Baby Gas/Wind Pain

A gassy, breastfed baby often has more than one issue causing the discomfort. All babies do have gas but some, unfortunately, struggle a little more with this problem.

Extra gas is mostly due to normal gastric development and swallowing of air while feeding. Mom should try to rectify these things mentioned below, before changing her diet.

Signs that Baby has Bad Gas

  • Pulling the legs upwards towards the body.
  • Newborn gas pain can cause excessive crying after feeds.
  • Baby forms a fist with his/her hands most of the time.
  • Babies with gas usually spit up a lot.
  • Extra gas in babies causes a lot of burping.
  • Flatulence (passing gas).
  • Baby’s abdomen seems bloated and tight.
  • Baby has diarrhea or constipation.
  • Baby struggles to stay asleep.

Cause of Baby Gas Pain

What Causes Gas in Babies?

  • Infant gas is a result of the digestion of proteins, lactose, and other nutrients found in breast milk or formula.
  • A baby may take in lots of air via the mouth while feeding (breastfeeding or bottle feeding). It is so important to burp your baby every 5 – 10 minutes during feedings.
  • Babies that use pacifiers often take in some extra air while sucking on the pacifier.
  • A crying baby will gulp air; this extra air can cause gassiness and cramping.
  • The more activity (noise, movement, etc.), the more fussy and gassy your baby is likely to be - especially at night.
  • Hyperlactation syndrome: This is when Mom has an oversupply of breast milk. Baby will then drink too much of the watery foremilk and not enough of the substantial hindmilk. The foremilk is higher in lactose and this causes your baby’s tummy to cramp; your baby might also eat more often, because he/she is not feeling satisfied, making the gassy stomach symptoms even worse. 
  • Your baby’s gut is still developing in the first four months and lacks the intestinal flora that evolves with time. Learn more about how breast milk protects a baby's stomach
  • A forceful milk let-down (when the milk starts to flow) might cause your baby's gas problems. If your baby is gulping and choking while breastfeeding because of an overactive let-down (the flow of the milk is too fast), he/she will be swallowing a lot of air. 
  • Any foods that have been given directly to your baby may cause extra gassiness. Babies who are starting solids often struggle with excess gas, until their tummies become accustomed to digesting food. Premature weaning can also cause gassiness. 
  • Formula feeding has been found to cause more gas, spitting up, colic symptoms and constipation than breastfeeding.
  • A poor latch can cause a gassy tummy. In bottle-fed babies, the gas is due to artificial nipples that are too fast or slow flowing.
  • The use of any medication taken by Mom or Baby can also cause extra gassiness.
  • A gastrointestinal infection (tummy bug also called gastro), caused by a virus or bacteria, can cause gas and is very common in babies. Check with your doctor if you think your baby might have an infection.
  • The food that a breastfeeding mother eats can sometimes affect her baby. Not all foods affect all babies in the same way. 

How to Relieve Gas in Breastfed Babies

Treatment, Prevention, and other Suggestions

  • Give it time to pass. All babies have immature digestive systems in the beginning, and no matter what you do, your baby will still have some degree of gassiness.
  • Burp your baby as often as possible. Try burping your baby every five minutes while breastfeeding, if possible. Also try different burping positions, like the 'over the shoulder pat', ' over the knee pat' or 'knee bounce' or just let your baby sit upright while you pat his/her back.
  • Carry your baby around in an upright position; this will help bring up any additional air instead of trapping it. Carrying your baby in the football hold will also help relieve the pain and gas, due to the gentle pressure on the tummy area.
  • Breastfeed your baby in a reclining position, football hold position or lying down position; this will help the extra milk flow away from your baby’s mouth, preventing extra air intake.
  • Give your baby a tummy massage to help release the trapped air; this can be done a half an hour after feeds and when your baby is showing signs of bloating.
  • If you feel that an oversupply of milk has caused the gas problem, you can try breastfeeding with alternative breasts at each feeding, allowing your baby to empty only one breast at a feeding. If your other breast becomes too full, you can pump a little for relief; this will help decrease your supply and also get your baby drinking the fatty hindmilk, too; this will prevent some infant gassiness.
  • If a forceful letdown is a problem, you can make sure that your baby is sitting in an upright position while breastfeeding; this will help the extra milk flow down instead of causing increased air intake.
  • Aniseed water - baby gas remedy: This gives natural & effective gas relief to infants. Boil ½ tsp of anise seed in 500ml of water for five minutes. Let cool and then give your infant 2 – 3 drops if your baby is under six months old; half a dropper for up to a year old. You can keep this mixture in the fridge for three days. You can give it to your baby every three hours for fast baby gas relief.
  • Babywearing can help keep the gas from staying in your baby’s system and help him/her pass gas easily.
  • You can buy tummy packets that can be warmed up and placed on your little one's tummy.
  • Swaddling can help by providing warmth and pressure.
  • When introducing solids, a baby should never be younger than four months (preferably six months); offer cereals that are specially designed for babies; and introduce high fiber foods slowly, to give his/her digestive tract time to adjust.
  • warm bath can help your baby relax and will help the gasses escape.
  • Try Dr. Harvey's Cuddle cure to calm a baby. Watch the video here.

When to Call the Doctor

  • If you suspect that your baby has gastro.
  • If your infant has long periods of uncontrolled crying.
  • If your baby seems to have developed unusual symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.

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