Gut health issues: Mommy checks child’s tummy

Are you raising a happy and healthy child? The answer may lie in their gut health. Experts have long since acknowledged that gut health has a huge influence on a child's overall well-being, particularly their immunity. But did you know there’s evidence that it can affect their cognitive health, too?

In this article, we'll discuss:

  • The gut microbiome and how it influences children’s health

  • Common gut health issues in children

  • When to seek medical care for your child’s gut health

  • The role of probiotics and prebiotics in your child’s gut health

  • Children’s Milk Formula that is suitable for sensitive tummy

Gut health issues: Mommy checks child’s tummy

How do you start nurturing a strong and healthy child? It begins with gut health. Recent research highlights how a healthy gut can positively influence various aspects of children's health, from their immune system to their cognitive abilities. Learn why it’s important to prioritise and maintain good gut health in children for their growth, resilience, and long-term well-being here.


Understanding the Gut Microbiome and Its Impact on Physical and Cognitive Development

Gut microbiome refers to the genes of all the microbes (microbiota) – bacteria, viruses, and other organisms – living in the gastrointestinal (GI) system.1 It affects our gut health, which in turn, affects our physical and cognitive health. According to experts, some microorganisms in the gut can affect the immune system.2 Another report revealed that certain steps geared towards improving the gut, such as prebiotic supplementation, may affect aspects of cognitive health, such as memory.3 Overall, experts have long since acknowledged the growing evidence that gut microbiome can influence the brain and behavior.4

Hence, as parents, our children’s gut health should also be our priority. 


Common Gut Health Issues in Children

One of the key steps in taking care of a child's gut health is identifying common digestive discomfort issues, including their causes, symptoms, and possible impact on their overall health. 


Vomiting in kids may be due to several factors like food poisoning. But often, it is caused by stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, which is due to a virus. The vomiting can be accompanied by diarrhoea, stomach pain, and nausea. Typically, the condition resolves on its own within a  few days.5 


Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when the body lacks enough of the enzyme lactase to properly digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. After consuming milk or dairy, kids may experience symptoms, like bloating, gas, and diarrhoea. If not managed, lactose intolerance may affect the intake of calcium and vitamin D6.



If your child is heading to the bathroom more often than usual due to watery stool, this may be a sign of diarrhoea. Diarrhoea may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, allergy, parasites, reaction to medicine, and many other factors. While diarrhoea is common among growing children, it is recommended to have your child checked if the problem persists beyond two days.7 



Of course, we cannot talk about gut health in children without mentioning constipation. A child who’s constipated may have difficulty passing stool, often because of early toilet training or a change in diet. In many cases, constipation won’t affect a child’s overall health unless it becomes chronic, in which case it may lead to anal wounds and stool withholding8.


Excessive Gas (Gassiness)

Gas build up can become painful and bothersome in children. But simple dietary changes can reduce the symptoms of excessive gas and bloating. Eating less beans, cabbage, and other foods high in fibre, as well as carbonated drinks, can help alleviate the condition.9  


When to Seek Medical Intervention

If your child has any of the above conditions, it’s a must to bring them to the doctor for proper intervention.

In general, seek consultation when:10

  • They vomit more than once or have blood or bile in their vomit.

  • There is vomiting as well as symptoms of fever, diarrhoea, and dehydration.

  • They have severe abdominal pain or one that’s been going on for more than two weeks

  • They have diarrhoea or blood in their stool

  • They’re not passing stool at least once every other day or have painful bowel movement

  • They become a fussy or picky eaters and it’s already affecting their eating habits to the point where they have poor weight gain


How to Support Gut Health in Children with Probiotics and Prebiotics

A groundbreaking study conducted by expert researchers from Harvard, Monash University, Seoul National University, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital revealed that there’s an interplay between diet, gut microbiome, and immunity. They found further proof that what we eat affects our gut health2. Since diet affects gut health, here are some things you can do to support gut health in children:


The Importance of a Balanced and Varied Diet11,12

To support gut health in children, it’s best to provide them with a balanced and varied diet. Experts say the gut microbiota, particularly the good bacteria, loves fibre from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Getting these fibres also helps prevent constipation.

Of course, don’t forget that cutting back on processed foods and sweets is also crucial. A diet rich in fast food, packed chips, processed meat, and artificially sweetened drinks and pastries prevents gut microbiota from thriving. These foods also increase the risk of constipation.

An additional tip is to limit the use of antibiotics to only times where they are prescribed by the doctor. Antibiotics kill both the bacteria that’s causing the disease and the good, beneficial bacteria in the gut. Additionally, incorporating probiotics into the diet during and after an antibiotic treatment can help restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria.13

Finally, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if your child has an ongoing or unexplained digestive issue, such as those outlined in the previous section. Getting in touch with a professional as soon as problems arise allows for early treatment, which may help prevent complications.


