How To Tell If Newborn Has Gas Pains

Why Is My Baby More Gassy At Night

How to tell regular infant gas from a more serious condition

Gas accumulation is a function of gut motility and positioning. As our body rests, our digestion slows. Gut slowing results in more gas buildupOrr WC. Gastrointestinal Functioning During Sleep: A New Horizon in Sleep Medicine . Sleep Med Rev. 2001 5:91-101. . During the night, you and I have the luxury of moving our bodies when we feel this discomfort. Our body movement releases any trapped gas bubbles, allowing us to burp or fart to relieve the painful pressure.

Babies cant freely move while they sleep. At night, we tightly swaddle our babies and lie them on their backs to sleep. This technique is important for infant soothing and decreasing the risk of SIDS, but limits the movement of tummy bubblesTASK FORCE ON SUDDEN INFANT DEATH, S. Y. N. D. R. O. M. E. SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Pediatrics. 2016 138. . Tummy gas builds during quiet rest until the pain wakes your baby up.

Move Those Little Legs

If your baby is lying on her back, gently move her legs back and forth to imitate riding a bicycle. This exercise helps with intestinal motion and can expel trapped gas. You can also bend her legs and gently push her knees up towards her tummy. If shes on her tummy, you can help ease into Childs Pose and that motion will have the same effect.

Hold Baby Up After Feeding

I get that this is hard sometimes. Especially if you dream feed or put your baby to sleep while nursing. Regardless, keeping them upright for five to ten minutes after a feeding can make a BIG difference especially if they didnt get a good burp out.

If you cant hold them upright, at least keep them at an angle for this same amount of time. After that time period, try and burp them again.

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What Causes A Baby To Be Gassy

The human bodys production and release of gas is a natural part of the digestive process. As food moves through your gastrointestinal tract, the small intestine draws out useful ingredients. Meanwhile, the bacteria in the large intestine break down whats left, expelling gas as a by-product. Occasionally, gas will accumulate in the digestive tract and lead to bloating.

Being prone to this kind of accumulation, the average baby is actually capable of producing more gas than an adult male! More than 70 percent of infants experience gassiness, regardless of their feeding method. While children of all ages can experience gas pain, its particularly troublesome for newborns whose digestive systems are underdeveloped.

Intestinal disorders aside, excessive gas is also created when your baby is crying or feeding and inhaling a lot of air along the way. Read on for more info on how to diagnose a gassy baby.

What Can I Do To Help Alleviate Gas In My Breastfed Baby

Why is my baby gassy? Symptoms and treatment

Apply gentle pressure to your babys belly

Tummy Time: This position can put gentle pressure on your babys belly, helping to provide gas relief. Wait at least 30 minutes after a feeding to allow your little ones belly to settle before starting tummy time.7

Or try a more advanced move use both hands and a lot of guided support to lay your baby tummy down on a large beach or exercise ball and gently roll her on the ball in a circular motion.

Forearm Hold: Also called the football hold, magic hold, and the colic carry. Try carrying your baby face down with her body resting on your forearm, the front of her diaper area in your hand and her chin cradled in your elbow.9 Make sure to tilt babys head to the side to avoid blocking their nose or mouth. Carrying your little one in this face-down position will place the same gentle pressure on their belly that is achieved during tummy time.

Burp your baby during and after a feeding

Take a break between sides or even during a feed to get a burp or two out.8

You may choose to burp your baby while they are in a seated position, with their head supported by the cradle of your hand.17You can also burp your baby in the typical position: upright and over your shoulder.8

Try infant massage on your babys tummy for gas relief

Read more: Baby massage benefits and techniques

Bicycle your babys legs

Read more: How Do I help My Breastfed Baby with Diarrhea and Constipation?

Do gas drops like simethicone work?

Wait it out!

Lets Chat!

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How To Help Your Baby Feel Better

Try these steps to prevent and ease the pain of gas:

Check feeding position. “When youre nursing or bottle-feeding, try to keep the babys head higher than her stomach,” Shu says. “That way, the milk sinks to the bottom of the stomach and air goes to the top, and its easier to burp out.” Tip the bottle up slightly so there are no air bubbles in the nipple, and use a nursing pillow for support.

Burp your baby. One of the easiest ways to ease gas pains is to burp them during and after they nurse. If they dont belch right away, lay them down on their back for a few minutes and then try again.

Change equipment. “If youre bottle-feeding, switch to a slower-flow nipple,” says Joel Lavine, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics at Columbia University.

Work it out. Gently massage your baby, pump their legs back and forth while they are on their back, or give their tummy time . A warm bath can also help them get rid of extra gas.


Take a closer look at foods. Talk with your baby’s doctor about foods that may give them extra gas. “Some parents give infants fruit juice, which contains sorbitols that the baby cant absorb,” Lavine says. The doctor will also make sure you dont cut out nutrients your baby needs.

Tips To Prevent Baby Gas Pain

While theres no way you can totally prevent baby gas there are things you can do to help make it less of a problem.

