Toddler's diarrhea, bloating, gas, constipation, and even IBS can plague our little ones. Apart from medical issues of the GI tract, the underlying causes of digestive troubles is often inappropriate eating habits. Many parents don't realise the importance of good nutrition and the relationship between food and the body's functions.
Here are 5 tips to help your toddler's digestive system:
1. Avoid Overeating
Quality over quantity. It is easy to lose sight of what a proper portion is. With Baby Led Weaning, it is said that the baby will stop eating when full and not over eat. But I have noticed her gorging on some tasty foods, shovelling mouthfuls and swallowing without chewing much. So I help her control the pace by serving smaller portions to her at a time and topping up each time she's done. Eating too fast and overeating puts a lot of pressure on the digestive system. This can result in abdominal discomfort.
2. Don't drink with meals
Combining both food and liquid can lead to slower digestion as the digestive juices are diluted by the liquids consumed. It is best to keep the amount of fluids around mealtime to a minimum. Myla Rae is allowed to have small sips of water during mealtime. She gets full access to her water bottle the rest of the day and will drink to her heart's content then.
3. Eliminate Junk
Highly processed foods and junk foods contain a lot of trans fats and preservatives which can interfere with digestion. Because many of these substances are unnatural, their systems are not sure what to do with them, and this hinders digestion. Such foods also contain very few nutrients and will use up the body’s nutrients as they are digested. This will in turn create a nutrient deficiency that will impair future digestion. Opt for fresh, natural, whole foods that the body can easily absorb.
4. Limit Certain foods
Certain foods, including dairy, are harder for babies and toddlers to digest. Myla has troubles digesting fresh milk, even a small amount gives her gas and explosive diarrhea. So I limit treats such as ice cream. And I don't give her fresh milk to drink, I give her Friso Gold formula instead because it's much easier to digest. This formula supports good gut health with prebiotics and probiotics. It is also well balanced with nutrients such as DHA and AA for brain development, and antioxidants such as, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E for immune health. With LockNutri System Friso nutrient is easy to digest.
Did you know that eating certain foods together and keeping certain foods apart during a meal can affect digestion and nutrient absorption?
The main foods that should be kept apart are starches (i.e. breads, potatoes, rice, pasta) and protein-dense foods such as meat. So instead of serving your child steamed salmon and potatoes for dinner, combine the salmon with a non-starch vegetable such as broccoli.
And when serving pasta with meat and green vegetables, its best to use a tomato based sauce as the vitamin C in the sauce will help aid absorption of iron from the dish.
These are my 5 simple strategies to help toddlers cope with a less mature digestive system than adults have. They are healthy habits and really do help alleviate bloating, constipation and other digestive discomfort.