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Son Complaining His Stomach Hurts After He Eats

I am trying to figure out if he is making it up or it is really a problem and want to see if anyone else has had this come up...my son who turns 4 next month has been complaining after most meals that his stomach hurts. It is not that he is eating too much, actually he is the opposite and sometimes doesn't eat much at all. He will say his stomach hurts and he is done and hold his stomach.But a few minutes later he is off playing. Suggestions? He has his 4 year checkup next month and I will bring it up then if it doesn't get worse but thought I would throw it out to the moms out there. Thanks.

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my 3 y/o son will say that sometimes right after a meal, usually it is that he has to poop! He poops, then goes right on about his day!

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We went through something similar recently with my 5 year old. Complained of stomach aches for months. Finally called the pediatrician and she said to take him completely off milk/dairy for two weeks. We were to keep a log of exactly what he ate and any stomach complaints. Sure enough, stomach aches went away.

You may want to discuss this with your pediatrician over the phone now and try it before you go in next month. Then you'll have information to share at the appointment.

We give my son Lactaid if he has a milkshake or ice cream and it has solved his problem.

Good luck!

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Hi C., My three year old was complaining about stomach pain last year for a couple of months even though he wasn't sick. I finally discovered that he is lactose intolerant. He also was gassy and had some diarrhea off and on, which was part of the reason we figured it out (classic symptoms). Giving him lactosefree milk solved the problem for us. I wonder if yourson has the same thing? Good luck, D.

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There are so many things that cause stomach pain. It could be anything from big chances in his life to food intolerance to other physical problems. Has it been going on for awhile? I would definitely check with the doctor. My son had a similar problem. He had stomach pains for months, accompanied by constipation. It turned out that he had an intolerance to fructose. As high fructose corn syrup is in almost everything... you can see the problem! So check with the doc, and if no answers are found... I would suggest asking for both the fructose and lactose breath tests.

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My daughter has this problem, too. She will often not eat much and then when she does, she has a gas bubble in her tummy that gives her a tummy ache. I know, because if I don't eat soon enough, I get the same problem. It does work its way out of the system and he may be able to eat some more afterward. Make sure he is getting more frequent meals, more like about six a day. Healthy snack can become a little mini meal to fill his belly til next time. That was the only way I could make it from one meal to the next without getting a gas bubble. I'll tell you, they are very painful, but do disipate after awhile.


Being someone who has had a lot of stomach problems, I suggest that 1st you check for food allergies. Then check his digestion. See if his stools are hard or soft, or diahrea. He may need to drink more liquids so that he can digest his food properly (try room-temperature water) or it could also be that he doesn't have enough digestive enzymes to properly digest his food.

Stomach cramps can come and go fleetingly. I wonder if he might have a food allergy working at his little guts; gluten and milk casein are common problems. Allergies can appear at any time, and can become gradually more debilitating if ignored.

So do bring it up with the doctor. If your son is failing to gain weight or has any other symtoms of allergy like skin, lung, or sinus issues, be sure to mention these as well.

Another thing that I have experienced myself and occasionally notice in children is that tension (especially around mealtime) can express itself in stomach aches, lack of appetite, diarrhea, etc. Are you urging or requiring him to eat more than he wants? Are your times at the table calm and happy? Are you asking for mealtime rules reasonable for a 4 year old?

Some kids are more resilient and some more sensitive, so what works for one child won't necessarily be a good fit for another of the same age. Just something else to consider, since his problem seems to fade after he leaves the table.

I was not clear on if this just started or has been going on for a bit. I first would check if he has to poop. then watch how his poop is for anything unusual. If all is normal and he is not running a fever, It could be a virus. both myself and my son had this happen recently. for the most part you feel normal, but when you eat you get pains in your stomach. I thought mine was my refux acting up but when my son got it about 2 weeks later and I took him to the dr to be checked out, that is when I was told it was a virus and that the stomach lining was a bit inflamed. It took about 2 weeks to get better.

It may very well be some stomach issues-- but I'll throw this in for some variety:

My brother (now 35) PLAYED my mom (and dad) like a violin for about a month with this one. She would dismiss him and he would go play quietly while we ate. They finally figured out what he was doing when it started happening before he even ate. Eventually, she'd tell him to go lay down on the sofa while the rest of us finished (he could ONLY lay there, no playing) then he could either go back and eat if he was feeling better or just be done and start getting ready for bedtime (bath, jammies, books). The funny thing is my parents weren't "clean your plate" parents either, he just started doing this, probably to see what would happen, or maybe he didn't like one night's dinner, etc.

You said that he complains "after most meals", but later said that "he will say his stomach hurts and he is done and hold his stomach"... which is it? during or after the meal? if it's during, then I think he's looking to get out of the meal... especially if "a few minutes later he is off playing"

Of course, it may be physical too. Definitely bring it up with the pediatrician. There could be some good common-sense advice for how to deal with it either way. Probiotic yogurt (Darigold makes an inexpensive and much more "natural" than most one) might be a good start if his tummy really is bugging him.

My son is 5 and does the SAME thing.. He does not eat too much also, infact he doesn't eat enough. We thought it was just to get out of eating or him needing to go to the bathroom. But it's been going on for a while and I am now wondering if it really is something. He always wants me to rub his belly when it starts hurting. So, I thought I'd look on here first before taking him to the Dr. Thanks

Hi there. Is there a chance your son is having issues with constipation? My daughter has struggled with it most of her life and she used to complian of the same thing. It can really cause a lot of problems if ignored.

About half the time my 3 1/2 year old boy will tell me he needs to go poop as soon as we wash hands, sit down and take one bite of dinner. Maybe you could encourage him to use the bathroom before he eats dinner and see if that helps? Not really sure, but might be worth a try. Good luck!

My daughter is the same way, with no obvious connection between foods or mealtimes. It comes and goes, but it just may be a temporary problem. Since she complains about everything from milk to water and strawberries to brussel sprouts -- though not consistently about anything -- I figure it's something she will grow out of. A friend of mine said that she was that way when she was little.

Sorry, I'm no help other than saying that we share that problem. My daughter hasn't really complained enough for us to be concerned about it. She could be confusing it with gas pains. We're very healthy eaters here, so I'm very certain it's not a general dietary problem.

Check for a dairy allergy...super common, or a lactose intolerance. It makes my stomach hurt too! Or other allergy would be the problem...maybe soy or gluten?

My first thought is gluten intolerance, because that seems so common and I've known a lot of kids who have stomach pain because of it. Good luck figuring it out!

Hi C.,
My 3 year old son does that also. I am not sure if his stomach really does hurt or it is for attention (we have a 6 month old also). We were thinking is because he doesn't eat enough and he is too hungry. But after he holds his tummy and says it hurts, he is off playing like nothing ever hurt. I don't understand it. If you get some info from the doctor, I would be interested to see what they say.

my 3 y/o son will say that sometimes right after a meal, usually it is that he has to poop! He poops, then goes right on about his day!

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