What are the best ways to alleviate my baby's gas?
When your baby is happy, cooing and carefree, you enjoy every precious moment. But unfortunately, there will be times when your little angel is fussy, cranky and downright irritable. Don't panic: The discomfort may be due to something simple -- like gas.
Here are a few tips that may help you if that's the case:
- One key sign suggesting that your baby may have gas is fussiness. Don't wait too long to feed him/her; do it before your baby starts to cry. Be sure to do it at a leisurely pace, because if it's too fast, he/she will swallow more air -- which will only make the problem worse.
- If you're breastfeeding, remember that it is always best to burp your baby between each feeding. If your milk tends to flow quickly, your baby will swallow more air -- causing increased gas and fussiness.
- If you are bottle-feeding your baby, make sure that the opening is neither too big nor too small. It's important that the bottle's nipple be the right size, because babies who bottle-feed typically swallow more air -- especially if the nipple is not full of milk. (It's always best to prevent your baby from swallowing gas in the first place by burping him/her frequently immediately after feeding -- or even midway through the feeding, if necessary.)
- Whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, the best time to burp your baby is during his/her natural pauses. Notice when your baby naturally slows down.
- Be sure not to disrupt the feedings, as that interrupts your baby's natural feeding cycle and prolongs the feeding time. (This can irritate your baby and potentially lead him/her to swallow more air.)
Here are some tips on how to burp your baby:
- Lay your baby on his/her back and gently rub his/her tummy clockwise to help alleviate any trapped gas.
- You can also do the move known as the "gas hold" or "football hold," where you hold your baby securely in your arm, facing down, as you gently rub his/her back.
- Position your baby in an upright position over your shoulder and firmly pat his/her back. (Don't forget the burping cloth!)
- Set your baby upright on your lap. Let him/her lean forward while you rub his/her back. Be sure to place your hand midway between your baby's chin and chest for support.
- Lay your baby on his/her stomach across your lap. Make sure your baby's head is higher than the rest of his/her body and rub and pat your baby's back firmly until he/she burps.
If none of these suggestions work, continue feeding your baby and try burping him/her once again. If your baby is still uncomfortable due to gas even after burping, ask your pediatrician for recommendations.
Many new mommies are unaware that a baby's crying may also cause gassiness. When babies cry, they swallow air, causing air bubbles to become trapped in their stomachs. Air bubbles may also go into their intestines, causing irritability and gas pain.
Some natural remedies known to soothe babies' gas pain and discomfort include:
- Giving your baby a warm bath and holding him/her close to soothe and relax your baby, and/or covering your baby and massaging his/her back with a warm washcloth.
- Helping your baby pump his/her legs in a bicycle motion while your baby is lying on his/her back.
- Taking your baby for a long drive to help him/her relax. (This frequently makes babies fall asleep, giving their little bodies a chance to rest and recover.)
- Swaddling your baby in a warm blanket (making sure it's not too hot) while holding him/her close.
Remember: Be patient. This is temporary. Your little angel will get over it, and will very soon be back to his/her usual loving, playful, carefree self.