What Should I Know About Gas In Breastfed Babies
- Know that most babies have gas
- Understand the many causes and symptoms of gas in breastfed babies
- Learn tips and tricks to help prevent and relieve gas in your baby
One of the most common concerns parents have is their babyâs gas. While gas is usually not harmful, the pressure that gas bubbles create may cause pain when it becomes trapped in your babyâs stomach or intestines.1
Gas is particularly common during the first 3 months of life when your little oneâs digestive tract is still maturing.2 You may even notice itâs worse at night.3 Most of the time, gas is from swallowing too much air, but there may be other reasons your little one is gassy.
Read on to learn how to help your baby with gas.
Common causes of gas discomfort in breastfed babies:
- An incorrect latch while nursing leads your baby to swallow too much air3
- Excessive crying fills your babyâs belly with air1
- Strong let-down or oversupply, causing baby to gulp quickly and swallow air3
- Immature digestive tract is still learning to process breastmilk, gas, and stool effectively2
- Sensitivity or allergy to a food in momâs diet1, 3, 4
- Introduction to a bottle or to formula. Baby may swallow air while drinking from a bottle or may need to get used to formulaâs ingredients.3, 7
Common symptoms of gas in breastfed babies:
Feed Her Before Shes Too Hungry
If you are tracking your babys feeding times, try to stick to a schedule and feed her before you start hearing her hungry cries. That way she will be more likely to eat at a leisurely pace and not gulp down her breast milk or formula too quickly. If youre breastfeeding and your milk lets down quickly, you may need to unlatch baby for a moment and then re-latch her so she can manage your milk flow.
Tummy woes can make for a fussy baby. Find out what you can do about hiccups, gas bubbles and colic to ease the symptoms here.
How Does Gripe Water Work
The original gripe water, first used by nannies and moms in England in the 1850s, contained alcohol which people used to think relaxed babies .
Today experts dont fully understand how gripe water might help soothe tummy troubles, but its thought that ingredients like dill, fennel and ginger can help with gas relief and stomach discomfort.
If youd like to give it a try, be sure to get the green light from your babys pediatrician first to make sure that he or she is on board with giving gripe water.
If you get your doctor’s approval, consider using gripe water only as a backup when other gas relief methods like abdominal massage, tummy time or leg bicycling dont seem to be making your baby more comfortable.
You should also have your doctor confirm that the brand youre using is okay, since gripe water products arent regulated by the Food and Drug Administration . Check the packaging for specific dosing instructions and get your pediatrician’s approval first about how much and how often to give it to your baby. The general limit is four doses a day, but only under the care of your practitioner.
If your doctor says gripe water is fine for your baby and it seems to work, you should stop using it by the time your little one is 4 to 6 months old, when gassiness typically becomes less of an issue.
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Try This Foot Massage Trick
While its not clear how a foot massage might alleviate gas, you only need to turn your volume up on this Instagram video to see that it works. Whether its because different areas of the foot are connected to different organs, or because its just relaxing, it could be worth trying on a gassy baby.
How Does A Babys Diet Affect Gas
Breast milk is the biological standard of food for babies, and it is usually the healthiest choice when possible. There is no need to stop breastfeeding because a baby has gas.
Infant formula may also cause gas. Mixing up infant formula can cause air bubbles to appear in a babys food, increasing the risk of gas. Try a premixed liquid formula instead, or give the formula a few minutes to settle before feeding the baby.
Some babies may be sensitive to formula ingredients, such as soy or lactose. However, lactose intolerance is very rare in infants and is often temporary. Babies born prematurely may have developmental lactase deficiency, a condition that lasts for only a short time.
A 2015 study of almost 300 infants found that lactose-free milk-based or soy-based formulas did not alleviate infants fussiness or crying.
A person should talk with a pediatrician before changing their babys formula.
When a baby starts eating solids, keeping a food log can help with identifying food sensitivities that trigger gas.
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What If Baby Still Seems Gassy
If you still cant pinpoint why babys so gassy, and youve tried other methods to help relieve gas, talk to a doctor. Theyll help you figure out whats causing babys discomfort. They may also recommend gas drops, which are generally safe for babies
One reassuring point to keep in mind: Babies are usually gassiest when theyre between 1 month old and 4-6 months old. If baby is gassy while breastfeeding or formula feeding, theyll often naturally become less gassy as they start to eat more and more solids, and as their digestive system matures.
