Your child’s organs will develop and mature as they grow. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), children have relatively weaker lungs, spleen and kidney systems. As such, they are more susceptible to respiratory and digestive disorders, which may manifest as poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, flu, cough, asthma and bed-wetting.
What causes digestive disorders?
External coldness: This includes exposure to cold environment and indulging in cold and raw food such as ice cream, which could result in your child suffering from abdominal cramps, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
Improper feeding: Eating or feeding on too much fatty, oily, cold or raw food can cause indigestion, which results in vomiting, bloating or abdominal pain. As the digestive system weakens over time, you may observe a loss of appetite in your child.
Weak digestive system: A weak digestive system is common in young children as their spleen is not fully developed. This affects absorption of nutrients and could manifest as poor appetite or diarrhoea. When a child recovers from other conditions such as cough, fever or the common cold, the digestive system is weakened from medication and the body’s effort in fighting the illness.
What to do
You can boost your child’s gut health simply by ensuring that their diet is nutritious, contains a variety of different food, and that they eat in moderation. Rich, fried or oily food, including peanuts, desserts and candies, can affect digestion. To encourage good eating habits, start them young by following these tips:
- Eat at regular hours
- No snacks or sweets before meals
- Have a healthy mix of protein, vegetables and grains
- Encourage them not to be picky about food
- Eat less raw, cold, fatty or oily food
- Avoid drinking too much before and after meals
Remember that meal times should be enjoyable and stress-free. Disciplining your child for not eating right can cause distress and affect his or her appetite. Children recovering from illnesses should eat bland and easily digestible food such as congee. Avoid meat when they are unwell and after they have just recovered from fever.
Get professional help
Consider sending your child for paediatric tuina, a form of acupressure where acupoints on the body are stimulated by specific tuina methods. Paediatric tuina can prevent and treat paediatric conditions, and is non-invasive and gentle. Chinese herbal medicine may also ease some common conditions in young children, thereby helping them to build a stronger digestive system.