The Role of Probiotics and Prebiotics in Cultivating a Healthy Microbiome

Knowing that gut microbiome can boost our kids’ brains and bodies, you may be tempted to give them supplemental probiotics, live microorganisms that claim to improve gut microbiota. However, experts like Dr. Katya Gerwein, a paediatrician from Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, confirms that it’s better to focus on “prebiotics.”11

Prebiotics are foods that create an environment where good bacteria can grow. In other words, prebiotics act as a food source for your gut microbiota. When the gut microorganisms break down these prebiotics, they release byproducts that give energy to colon cells, help produce mucus, and regulate the immune system. Some studies also revealed that prebiotics (along with probiotics) can modulate constipation14. Examples of prebiotics are whole grains, leafy greens, fruits like bananas, and fermented foods like yogurt.15 

Reports say probiotics, seeing as they are live microorganisms, may not survive being on the grocery shelf should the environment not be favourable for them. Probiotics may also not survive the harsh conditions of the stomach. But prebiotics can. Our kids can reap the benefits of eating prebiotic foods because they reach the area where the good bacteria are.16


Importance of Incorporating Prebiotic-Rich Foods into Children's Diets

When you incorporate prebiotics into your child’s diet, you help  support their gut health, which then influences their cognitive health and immunity. Alongside a balanced, varied diet, it’s a good step to provide your children with a growing up milk formula that can both support their brain, body, and gut.


Conclusion: A Brighter Future Through Gut Health

It pays to support your child’s gut health because it can influence their cognitive development and immunity. One of the best things you can do for your child is to give them a balanced and varied diet that helps their gut microbiome thrive. Focus on whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as well as prebiotics, which you can find in fibre-rich foods and leafy greens.

You may also consider a children’s milk formula that supports the brain and body, including their gut health. Enfagrow A+ MindPro Gentlease is easier to digest because it contains already broken-down proteins.  And finally, its blend of nutrients help support their overall growth and development. Its expert DHA level* and MFGM, in particular, support vital IQ and EQ development with long-term benefits.

Enfagrow A+ MindPro Gentlease is specially formulated with partially hydrolyzed (broken down) proteins, which are easier for the tummy to digest, but just as nutritious as the proteins found in regular cow’s milk.17 What makes Enfagrow A+ MindPro Gentlease a good formula for children 1 to 3 years old as it contains a blend of nutrients, such as DHA, MFGM, dietary fibre, choline, iron, zinc, and vitamin B to support your child’s growth and development.18  

A nourished gut today can pave the way for a resilient, thriving tomorrow. For more information, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice from your doctor.

Want to know more about how to further support your child’s gut health, overall growth and development? Join the Enfamama A+ Club. Get exclusive member deals, receive free samples, earn rewards, and access useful advice and tips in your journey as a parent.

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Are you raising a healthy child? The answer may lie in their gut health. Learn key information and other helpful tips to help improve your child’s gut health here. Read on. 

1.  Why is gut health important for children?

Various studies reveal that gut health can affect a child’s overall well-being, impacting their immune function, nutrient absorption, and even cognitive development. 

2.  What are the most common digestive health issues kids experience?

The most common digestive health issues in kids include constipation, vomiting, lactose intolerance, and gassiness, often stemming from genetic, dietary, and other factors, such as infection.

3.  How can parents help to support gut health in children?

Parents can support gut health in children by incorporating a balanced and varied diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Some of these foods are milk with partially hydrolyzed protein (PHP).

4.  Is there children milk formula that is suitable for a sensitive tummy?

Enfagrow A+ MindPro Gentlease contains partially hydrolyzed proteins for easier digestion, which is suitable for children with sensitive tummies. It also contains other nutrients, such as DHA, choline, zinc, iron, and iodine, to support a child’s overall growth and development.


Related articles:

  1. Child Stomach Discomfort: Every Parent’s Guide for Children with Sensitive Tummies

  2. Understanding Lactose Intolerance in Kids


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  2. Diet, Gut Microbes, and Immunity,, Accessed November 30, 2023

  3. Effects of the Human Gut Microbiota on Cognitive Performance, Brain Structure and Function: A Narrative Review,, Accessed November 30, 2023

  4. Cognitive Function and the Microbiome,, Accessed November 30, 2023

  5. Vomiting,,parasites%2C%20can%20also%20cause%20gastroenteritis, Accessed January 30, 2024

  6. Lactose Intolerance,, Accessed November 30, 2023

  7. Diarrhea in Children,, Accessed January 30, 2024

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  9. Gas (flatulence),, Accessed January 30, 2024

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  12. 5 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Gut Health,, Accessed November 30, 2023

  13. Effects of Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics on Human Health,, Accessed Dec 10, 2023

  14. Can Intestinal Constipation Be Modulated by Prebiotics, Probiotics and Symbiotics?,, Accessed December 1, 2023

  15. What Are Prebiotics and What Do They Do?,, Accessed December 1, 2023

  16. Prebiotics vs. Probiotics: What’s the Difference?,, Accessed December 1, 2023

  17. Ease the Protein Digestion Issue: Partially Hydrolyzed Protein,, Accessed December 1, 2023

  18. Answers to Commonly Asked Questions About Enfagrow A+, Accessed December 1, 2023

*FAO/WHO recommends daily dietary DHA intake of 10-12 mg/kg body weight for children 12-24 months or 100-150 mg DHA+EPA for children 2-4 years old.