This still varies from baby to baby, so you still might need to consult a doctor if baby remains very gassy between the 6-month mark. But time will often help when it comes to gas relief.
All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your babys health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
See the FDA Peanut Allergy Qualified Health Claim at the bottom of our homepage.
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How To Treat Baby Gas
Immediately after feeding, keep your baby upright. This will make it easier for them to burp.
If theyre already feeling discomfort, try laying your baby on their back and moving their legs in a bicycle motion.
Alternately, give your baby time on their tummy. Lying stomach-down should help them move the gas out.
You could also try these techniques to comfort them and help move the gas from their little bodies:
Little Remedies Gripe Water
Little Remedies Gripe Water tackles your babys stomach discomfort with a soothing formula. Ginger root extract, fennel seed extract and agave vegetable glycerin work together to remedy colic, gas and hiccups. This gluten-free dietary supplement comes with a dispenser as well, so your baby can take it directly if they are having tummy troubles. Plus, this gripe water set comes with two portable bottles that are great for impromptu trips to grandmas house or airplane travel.
Talk To Your Doctor About A Possible Formula Ingredient Intolerance
If youre formula feeding and baby seems gassy — even when you take other steps to reduce gas, or even try a gentle formula — baby may have an intolerance to a formula ingredient.
Food intolerances cause baby to develop GI symptoms, including gassiness, loose or abnormal stools, and abdominal pain, when baby eats foods that they are sensitive to.
Most commonly, if baby has a formula intolerance, its caused by cows milk in the formula. They could have an intolerance to lactose or to milk proteins.
If you think baby has a formula intolerance, talk to your doctor. Switching to an extensively hydrolyzed formula, like Nutramigen or Alimentum, may ease your little ones symptoms. These formulas contain milk proteins that are broken down into very small parts . They are also free of lactose.
But dont switch formulas until youve talked to your doctor about babys possible intolerance, and theyve given you the ok to switch.
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Bishop Seeds Or Carom Seeds
Several studies suggest that Bishop Seeds have gastro-protective properties and can be used if your child is suffering from gastric ulcers. . This is safe and has no side effects whatsoever. Boil a handful of Carrom seeds in a pot of water and use a teaspoon to help your child drink it at regular intervals.
Pay Attention To Your Diet
When you’re nursing, your baby is getting what you eatâand dairy is a common culprit for a baby’s 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.
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How Often Do Babies Need To Burp And What’s The Best Way To Eliminate The Excess Gas Our Baby Burping Primer Answers All Of Your Burning Questions
When gas bubbles get stuck in your baby’s stomach, they can cause a feeling of fullness and discomfort. Burping helps release these gas bubbles up the esophagus and out of the mouth. “Gas is air that gets trapped in the gastrointestinal system and needs to be released,” explains Shalini Forbis, M.D., a pediatrician and a Dr. Mom Squad blogger for Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio.
Looking for the best way to get the job done? Check out our expert-approved guide to learn how to burp a baby properly.
What About Gripe Water
Gripe water is a liquid herbal remedy for infant gas. As a natural remedy, the FDA doesnt regulate it. Dr. Sniderman also cautions that its safety and effectiveness have not been well researched.
There are a lot of families who use it, and I havent personally seen any problems with gripe water, but I generally dont recommend it, she says. Without solid research to back it up, I cant confidently say, Yes, thats fine.
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Gas Relief For Babies
Watching a gassy baby struggle in pain can break any parents heart. Luckily, there are several baby gas relief options to help release the gas and soothe the discomfort. Read on to learn how to relieve gas in babies.
Swaddling. Wrapping baby up tight can soothe your gassy baby by mimicking the coziness of the womb.
Rocking or bouncing. As with swaddling, OConnor says, the motion of rocking or bouncing simulates the environment in your uterus, helping to relax baby.
Using a pacifier. Almost all babies will find some baby gas relief by sucking on a pacifier, OConnor says, because the sucking action releases endorphins that will soothe them.
Infant massage. Simply rubbing your childs belly may be helpful, since massage can help calm the nerve signals in babys immature intestines.
Tummy time. Some babies find gas relief from the gentle pressure thats put on the stomach during tummy time. Just make sure theyre supervised while doing this, Grossman cautions.
