A mother burps her baby in order to avoid the painful combination of babies and gas.

A Complete Guide to Babies and Gas

All babies have gas, just like all kids and all adults have gas! Babies and gas typically go together like a healthy diet and regular digestion. You don’t necessarily have a medical problem on your hands just because you sense that your baby is gassy. When your baby is releasing gas, feel free to take a sigh of relief because this generally means your baby’s little body is working. Yet, the discomfort that babies can feel does make it seem like an urgent problem to solve. There are plenty of things you can do to help reduce the amount of gas pains your baby experiences and ease the symptoms of the inevitable gas that will happen.

Is It Really Gas?

Babies cry for all sorts of reasons and it isn’t always simple to figure out why. With discomfort from gas, the baby may cry suddenly and then relax again once the pain (the gas!) has passed. If your baby is crying for prolonged periods of time despite your efforts to relieve and avoid gas, it could be colic or something more like a dairy allergy. Make a phone call to your doctor if you’re concerned.

When it’s just gas, baby may experience:

  •   bloating
  •   crying
  •   cramping (may pull their knees up to their belly)
  •   burping / farting
  •   hard tummy

What Causes Gas in Babies?

Gas is air that becomes trapped in the digestive system. The air often gets in there because the baby is swallowing air. It is easy for baby to swallow air by gulping while drinking, sucking on a pacifier, or while crying.

Babies have immature digestive systems and their bodies are still learning to process the milk we give to them. It is normal for all babies to have some gas or discomfort, but some may have a harder time working the gas out.

Ways to Reduce Gas

The best way to help your baby avoid gas is one of the most common and simple baby care techniques. Burp your baby! After every feeding, hold your baby high on your shoulder (so they’ve got a little pressure on their belly) and gently but firmly pat their back to work out any air bubbles. If you’re bottle feeding, you can do this halfway through a bottle to give baby a little break. If you’re breastfeeding, you can do this before you switch from one side to the other.

Warming and relaxing your baby’s body is another wonderful way to ease discomfort and get the gas moving. Try giving baby a warm bath and massaging her lower belly in a clockwise motion. You can also gently massage the bottoms of her feet in a circular motion. But be careful – this can work extremely well!

Instead of a bath, you can try warming up a receiving blanket in the dryer for a minute until it’s warm. Lay your baby on the blanket on her tummy so she has the warmth and the pressure working together. Let her kick around for a minute to work out the gas on her own, or you can roll her over and “bicycle” her legs to help her get things moving. When it comes to babies and gas, my mother swears by gently pushing baby’s knees to chest repeatedly to relieve pain and discomfort.

Even if your baby doesn’t seem to have a problem with gas, these tips are still great to follow to keep baby comfortable and happy!

For A Breastfed Baby

Don’t jump to conclusions that the gas has to do with your diet. Only if you’ve been consistent with the relief techniques without results, consider eliminating some common problem foods from your diet. It is usually rare that your diet would cause problems for your baby – but it does happen. Consult your doctor about an elimination diet. Removing dairy or other common allergens or gas inducing foods might help.

For A Formula Fed Baby

First, consider the feeding technique. Be sure to allow the bubbles in the milk to settle or disappear before feeding. A lower flow nipple can help reduce the gulping your baby might be doing to keep up with the milk flow, causing him to swallow air in the process. Keep your little one at a 45 degree angle while feeding and take time to burp him halfway through. If you’ve done all this and still sense a problem more serious than occasional gas, you might want to talk to your doctor about switching formulas.

The Gas Will Pass

Frequent uncomfortable gas is a phase in baby’s development that passes by as the first year progresses. Their digestive systems become more efficient at processing food and eliminating gas. Keep these tricks about babies and gas in your routine and remember that this too, shall pass.

RELATED QUESTIONS

Hi mommies I need some help I’m not sure if it’s the formula I’m giving my baby but he’s been having a lot of gas and crying a lot. I’m not sure what to do…is there something I can do to make him feel better?

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