Feeding Strategies To Reduce Gas
Since babies tend to swallow air during feeding, its important to burp during and after nursing or bottle feeding to allow some of this air to escape from the tummy. If the gas or stomach ache occurs after bottle feeding, help the baby swallow less air by using slow-flow nipples and bottles that are vented, angled or collapsible. If the formula or breast milk itself seems linked to the tummy troubles, contact your babys pediatrician for guidance.You may be advised to try a different type of formula, or if breastfeeding, it may be suggested you avoid gas-forming foods, including broccoli or cabbage, or specific allergens, such as nuts or cows milk. The introduction of solid foods may be associated with some stomach aches or gas, as the baby’s digestive system gets used to new foods. Introduce new foods slowly and in small quantities to assess tolerance. If these symptoms persist, speak with your baby’s pediatrician.
- Since babies tend to swallow air during feeding, its important to burp during and after nursing or bottle feeding to allow some of this air to escape from the tummy.
- If the gas or stomach ache occurs after bottle feeding, help the baby swallow less air by using slow-flow nipples and bottles that are vented, angled or collapsible.
When To Visit The Pediatrician
When fussiness, squirming, and other gassy behaviors persist beyond your baby’s first few months, it’s reasonable to wonder if they have a food allergy or intolerance. The biggest clue: They’re dealing with other significant health problems too. “A baby or child with a food allergy will also probably have skin rashes, vomiting, diarrhea or blood in her stool, and she may not be gaining enough weight,” says Jean Molleston, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist with Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, in Indianapolis. Visit the doctor if you suspect this.
Gas pain is also a symptom of celiac disease, a serious intolerance to gluten. Children aren’t born with this autoimmune disorder it can develop at any point when something in their environment “turns on” the genes that cause it. Ask your doctor to test your child for celiac disease if they’re also experiencing growth issues, abdominal discomfort, vomiting, chronic diarrhea, or constipation, or if celiac or any other autoimmune diseases run in your family.
How Much Water To Drink
Aim to drink more water than usual a day, so at least 8 cups along with fluids from fruits, vegetables and other sources especially in the weeks after birth, since it will help your body recover. To ensure youre getting enough, a good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water at every nursing session. In all, you’ll need about 128 ounces of fluids a day from all sources .
Keep in mind that your milk supply wont be affected unless youre seriously dehydrated, but your urine will become darker and scanter. Not drinking enough can also set you up for health issues including urinary tract infections , constipation and fatigue. So just be sure to drink whenever you’re thirsty, which will likely be often when you’re breastfeeding!
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How To Help Your Baby With Gas Pain
From a pediatric RN perspective, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about helping your child deal with gas pains and belly discomfort.
The number one excuse when it comes to why a baby is not sleeping or not napping is usually blamed on teething. And the second reason? Gas pain.
If youre anything like me, when my infant was screaming from gas pain, I ran straight to Target to the aisle with all the gas drops thinking that these would be my savior. Unfortunately, the gas drops didnt help. So, I asked Kate Morris, our sleep support specialist and resident pediatric RN, for help. She used to work at a pediatric ER at Childrens Mercy Hospital.
Kate has a wealth of knowledge and she also has a little one who was very gracious enough to let us practice some maneuvers on how to help your baby deal with gas. So heres Kate to teach you about how to help your little one work through gas pains.
Baby Massage For Colic
There is no single known cause of colic. While gas has been suggested as one of the possible causes, treatments aimed at reducing gas do not always lessen colic symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic suggests massage as a possible soothing method for colicky babies, but notes that no soothing method is guaranteed to help all babies or work every time.
Parents of a colicky baby should be prepared to rely on a wide range of soothing measures, and this may include baby massage if you so choose.
If you notice that your little ones burps include excessive spit-up or projectile vomit, or if your baby seems to be in pain during or following feeds, consult their doctor.
Your pediatrician can rule out other possible causes for the discomfort including gastroesophageal reflux disease and suggest other treatments as necessary.
