Babies switch from placental nutrition to either breast milk or formula when born. That's a tremendous change for a young digestive tract, which is why infants naturally have gas. While gassy babies are common, especially in newborns whose digestive systems are still developing, you may question how to help your infant with gas if their discomfort concerns you. Read on to discover more about gassy newborns, gas causes, and how to help a baby with gas in six steps!
Key Points for Relieving Baby Gas
- Baby gas is very common and shouldn't be of serious concern. The key point here is to help them relieve the discomfort and possible pain.
- Speed of eating can be a great contributor to gas and especially if they eat fast.
- If they frequently are suffering from gas and are formula fed it might time to consult your doctor about changing their formula.
How to Relieve Baby Gas
Babies frequently experience gas pain, which can be distressing for both of you. Your baby may be in pain from gas, but it is safe to treat. Some infants may require assistance with a gas release. These measures alone may not be enough to completely relieve their agony, but in conjunction with other treatments, they can make a world of difference. Here are 6 tried-and-true methods for easing infant tummy aches caused by gas.
1. Burp During and After Feedings
In order to prevent the formation of gas bubbles caused by the ingestion of air when feeding, burping is highly recommended. Though it's common practice to wait until after feeding to burp a baby who has gas, you might attempt burping them in the middle of feeding if necessary. This is particularly useful for nighttime feedings before bed, as this can ease your infant's gas.
2. Pay Attention to How You Feed
Reduce air swallowing. Reducing the amount of air a baby swallows is one simple technique to help them avoid developing gas. This involves making sure the baby's lips are forming a seal around the nipple while they are breastfeeding.
Slow feeding is highly recommended. Your infant is more likely to develop gas if they feed at a rapid pace. Bottles with slow-flow nipples can help your baby eat more slowly. If you are nursing and find that you have an abundance of breast milk, you should discuss this with your doctor or ask a lactation consultant for advice.
Follow simple bottle-feeding methods. Make sure your baby's lips are close to the nipple base if being bottle-fed. In order to prevent the baby from choking on air while they're feeding, tilt the bottle up about 30 to 40 degrees. This helps the air rise to the bottom as they drink. Collapsible bags also eliminate air and minimize gas in bottles.
3. Identify Food Sensitivities
Watch for food sensitivities. Your baby may be allergic to anything you ate which can pass through your breast milk. You can pinpoint any potential irritants by eliminating certain foods from your diet for a week or so and see if this helps ease your infant's gastrointestinal upset. Caffeinated beverages, dairy, cabbage, onions, and spicy meals are some of the most prominent culprits in causing gas in breastfed infants.
There are two ways to figure this out. One method is to eliminate all of these types of foods and slowly reintroduce them back into your diet and keep track of what ones are causing your baby's troubles. Another method would be to create and food and gas diary for a few weeks and see which one's seem to cause the most trouble for your child.
4. Try Changing Formula
Individual characteristics determine the best baby formula for reducing gas. Most experts agree to start with cow's-milk formula. However, your child may be allergic to milk or lactose intolerant. In this case, a hypoallergenic or soy-based formula with iron may be preferable. Always consult a pediatrician before switching formulas.
5. Try These Different Positions and Techniques Your Baby for Gas Relief
There are a few positions and techniques that can help your baby with gas by supporting the stomach and digestive system, including:
Rub your baby's belly clockwise while they are on their back.
Left Side Position
Holding your baby, roll them on their left side. Rub their back to relax them.
Gently cycle your baby's legs while on their back. Talk to your baby while doing this to help keep them calm.
Tummy time helps digestion by breaking up gas bubbles and moving things along. Always supervise tummy time!
Swaddling a newborn may ease gas and promote comfort. However, if your baby likes to roll, you may want to avoid swaddling altogether. Rolling while swaddled can increase the risk of SIDS or asphyxia. Otherwise, swaddling safely may help your baby sleep and ease flatulence.
Rock, Bounce, and Hold
Rock your infant gently. You can also stand or sit and bounce your infant. The “gas hold” may also help gassy babies. Use the “gas hold” by securing your baby across your arm face down. Have their legs straddle your elbow and rest their face in your hand. Rock gently.
6. Try Baby Gas Drops
In an effort to alleviate their infant's discomfort, some parents turn to baby gas drops. If everything else fails, infant gas medication could be helpful. The simethicone in infant gas drops is what helps ease the discomfort of gas. If you want to make sure it's safe for your baby, read the label and follow the instructions. Always consult your baby's pediatrician before giving your infant or young child any medication, including those purchased over the counter.
Could It Be Colic Instead of Gas?
Gas is often mistaken for colic. However, colic is typically the culprit when healthy babies cry severely and for a long time, often at the same time daily. Gas may be linked to colic, despite the lack of solid evidence. Typically, gas can be relieved with the right methods, but colic babies are hard to calm.
By 4 months, most newborns outgrow colic, though its causes are not well understood. However, every infant is unique, and your child's pediatrician can help you identify the problem and treat it correctly, whether it is gas or colic. Therefore, if symptoms persist, contact your child's doctor.
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