What To Do If My Newborn Has Gas

What Causes Smelly Gas In Breastfed Babies

How can I know if my baby has gas or reflux?

All breastfed babies eat is breast milk, so that means the smelly gas is caused by something in your breast milk. Gas-inducing foods might affect your baby, as well.

The problem is that it can be hard to determine the problem. It can be anything that you ate over the last 72 hours, so if you find that your baby has smelly gas often, start keeping a food diary.

Fiber-rich foods are at the top of the list, and all fruits can make you gassy as well. Green vegetables can trigger gas, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, artichokes, and asparagus. Dont forget garlic and onions as well.

Does your baby seem to be gassier in the mornings after your cup of coffee? Coffee and caffeine are triggers for gas they often trigger gas in adults who suffer through it for their caffeine fix.

No, that doesnt mean you have to cut out all foods from your diet. By keeping a food diary, you can pinpoint if specific foods are causing the gassiness.

What Are The Symptoms Of Colic

A child who is otherwise well, who cries or is fussy several hours a day, especially from 6 p.m. to midnight, with no apparent reason, may have colic. Also, babies with colic may burp frequently or pass a significant amount of gas, but this is thought to be due to swallowing air while crying, and is not a cause of colic. The face may be flushed. The abdomen may be tense with legs drawn toward it. The hands may be clenched.

The symptoms of colic may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child’s healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

Keep Your Baby Upright

Let gravity do its thing by feeding at an angle. “Avoid feeding while the infant is lying down,” Dr. Loizides says. If you’re breastfeeding, try an upright football or laid-back hold. After your baby eats, don’t have them lie down right away. “It’s best to seat Baby upright for 20 to 30 minutes to ensure proper digestion,” Dr. Montague says.

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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.

When To Call The Doctor

Does My Baby Have Gas Or Are They Colicky?

Although constipation is rare in newborns, you should watch out for signs of a backed-up baby, which include hard stool consistency, refusal to eat, making strained faces, a hard belly, and slight bleeding from stretched anal walls. Let your doctor know about any of these symptoms they may check your baby for a milk-protein allergy. Also inform your doctor about progressively watery poop, bloody stools, or bowel movements that are white, gray, or black after they have passed meconium.

Read Also: How Many Ml Of Milk Should A Newborn Baby Drink

Why Is My Baby So Gassy At Night

Gas can strike at any time even in the middle of a feeding! If your baby starts to fuss at the breast, he may feel full because of a gas bubble. A mid-feed burp can help take care of that. However, if you notice that your baby is always fussy at the same time each and every night, you might not be dealing with run-of-the-mill gas. Fussiness at the same time could be a sign of colic. However, keep in mind that a gassy baby can be worse at night because of the build up of air throughout the day.

Colic is defined as a period of intense crying for more three hours per day at least 3 days per week. Gas can accompany colic especially if the baby sucks in air while crying.

Does your baby have colic? Try these 14 methods for soothing a colicky baby.

Soothing Your Gassy Baby By Burping

  • 1Burp your baby often. Burping your baby means that you should hold your baby and pat them gently and repeatedly on the back to help the air escape through your babys mouth. This could lead to an accidental spit up, though, so you may want to place a towel under your babys chin to help prevent making a mess.XResearch source
  • You should burp your baby every 2-3 ounces or when you switch breasts. If your baby gets very gassy, you may have to burp more often.
  • 2Burp your baby against your chest. Hold your baby against your chest while you are in an upright sitting position. This position will make your babys chin rest on your shoulder and you can support your babys body with one hand while you pat their back with the other.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
  • 3Burp your baby in your lap. Hold your baby in a sitting position in your lap. You should place one hand across your babys chest to help support their body and hold your babys chin with the fingers of that hand. Use your other hand to gently pat your babys back. XResearch source
  • 4Burp your baby on their belly. Lay your baby on his belly face down across your lap. Make sure to support your babys head with one hand and hold his head higher than his chest while patting his back with the other hand.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
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    What Causes Baby Gas

    There are several possible causes for infant gas. Some believe that breastfed babies can get the effects of gaseous foods from their mothers breast milk. Others feel that acidic foods and excess dairy products in their diet also seem to worsen their babys fussiness.

