Infant Gas: Preventing and Treating It
All babies have gas. But many new parents are surprised at just how much gas their tiny infants seem to have and how fussy it can make them. Infant gas symptoms include burping, flatulence, bloating, cramps, and, of course, crying.
Most often, infant gas is not a sign of a bigger problem. And what may seem to parents like too much infant gas may not be. Passing gas 14 to 23 times a day is normal for both adults and children. But there are ways to help prevent your baby from having too much gas, and strategies to help them pass it more easily.
What Causes Infant Gas?
Gas is generally caused by:
- Swallowed air
- Normal breakdown of undigested foods
Since babies cry more than older children or adults, they naturally swallow more air and have more gas. They also have a harder time getting the gas out of their tummies than older babies, children, and adults.
What can you do to make it easier for your baby?
First, realize that your child may not be as uncomfortable as you think. “If the baby is generally happy and only fusses for a few seconds while passing gas, that’s a sign that it’s normal,” says Jennifer Shu, MD, a board-certified pediatrician in Atlanta and the author of Food Fights:Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed With Insight, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Even if they turn red and make noise, it doesn’t mean that it bothers them. If they’re happy in between episodes and not too distressed during them, there’s probably nothing wrong,” Shu says.
Don’t mistake gas for infant colic. Gas does not cause colic, although colicky babies may swallow a lot of air while crying, which can bring on gas. And while gas can cause discomfort, it doesn’t cause the inconsolable distress and crying that are symptoms of colic.