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Other Reasons Your Baby Could Be Crying
For very young babies, crying is the only means of communication they have.
So, while gas or colic might be the reason for their tears, there can be other reasons that your little one is having a bad day. These include:
- Early teething. The general age for a baby getting their first tooth is around 6 months of age. But in some cases, babies can cut their first tooth as early as 4 months. Along with fussiness, teething is associated with extra drooling, swelling of the gums, increased biting or gumming of items, and sometimes even ear-rubbing.
- Pain or illness. Especially in newborns, incessant crying can sometimes be a sign that your baby is in pain due to illness or injury. Check your baby over for bruises or other injuries including a stray hair that could be wrapped tightly around a finger, toe, or penis. Schedule a visit with your babys pediatrician to have them assessed, just in case.
- Discomfort. Just like older kids and adults, those little humans might not always love every outfit you put on them or every place you stow them thats not in your arms. Sometimes, theyre just bored and want to have a change in scenery. Before you assume its gas, see whether picking them up, changing their clothes, or going outside helps.
- Tiredness. Babies can very easily get overtired and ironically, resist going to sleep even more. Try to create some kind of consistent sleep routine such as creating a dark and comfortable environment or reading the same book for naps and night time.
Im Breastfeeding Will Changing My Diet Help My Babys Gas Pains
Some parents report increased days of gassiness after a breastfeeding mom has eaten foods such as dairy, eggs, spicy foods or certain veggies. Although there is little evidence to support the relationship between maternal diet and infant abdominal pain, many mothers try elimination diets to explore a possible relationship.
Small studies have supported dairy elimination as a helpful way to reduce a babys GI discomfortIacovou M, Ralston RA, Muir J, Walker KZ, Truby H. Dietary Management of Infantile Colic: A Systematic Review. Matern Child Health J. 2021 16:1319-1331. . But even after years of pediatric practice, Im still not sure which babies improve after their mom stops eating dairy and which babies simply improve over time.
If you want to try an elimination diet to help with gas pain, avoid dairy for two weeks. As a general rule of thumb, if a diet change has not made a difference for a baby within that time, their mom can add the restricted food back into her diet.
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Feeding Well Before Sleep Time
For babies that are prone to gas, its important to keep them upright for 20-30 minutes after a feeding. To help support this, try to feed your baby well before sleep times.
Feeding them right before a nap or bedtime can be a recipe for disaster. If they lay down right after eating, gas can build up and lead to a very fussy baby.
A sleep, eat, play routine can work well, wherein you aim to feed baby upon waking instead of right before sleep times. This can also help prevent a sleep association with nursing or bottle-feeding baby to sleep at night.
Another tip to help distance feeding from sleep time is to feed baby at the beginning of your nighttime routine instead of right before sleep.
Changing Nap Routines Throw Baby Off At Night
What it looks like: As babies get older, they nap less. If your baby seems happy with her changing schedule and sleeps well at night, embrace this milestone and carry on. But if your little one is napping less but fussing more, or having trouble going to bed at night, she may be overtired and in need of some naptime encouragement.
How to solve it: Try an abbreviated bedtime routine before each nap and be patient it may simply take her longer to settle into a routine, but shell get there.
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Little Remedies To The Rescue
Gas pain can be triggered by things like colic, so products like Little Remedies Gripe Water or Little Remedies Gas Relief Drops are quick and easy solutions. Gripe Water, a mixture of water and various herbs, is considered to be an effective homeopathic remedy for quickly eliminating babys pain and discomfort. Gas Relief Drops can even be mixed with formula or water, so they offer a quick solution for gassy babies.
Restless Sleep Due To Frequent Late
What it looks like: Most 2- to 3-month-old babies, particularly breastfed ones, still need to fill their tummies at least once or twice during the night. Waking up every two hours for middle-of-the-night chow-downs, on the other hand, is typically too much of a good thing by this point and for most babies, not necessary.