We already know that bottle feeding can make your baby gassier because its pretty easy for them to swallow more air than they should. Here are a few steps you can take to help prevent baby gas pain.

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Massaging Your Babys Tummy

The gentle massaging touch can be calming and relaxing, but even more importantly, the pressure on your babys tummy can help encourage that gas bubble to come out. You can also try the colic hold to help relieve pressure in a gassy baby. To do this hold, you can your baby across your lap so that his tummy lays on your legs. This works for the same reason that tummy time does. You can find more baby massage ideas in this article.

How To Help Your Baby With Gas Pain

How Do I Know If My Baby Has Colic?

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.

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How To Help A Gassy Baby Sleep

Most of my recommendations focus largely on what Ive said above. I would particularly plan on doing a bath before bed, giving some medication, and managing your expectations.

If you find that a baby massage for gas and constipation really helps your baby relax do this. If its a warm bath every night, do that. Find what works and stick to it.

Make sure that youre burping baby really well at night, and allow for enough time to do a proper bedtime routine. Maybe its dimming the lights and rocking in a quiet room, or reading a short board book. People, in general, thrive off of routine, so try and stick to whatever you find works for baby.

The consistency can help your baby feel more comfortable. Both of you may not get enough sleep for a while, but remember that it WILL get easier eventually. It may just take a while.

Gas Pain Symptoms In Children

Although gas can lead to gas pain, it is important to remember that gas is often normal, especially in newborns and infants.

Signs and symptoms that your child may have more than just simple baby gas include that they are often fussy, have loose or foul-smelling stools, have difficulty feeding, aren’t sleeping well, or cry for long periods of time when they have gas. These could be symptoms that your baby has colic.

On the other hand, babies who are happy, feeding well, and their gas doesn’t seem to bother them likely don’t have any kind of medical condition.

Also Check: How To Properly Feed A Newborn

When Should I Be Worried About My Babys Gas Pain

If your baby is showing any of the following symptoms, something besides gas may be causing your babys painReust CE, Williams A. Acute Abdominal Pain in Children. Am Fam Physician. 2016 93:830-836. . Call your pediatricians office for advice.

  • Lengthy periods of inconsolable crying
  • Bouts of inconsolable crying most days of the week
  • Blood in babys stool
  • Poor weight gain
  • Vomit that is green, black, or red
  • Fever or other signs of illness

Other Natural Gas Relief Medication For Babies

How Do You Know If Your Baby Has Gas Pain

There are some other options out there for dealing with newborn gas pain that arent as well known. Well go over a few of those options now.

Gerber Soothe Probiotic Colic Drops

These colic drops from Gerber are definitely worth giving a try. Its a probiotic that helps improve good bacteria in your babys digestive system. These have beenclinically shown to reduce your babys crying time by up to 50%, and itll also help with reducing spit-up. You have to use it consistently for a couple of weeks, but many parents swear by the efficacy.

Windi the Gaspasser

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Pay Attention To Your Diet

When you’re nursing, your baby is getting what you eatand dairy is a common culprit for a baby upset stomach. “Fruits, green veggies, especially broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and garlic can also make a baby uncomfortable,” Dr. Alt says. But don’t eliminate healthy foods unless you’re sure they’re a problem.

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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Their Cry Is More Intense

This may seem obvious, but some people brush off a more intense cry as a sign that their child is just really grumpy. But according to Michigan University’s Health Department, intense crying can indicate pain in infants, noting that a baby’s cry may be “more insistent, higher pitched, and may last longer than usual.” Conversely, if they suddenly are reduced to a whimper, that could indicate that they are too ill to cry loudly.

What Causes Gas In Babies

How To Help Baby Work Through Gas Pains

Starting with the first feeding, babies shift from obtaining nutrients from the placenta to drinking and digesting breast milk or formula. Thatâs a big adjustment for a small digestive system thatâs still developing, and itâs a chief reason that gas naturally occurs in infants. Overall, it takes time for your little oneâs gastrointestinal tract to fully develop and build a microbiome . And when an immature digestive system is challenged by too much air being swallowed, as often happens during a feeding, youâre even more likely to have a gassy baby.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Gas In Babies

The only way a baby can communicate his needs and discomfort is by crying. Decoding your babys cries will require observation skills. He could cry because of hunger, pain, some discomfort, or gas and there are tell-tale signs for each. When he cries due to gain pain, his cries will be sharp, frantic, and intense. Some other signs of gassiness in babies are mentioned below.

1. Arching the back3. Clenching the fists and straining4. Lifting the legs or pulling up the knees towards the chest5. Getting red in the face while crying6. Not eating or sleeping well

Gassy Newborn And Breastfeeding

I do want to make it clear that there arent specific foods that ALL breastfeeding mamas need to avoid. Each woman and baby is different, and so are their needs. Truthfully, MOST babies dont have issues with anything that you eat.

Regardless, there is a very small percentage of breastfeeding mamas that will see a significant behavior shift in their baby when they eat certain foods. A great example of this is dairy, which is the most common problem food linked to gassiness in babies.

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