Gas pains can be very distressing to both parents and babies. If you notice your little one is extra cranky, squirmy, or pulling their legs up to their chest in discomfort, these are all telltale signs that they probably need to pass gas…and they’ll feel so much better when they do. While unfortunately there’s not one trick that’s a sure bet, here are some things you can try to help prevent—and relieve—your baby’s gas issues.
Take Breaks to Burp
One of the most helpful ways to help prevent gas buildup (with an added bonus of less spit up incidents) is to make sure to burp baby during and after feedings. Getting some of the extra air out via a burp can help prevent too much gas from getting into their bellies and intestines, causing discomfort.
While your baby might get irritated about having to take a break during their meal, it’s worth it to try and prevent gas issues further down the road. Burping the baby when you switch breasts while breastfeeding, or after 2-3 ounces of a bottle, is a great time to try and coax a burp out. A word of caution—if baby is really mad about being burped and begins crying too much…continue feeding them. Their crying could introduce even more air into their system.
Banish Bottle Bubbles
If your baby takes bottles here are a few tips and tricks that may help to prevent pesky air bubbles from getting into baby’s system during feedings:
- Whether drinking from the bottle or breastfeeding, make sure baby has a good latch—their lips should create a seal on the areola or base of the bottle nipple (not just the tip of your breast or bottle).
- Using a nipple that creates a slower flow out of the bottle can help baby swallow less air. Try different bottle designs or nipple sizes to see if any make your baby less gassy. Some bottles are designed with special vents to prevent air buildup.
- Make sure the bottle is tilted during feeding so the entire nipple is filled with milk, causing any air bubbles rise to the back of the bottle.
- Be sure to let powdered formula settle for a few minutes after mixing before feeding your little one.
Pinpoint Problem Foods
If you’re breastfeeding, you may unknowingly be eating foods that may cause more gas in your baby. Common offenders are beans and cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower. If you suspect there’s a certain food or drink that seems to affect baby more than others, you can try removing it from your diet to see if it helps. But remember…food isn’t the only reason your little one could be gassy. Don’t eliminate too many foods from your diet since doing so could ultimately impact your own health, mama.
Get Gas Moving
When your baby has a buildup of gas that’s making them cranky and uncomfortable, there are a few things you can try to help break up the gas and get it movin’ on out:
- Move their legs: Hold onto your little one’s ankles and gently move their legs in a bicycling motion. You can also try to push their knees up towards their armpits, then pull their legs straight out toward you.
- Give them a belly rub: Gently rub your little one’s tummy in a clockwise motion to try and help break up any gas bubbles. Talk to baby in a calm voice or sing them a song to try and distract them while you’re at it.
- Try some tummy time: Putting baby down for some tummy time (either on the floor or across your legs) can help put some pressure on gas buildup and help force it out.
- If all else fails, chat with baby’s provider about the following:
- Single-use gas-passing devices (inserted in baby’s bottom) can help the most stubborn gas move out. Be sure to follow instructions for safe use…and prepare for a potential mess.
- Some parents also find that over-the-counter gas drops, gripe water or probiotic drops help relieve gas. While there may not be harm in trying them, studies suggest they don’t work as well as advertised. Get your provider’s opinion before you try these options, and get their sign-off on a trusted brand.
If you notice that your baby’s gas simply won’t let up, or is making them severely uncomfortable, be sure to consult with your little one’s provider. Good luck in your battle against that pesky gas!