What to do about it: First, talk to your childs pediatrician about how often baby should be eating overnight. If you get the go-ahead to cut down on overnight feeds, ensure babys eating enough during the day by offering a feed every two to three hours. Then, work on slowly stretching the time between nighttime feedings.
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Sleep Problems: 6 Months Old And Up
These days your babys sleep pattern likely looks a whole lot different than it did just a few short months ago.
At 6 months, your baby should clock 10 to 11 hours of sleep at night and take two or three naps during the day.
Whats more, babies who are 6 months old and up are completely capable of sleeping through the night. And yet, there are still plenty of things that can disrupt their snooze time.
Other Tips For Managing Gas
If massage doesnt seem to be working for your little one or youre looking for some additional comfort measures, there are plenty of things you can try to help manage and prevent gas:
- Bicycle your childs legs in the air while they lie on their back. This may help move gas through the system and encourage a poop if your little one is constipated.
- Gently twist babys legs and hips from side to side, which may help move things along the digestive track.
- Spend some extra time burping your baby during feeds to help air escape early in the digestive process.
- If youre bottle-feeding, check the nipple flow. If the flow is too fast, your child may be gulping air when they drink.
- Change bottle brands. Though no one brand is perfect for eliminating gas, there may be one that works better at reducing gas for your baby.
- Switch to a ready-made version of your babys powdered formula. Though if you dont note any change, you can go back to the powdered version.
Some caregivers report that over-the-counter medications like gripe water or gas drops help their babies with gas. Make sure to check with your childs doctor before going this route.
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Mixing Up Day And Night
What it looks like: Your baby sleeps all day, but then stays up all night long .
How to solve it: Your newborns nocturnal ways should correct themselves as she adjusts to life on the outside, but there are a few things you can do to help baby differentiate between day and night, including limiting daytime naps to three hours, and making clear distinctions between day and night .
When Should You Call A Doctor
If your baby cries for long periods of time and shows unusual behaviour coupled with fever, vomiting, prolonged crying and poor feeding, its best that you consult the doctor.
As your baby wont be able to communicate that he has gas pain, it is important that you take note of the signs. The gas build-up, while common, can be troublesome if not taken care of and could cause severe discomfort and pain for the baby. So be prepared for everything and take good care of your little one.
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Baby Tummy Massage For Gas
Stomach strokes that massage the belly are designed to encourage trapped air to move. The goal is to move gas and other matter in the intestines towards the bowels.
Many of the stomach strokes suggested for gas begin at the lower right of your babys belly and end at the lower left of your babys belly . When looking at your baby, this means moving from your left to right.
Some of the infant stomach massage techniques listed in the book Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents by Vimala McClure include:
scientific evidence is lacking . Again, its best to talk to your pediatrician as a precaution before beginning any at-home remedy like reflexology.
If your doctor says its okay to give it a go, consider the pressure point for the stomach and intestines thats located around the upper middle of the foot, just below the pad. Gently stroking this area of your babys foot may bring some gas relief.
What Causes Baby Gas Pain
Baby gas pain is caused by pockets of excessive gas which form in a babys stomach or intestines. These pockets of gas exercise pressure on its tummy causing discomfort or even pain. There are six common causes for this condition.
- Incorrect feeding. If the breast or the feeding-bottle is wrongly positioned, the baby may swallow too much air.
- Overfeeding. If the baby is given too much food at one time, you little ones tummy gets overloaded.
- Lactose overload. This happens usually when the baby gets too much foremilk which is rich in lactose but low in fat. Then not all of the lactose is digested because there is not enough fat to slow down the process. As a result excessive gas is produced.
- Food sensitivity. Some babies turn out to be intolerant or allergic to some ingredients in breast milk or formula.
- Immature digestive system. The infant has not yet learned to process the food, gas and stool properly. The intestines also have not yet to create their own micro flora a group of microorganisms which are unique for every persons guts. The micro flora is necessary for digestion process and the immune system.
- Excessive crying. Excessive crying may lead to taking in too much air, then resulting in excessive gas.
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