    But what mom eats isnt the only possibility.

    If your babys bottle-fed, they could be having a reaction to their formula. Food intolerance often shows up as gas and bloating. If this is the cause of gas, youre also likely to see other digestive problems like diarrhea.

    One of the more common causes is swallowing too much air while eating whether breastfed or bottle-fed it can cause gas.

    Burping Your Baby During Each Meal

    What can I do if my baby has gas?

    Burping regularly is essential for a happy tummy! A lot of babies become gassy if they swallow too much air during a feeding session. You can reduce the influx of air by ensuring a proper latch or using an anti-gas nipple on the bottle.

    Grab your burp cloths and keep these tips in mind:

    • Dont wait until the end of the feeding to burp try a mid-feeding burp!
    • Burp every 5-10 minutes for breastfeeding babies
    • Burp every 2-3 ounces for bottle-fed babies

    In addition, consider burping your baby if he starts fussing at the breast or bottle. We have a whole article on burping techniques here.

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    When Should You See A Doctor About Your Babys Gas

    In 8 out of 10 cases, your baby will get better with time. Gas is common among newborns and usually gets better over time as their digestive tract grows. However, if you see the following signs, you may want to call your pediatrician:

    • You notice that your baby isnt gaining weight.
    • Your baby cries uncontrollably every day.
    • Your baby hasnt passed stools or has regular episodes of constipation.
    • Your baby refuses to feed.

    How Can Parents Deal With Colic

    Learning how to interpret your baby’s cry can be helpful in dealing with colic. It does take some time for parents and babies to become accustomed to each other. Remember, babies will cry for a certain length of time every day under normal circumstances.

    What works for one baby may not work for another. Other suggestions include the following:

    • Make sure your baby is not hungry, but do not force feed if he or she is not interested in the bottle or breast.
    • Change your baby’s position. Sit him or her up if lying down. Let your baby face forward if you are carrying or holding him/her facing your chest. Babies like to see different views of the world.
    • Give your baby interesting things to look at: different shapes, colors, textures, and sizes.
    • Talk to your baby. Sing softly to your baby.
    • Rock your baby.

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    Try A Warm Bath Or Towel

    A bit of warmth can ease your baby’s upset stomach. “A warm towel isn’t a bad idea, or a warm bath can sometimes help Baby relax and move their bowels as well,” Dr. Alt says. “Just make sure they aren’t too hot!” Also, keep your baby comfy by avoiding tight diapers and waistbands, Dr. Loizides suggests.

    What Infant Gas Drops Are Safe And Effective

    How do I help my baby get rid of gas

    Infant gas drops contain simethicone, which breaks up gas bubbles and is also the main ingredient in common anti-gas medications for adults. Research as to how effective they are is mixed. Still, simethicone gas drops for babies are very safe, and some parents find theyre very effective.

    Want to try infant gas drops to help your gassy baby? First, talk to your pediatrician about what kind to look for and how often to give them. And follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. Most will say you can give your baby drops up to 12 times per day, or at each feeding. Some parents find its helpful to give babies gas drops right before each feed to pre-empt gas problems, but check with your doctor to be sure.

    Read the label and be sure to avoid drops with sodium benzoate or benzoic acid, which can be harmful to babies in large quantities.

    And if a friend or relative brings a gas treatment from another country or one that isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration , don’t give it to your baby unless you get approval from your pediatrician. It could contain alcohol, sugar or other potentially harmful ingredients that aren’t clearly listed on the packaging.

    Read Also: How Much Should My Newborn Eat

    Gas In Breastfed Babies

    Is your diet causing gas in your baby? Find out how what you eat may affect your breastfeeding little one.

    Breastfed babies receive many benefits when they nurse — all the nutrients they need in the first few months of life, powerful antibodies to help fight against diseases, and a nurturing and bonding experience with their mom. But they also might be getting some extra gas.