Encourage movement. If your gassy baby is in severe discomfort, try the baby bike ride. Lay baby on their back and move their legs in an up-and-down pedaling motion. This helps move gas along physically, but also helps soothe and calm nerves in the intestines.
Switch up babys formula. For a formula-fed baby, you can try a different formula thats made for gassy babies, Grossman says.
What Can I Do To Help Alleviate Gas In My Breastfed Baby
Apply gentle pressure to your babyâs belly
Tummy Time: This position can put gentle pressure on your babyâs belly, helping to provide gas relief. Wait at least 30 minutes after a feeding to allow your little oneâs belly to settle before starting tummy time.7
Or try a more advanced move â 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 babyâs 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 babyâs tummy for gas relief
Read more: Baby massage benefits and techniques
Bicycle your babyâs legs
Do gas drops like simethicone work?
Wait it out!
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Are Gas Drops Safe For Newborns
But before we get into the best gas medicine for babies, lets talk about what they are. Gas drops are an over-the-counter medical treatment. The main active ingredient is simethicone, which can safely help break up gas bubbles in a newborns stomach, making gas easier to pass. If your baby has been diagnosed with colic , you can also try gripe water.
Do Special Infant Formulas Help With Gas
Since gas is made as a normal byproduct of digestion, its impossible to eliminate all gas from being formed. However, there are infant formulas marketed for gassy, fussy babies. These formulas typically are formulated with more digestible proteins or alternative carbohydrate sources.
There is scant evidence to suggest hydrolyzed formula or reduced-lactose formula may decrease gassiness in formula-fed infantsDaelemans S, Peeters L, Hauser B, Vandenplas Y. Recent Advances in Understanding and Managing Infantile Colic. F1000Res. 2018 7. . Most doctors recommend an infant formula be tried for two weeks before making a switch, unless the baby is having a significant worsening of symptoms. Check with your pediatrician to see what they recommend.
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Mommys Bliss Gripe Water
If your LO is crying from colic, Mommys Bliss Gripe Water is a gentle formula that works quickly to remedy pain. This pediatrician-approved gripe water contains 100 percent vegan ingredients, including organic ginger and fennel. The herbal mixture also contains no alcohol or parabens, making it a safer option for instant colic, gas, hiccup and teething relief.
Does Massage Help With Baby Gas
Infant massage is another way to help your baby move tummy bubbles. Massage also supports bonding and sensory stimulation between an infant and parentZeevenhooven J, Browne PD, LHoir MP, de Weerth C, Benninga, MA. Infant Colic: Mechanisms and Management. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008 15:479-496. .
Choose a time of day to perform infant massage, typically first thing in the morning or as part of the nighttime routine. Baby-safe lotions or oils can decrease friction during a massage, but are not needed. Move your hand across your babys tummy in a clockwise motion to push bubbles forward. You can also move your babys legs like theyre riding a bike to encourage gas release.
Infant massage should be pleasant and soothing. Watch your baby for any signs of increased distress, and stop if your baby seems uncomfortable.
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Burp During And After Feedings
Because gas bubbles tend to form from air that sneaks in during feeding, burping is your friend. It releases the air that can turn into gas bubbles in the tummy. Although itâs standard practice to burp your baby after feeding them, if they suffer from gas, you can try burping during feeding as well. This can help provide your baby some gas relief, especially at night when feeding before bed.
Babies Are Naturally Gassy But You Can Take Preventive Measures To Keep Your Little One Comfortable Here Experts Share What To Do For A Gassy Baby
New parents are often surprised by the big noises that come out of a small baby. Newborns can be quite the audible orchestra, and gas is often part of the repertoire. “Gas is a normal part of the digestive process, but it’s also involved in most intestinal complaints,” says Jeremiah Levine, M.D., director of pediatric gastroenterology at NYU Langone Health. “Too much gas is usually a symptom that something else is going on.” So what causes baby gas and what are the signs of a gassy baby?
Learn more about what causes babies to be gassy, how to know whether your baby’s gas is normal or a cause for concern, and how to help your little one cope with gas-related discomfort.
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What A Good Breastfeeding Latch Looks Like
You’ll know you’ve got a proper latch if your baby’s chin and tip of her nose are touching your breast. You’ll also notice her lips flanged out instead of being tucked in. Let the feeding begin. Once you’ve got the proper latch, your baby will fall right into the rhythmic suck-swallow-breath pattern of suckling.