How To Bring Relief To Your Gassy Baby
If you're wondering what to do for a gassy baby, including whether any foods make breastfed babies gassy, here's how to relieve baby gas in simple steps.
Babies are usually gassy because they have immature digestive systems and swallow air during feedings. They also take in air when they're crying, which is a lot and inevitable in little babies. Some babies may have sensitivities that could be affected by a breastfeeding mom’s diet or a certain type of formula. Whatever it is, gas is common and normal in babies. These steps show you how to relieve baby gas and get your little one to feel better.
Tummy Time: This position puts gentle pressure on her belly, helping to push out the trapped gas. Wait at least 30 minutes after a feeding to allow your baby’s belly to settle before doing tummy time. A more advanced move is using both hands and a lot of guided support. Lay your baby tummy down on a large exercise ball and gently roll her on the ball in a circular motion.
Forearm Hold: Also called the football hold or the colic carry. Carry your baby face down with her body resting on your forearm. The front of her diaper area should be in your hand with her chin cradled in your elbow. Make sure to tilt her head to the side to avoid blocking her nose or mouth. Doing this will place the same gentle pressure on her belly that is achieved during tummy time.
Take a break between breasts or every ounce while bottle feeding to get a burp or two out. If you have an especially fast let-down while breastfeeding, give her a break a minute or two into the feeding. She may have swallowed too much air too quickly. You can also let your fast let-down spray into a cloth before latching your baby. It will help reduce the amount of air she swallows. Some lactation consultants recommend burping your baby every 5-10 minutes during feedings, especially in the first few weeks.
Pediatricians recommend burping your baby while she’s in a seated position, with her head supported by the cradle of your hand. You can also burp your baby in the typical position – upright and over your shoulder. Be patient while burping because it may take some time for the gas bubbles to surface. You can always try laying her down for a moment or two to let the bubbles re-settle and then lifting her up and trying again. If she doesn’t burp after a few minutes, it’s ok to move on.
When nursing, hold your baby at an angle. Make sure that her head and neck are slightly elevated over her tummy. Keeping your baby upright for 30 minutes after a feeding can also help.
While your baby is laying on her back, gently rub her tummy in a clockwise motion and then pull your hands down the curve of the belly. Massaging in a clockwise direction helps to move gas along as that is the route the intestinal tract follows. Repeat several times to help move trapped gas.
Your baby’s latch may need adjusting if she is swallowing too much air while nursing. A lactation consultant can help you with the proper technique. Also see Breastfeed Your Newborn Using This Guide for tips.
For most babies, the number one most effective treatment for gas is time. Remember that babies are likely to be gassy no matter what because their digestive system is still immature. If you cannot find an apparent cause for your baby’s gassiness, she probably just needs a little more time to mature.
Gas drops break down bubbles of gas trapped in the stomach and intestines. It is not absorbed by the body and therefore considered quite safe for babies (but still check with your babies doctor first).
If over-supply is an issue for you, try to nurse your baby more frequently for a shorter time. As a rule of thumb, feed your baby twice as often and half as much. Remember: a baby’s tummy is around the size of her fist, so she doesn’t need as much milk as you may think.
Bicycling your baby’s legs in a circular motion can help to move the intestines and release gas trapped lower in the abdominal track. With your baby lying on her back, take her legs in your hands and cycle them slowly back and forth as if they were riding on a bike. Take a break every now and then to press both of her knees gently into her own tummy for some extra pressure.
Resource: Happy Organics