It’s perfectly normal for your baby to have gas; their digestive systems are brand new, after all—and very small! In this article, we’ll go over all the need-to-knows:
- Symptoms of gassiness;
- How to relieve your little one’s gas;
- What foods (in breastfed babies) lead to more gas;
- And when to call your doctor.
Why Is Your Baby Gassy in the First Place?
Babies usually experience gas troubles almost right away, even after only a few weeks of life. Most infants grow out of it by around four to six months of age—but sometimes, it can last longer.
Most infant gas is simply caused by swallowing air while feeding. Other times, though, it can be caused by sensitivities that could be affected by a breastfeeding mom’s diet or a certain type of formula. Here’s how to tell if your baby is gassy:
You notice that your baby is fussy for about an hour or so per day. Again, baby gas is normal! But if you notice it every single day with no sign of improvement, it’s time to call your doctor.
Your baby seems unhappy most of the time. This is a good indicator that your baby’s gas is above a normal newborn gas level.
Your baby isn’t eating or sleeping well. This can have a lot of different causes, but gas is definitely a common one.
When your baby cries, you notice that they get red in the face, or they seem like they’re in pain.
Your baby is squirming a lot. If your baby seems uncomfortable, is squirming around, or pulling their legs up to their chest, it could be a sign of gas.
Remedies for a Gassy Baby
Here are several home remedies you can try to help relieve your baby’s excess gas!
Burp Them Twice
Since swallowing air while feeding is the most probable explanation for newborn gas, burping them twice is a great and simple thing to try. Even giving your baby some gentle back pats during feeding can go a long way. A lot of times, if your baby turns away from the breast or bottle in the middle of feeding, it’s not because they’re full—it’s because the gas is making them uncomfortable!
Keep Them Upright
Try to feed your baby (however you’re feeding them!) in a very upright position. This will help minimize the amount of air they’re swallowing. If you’re bottle feeding, you can try an anti-gas nipple to better control the flow of milk. Also be sure to avoid shaking the bottle too much, which can create extra bubbles.
Learn Their Hunger Cues
Crying, of course, can be very unpredictable. But, if you can, try to feed your baby before they start crying. Babies swallow a lot of air while crying; try to learn their hunger cues as early on as possible, so you can get them fed before they cry.
Lay your baby on their back, and gently cycle their legs toward their tummy. This motion will help manually push all the trapped air out of their tummy. You can also try gently pushing their knees to their chest, holding the position for 10 seconds, releasing, and repeating.
Tummy time is great for helping your baby strengthen the muscles they need to lift their head. These same muscles will eventually help them crawl and walk! Also, the gentle pressure on their tummy can help relieve their gas. Some babies spit up if they’re put on their tummies too soon after eating, so it’s best to wait 20–30 minutes after they’re done eating. Remember never to put your baby to bed on their stomach—this increases their risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
How Can Breastfeeding Make Your Baby Gassy?
There has been some research which suggests that the foods in your diet could make your baby gassy if you’re breastfeeding. The evidence isn’t conclusive yet, so be sure to try other things (like the tactics mentioned above!) first. If they’re still gassy, and you notice that they get gassier when you eat certain foods, there’s no harm in cutting that food out of your diet to see if it helps.
You can work with your doctor, too, to nail down foods that might be causing the gassiness. Some common gas-inducing foods include:
- Cruciferous veggies like cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower;
- Dairy and eggs;
- And meals that are very spicy, onion-y, or garlic-y.
Basically, anything that makes you gassy could be making your baby gassy as well!
When to Call Your Doctor
It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor about what’s going on, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal. There are, however, a few signs you should be on the lookout for. If you notice any of the following, call your doctor right away.
- Your baby isn’t gaining weight
- Your baby often doesn’t want to eat or is difficult to feed
- Your baby seems constipated or has a hard time with bowel movements
- Your baby has an allergic reaction