    Gassy Mom, Gassy Baby

    “It’s possible that some of the gas-inducing foods that Mom ingests can also affect her baby,” says Jennifer Shu, M.D., an Atlanta-based pediatrician and coauthor of Food Fights: Winning The Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insight, Humor, and A Bottle of Ketchup. If mom’s breast milk is “gassier” than usual, it could start to surface in your baby within two hours of her last feeding. So how do you identify the offending food? It’s not easy. “It may take up to two or three days for food to be completely out of your system,” Dr. Shu says. “So, think back to what you’ve eaten over the last 72 hours to see if you can pinpoint a particularly gas-inducing food.” But with so many foods on the gassy list, this might be easier said than done, and it’s certainly not worth limiting your diet on nothing but a hunch. Here are some foods that might give you — and your baby — a little extra air.

    Food Factors

    Diet Decisions

    American Baby

    Popular Treatments For Gas In Babies


    For most babies, the number one most effective treatment for gas is TIME. Babies are born with an immature digestive system, and it needs time to mature. Until this happens, baby is likely to be gassy no matter what you do. Some babies wake up around 3-4 weeks to all the new GI sensations they are feeling and get really unhappy about it. If you cannot find an apparent cause for your babys gassiness, he probably just needs a little more time to mature.

    Gripe water, fennel tea or other herbal remedies

    Herbal remedies have been used for gassy babies for a countless number of years. I prefer to avoid using herbal remedies for gas in young babies. Here are my reasons:

    • In a healthy baby, anything other than breastmilk is more likely to cause problems rather than solve them.
    • Giving baby substances other than breastmilk can alter the intestinal flora and reduce the protective qualities of exclusive breastfeeding, thus making baby more susceptable to illness and allergies. See Why Delay Solids? for more on this.
    • Many of these products contain mixtures of herbs or other substances, thus putting baby more at risk for adverse reactions. Some contain alcohol, so read labels very carefully.
    • Most of these products have not been tested in infants for safety or effectiveness.
    • It is more effective to look at treating the causes, rather than simply trying to treat the symptoms.

    Simethicone drops

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    How To Treat And Prevent Baby Gas

    Other treatment and prevention tips are the following:

    Position and bottles:

    • When breastfeeding, get a great attachment, and for bottle feeding, make sure the formula covers the teat completely. Doing these things will help the baby to avoid gulping to get more food and taking in the excess air into their stomach. Always ensure your babys head is higher than their tummy. It will make swallowing and natural digestion easier.
    • Gulping down breast milk too quickly can trap air, so introduce some short breaks into the feeding. Break your latch, pause for 10-15 seconds, and then resume. Take a 30-second break while shifting breasts.
    • Some bottles are specially made to minimize air bubbles and some bottles have a special vent system to eliminate negative pressure and air bubbles. Pay attention to the milk flow from the nipple. Most bottle systems have levels or numbers on the nipples to indicate the suggested age you should use each nipple.


    Additional methods:

    • Although choosing the right bottle nipple and giving your baby’s infant probiotics are good for preventing gas, some good old-fashioned bicycle kicks can help your baby during a gassy flare-up. This is also a great opportunity to bond with your baby. To perform this move, follow these simple steps:
    • Lay your baby on a soft blanket on the floor
    • Sit in front of your baby and move your babys legs as if he were on a bicycle
  • Dairy
  • Choose The Right Bottle


    Certain bottles are better at preventing gas buildup than others. If youre bottle-feeding, look for a bottle with an anti-colic valve, which is designed to vent air out of the bottle and reduce the air that baby takes in while feeding.

    Youll also want a slow-flow nipple, which mimics the flow of milk from a breast and keeps baby from feeding too quickly. Slow-flow nipples make sure that baby wont gulp down too much breastmilk or formula at once, and wont take in as much air as a result.

    In addition to this, make sure the bottle nipple is always completely full of milk or formula

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