What is paediatric gastrointestinal impairment?

Paediatric gastrointestinal impairment refers to a range of disorders that can affect any part of the digestive tract – from the oesophagus and stomach to the small intestine, colon and rectum.1

Common GI disorders include:

  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux (GORD)
  • Acute or chronic diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Cows’ or soy milk allergy/intolerance

In many cases, the symptoms associated with these disorders may be managed with nutrition alone, for example in the case of GORD.1–3

Reflux affects over 50% of all babies in the first 3 months of life

The GI tract is responsible for the digestion of food. When children suffer from GI impairment, there is often a risk for malabsorption or maldigestion, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies.4

That’s why specific focus is placed on the nutritional status as optimum nutrient intake has been shown to support normal growth and development as well as improve the overall condition. For example, with children in critical care, appropriate nutrient intake is linked to a better recovery and shorter length of hospital stay.4

At Nestlé Health Science, we are committed to providing nutritional management that is tailored to the individual needs of the child. In the case of children with GI impairment, these needs are very specific to the condition, which is why we have a range of different solutions to fulfil a variety of nutritional requirements, and an optimised taste to facilitate acceptance.


  1. The Portland Hospital for Women and Children. Gastroenterology. Available at:http://www.theportlandhospital.com/children/specialties/gastroenterology/. Accessed October 2018
  2. Kay M & Tolia V. Common gastrointestinal problems in pediatric patients. Available at: http://s3.gi.org/patients/gihealth/pdf/pediatric.pdf. Accessed October 2018.
  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Acid Reflux (GER & GERD) in Infants. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/ger-and-gerd-in-infants/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed October 2018.
  4. Nestlé Nutrition Institute. Gastrointestinal challenges in the neurologically impaired child. Available at: http://www.nestlenutrition-institute.org/resources/videos/details/gastrointestinal-challenges-in-the-neurologically-impaired-child-. Accessed November 2018.
  5. Healthline. GERD in infants: How can I help my baby sleep? Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/infants-sleeping. Accessed November 2018.
  6. WebMD. 5 signs your child’s digestive health needs help. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/children/features/digestive-doctor#1. Accessed November 2018.
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Follow normal bedtime routines <sup>1</sup>


Sleep is key for both infants and their parents. Establishing a normal bedtime routine and following it nightly plays an important role in getting adequate sleep. In infants with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GORD), rocking them to sleep in an upright position can help soothe them and minimise symptoms.

1. http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/infants-sleeping. Accessed December 2014.
Keep things moving <sup>1</sup>


All kinds of things may cause constipation in children. It could be potty-training stress, lack of fluids or poor bowel habits among others. If, however, a child has not had at least one bowel movement every other day, or if movements are painful and more than normal pushing is needed or there is blood in the stool, it may be worth going to see a paediatrician.

1. http://www.webmd.com/children/features/digestive-doctor. Accessed December 2014.
Always seek advice <sup>1</sup>


Digestive symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation or reflux may be common in children and are often harmless. It is understandable that changing their diet is often the first port of call. If symptoms last longer than usual or if weight loss occurs, it is important to seek medical advice before making any significant changes to a child’s diet.

1. http://www.webmd.com/children/features/digestive-doctor. Accessed December 2014.