Children can experience stomach cramping for a variety of reasons. Constipation, diarrhea, infections, stress, overeating, food poisoning, eating foods they are allergic to and, in severe cases, appendicitis can cause stomach pain and cramping in children. Stomach cramping can wake children at night, cause them to miss school or miss out on playing with friends. As a parent, there a number of actions you can take to help ease stomach cramping in children and get your child back to his normal self. However, always consult with your child's pediatrician in case the pain calls for medical care.
Apply a heating pad or warm water bottle to your child's stomach. Heating pads are best for older children, while warm water bottles work better for babies. Lie your child on her belly on top of the heat; for babies, put the bottle on your knees and gently put the baby's belly on top. Use a heating pad on a low setting. Apply heat for 15 minutes at a time, a few times per day. A parent should always be present when a child is using a heating pad or warm bottle to prevent burns.
Massage your child's stomach. Gently massage his stomach in a circular motion for 15 minutes several time per day. A massage can help relieve gas and constipation in children.
Make changes to your child's diet for a day when she is experiencing stomach cramping. Remove spicy foods from her diet and give your child clear liquids and bland foods until she starts to feel better. These foods can include water, ginger ale, broth, ice pops, crackers and toast.
Consult your child's doctor about taking an over-the-counter pain medication to help alleviate pain. Give your child the appropriate amount of medication as indicated on the bottle for his age and weight.
Comfort your child. Hold your child and spend time with her to help reduce stress and keep her mind off stomach cramps. If you child is up for it, watch her favorite movie or play her favorite game to keep her distracted.
To prevent stomach cramping — or bellyaches — in children, be sure children get plenty of sleep, eat fiber-rich foods, wash their hands regularly, avoid eating before bedtime and be sure children do not overeat.
For severe stomach cramping along with vomiting, fever and loss of appetite, consult your child's pediatrician. Pain that starts near the belly button and moves to the lower right side of your child's abdomen may be an indicator of appendicitis.
For persistent belly pain, take your child to the pediatrician for an examination.