bottom. Additional fibre and fluid intake on the child’s side may also help relieve constipation (Koppen et al, 2015).
Moreover, parents should promote a relaxed atmosphere. This positively affects the child and is correlated with less stress and tension (factors which may themselves trigger digestive problems). Also, the gastrointestinal tract of a baby is very small and still needs to adapt to greater amounts of food. Therefore, parents should feed small portions and offer meals more frequently instead.back