>> Read the blog on Lief & Zoet Sleep Coaching’s website here.
The blog was written by sleep coach Wendy Emmen

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Help! What to do with tummy cramps and sensitive tummies?

Cramps, tummy aches and sensitive tummies cause teething and pain in babies but also in older children.
Many children suffer from sensitive tummies. Unfortunately, children cannot indicate this and even if they can talk, it is difficult for them to tell exactly what is wrong.
In many cases, a sensitive tummy gets in the way of sleeping. Sometimes a baby has trouble falling asleep, sometimes the baby wakes up (usually around 5am).


What can cause a sensitive tummy and what can you do about it?

Colic in babies

In the first weeks, many babies suffer from cramps, which is very logical but also very sad. It is logical because your baby is born with a gastrointestinal system that is not yet fully mature. It has to mature and that takes time.

Intestinal cramps make your baby cry, why? It just hurts. Often the cramps come half an hour after feeding, sometimes a few cramps, sometimes a lot and often resulting in a full nappy.

Many babies suffer from these cramps in the late afternoon, but there are some who are really plagued by these annoying cramps all evening and even early at night.

Around 6 weeks is the peak, after that you often see the intestinal cramps decrease. Around 3 months, most babies are cramp-free.


Sensitive tummies in babies from 4 months onwards

From around 4 months onwards, you regularly see babies suffering from colic. This is a logical consequence of offering the first snacks. The intestines suddenly have to process something completely different, which can cause complaints.


Sensitive tummies in older babies

Even older babies can still suffer from a sensitive tummy. The reason may be nutrition. Some children, for instance, are not allergic to certain foods, but are sensitive. And that can certainly cause complaints. In addition, stress can also be a cause of tummy troubles.

What can you do?

>> Carrying, warmth and relaxation:

Carrying is very relaxing for small babies and they immediately benefit from your body heat. For toddlers, even “cycling” with their legs can sometimes bring relief.

You can also give your baby a relaxing tummy massage. This provides relaxation and pain relief, provided it is done properly.

What always relieves pain and relaxes is warmth. You can give warmth in different ways. For example, through a warm bath. If you want to give warmth for longer, choose a baby hot water bottle like the KipKep Woller.

This product provides wonderful warmth on the tummy, stays on the tummy and is lovely and soft. A baby hot water bottle is actually the wrong name, because the KipKep Woller is also very suitable to use for older children and even for you mummy or daddy!

>> Feeding

Feeding is an important factor. Food that is not yet well tolerated by your baby can cause intestinal cramps or tummy aches.

Milk feeding:
If you are breastfeeding, consider what you eat. Cabbage and gas-forming vegetables can cause cramps. If you bottle-feed, stick to one brand as much as possible. Switching foods can cause cramps. If you do want to switch, switch gradually.

Solid food:
Do you want to start solid food? Preferably from 6 months onwards and build it up gradually. It’s best to start with the following foods:
Cauliflower
Broccoli
Carrot
Apricot
Avocado
Pear
Rice flour
Rice wafer
Sweet potato

If you suspect that your child is sensitive to a particular food, test this. For example, you can try not giving the food for a while and see what effect it has on the (tummy) symptoms.

Food supplement:
What is always good for gut support is a probiotic cure. Here, choose a good brand that is suitable for babies and children. A better health food shop can advise you on this.


>> The most important advice:

Be kind to yourself and your baby. Support your child where necessary and relax!
If in doubt, always consult your GP for examination and advice.

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Written by Wendy Emmen of Lief & Zoet Sleep Coaching
January 2023