Infant Gas: Preventing and Treating It
6 Strategies for Relieving Gas in Infants
These tips can help minimize your baby’s gas and relieve it more easily:
- Feed her in the right position. “When you’re nursing or
bottle-feeding, try to keep the baby’s head higher than her stomach,” says Shu.
“That way, the milk sinks to the bottom of the stomach and air goes to the top,
and it’s easier to burp out.” Also tip the bottom of the bottle up slightly, so
there is no air (or air bubbles) in the nipple.
- Change bottle-feeding equipment. “If you’re bottle-feeding, switch
to a slower-flow nipple and a bag that collapses as they swallow as opposed to
one that keeps refilling with air,” says Joel Levine, MD, PhD, a professor of
pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and chief
of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at
Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York.
- Burp baby better. There are many positions you can try for burping
your baby. Over the shoulder, prone on your lap, and sitting up with your hands
supporting his back and head are a few. One of the best burping positions for
infant gas is the “football hold.” Lay your infant on his stomach along your
arm, chin in your hand. Then gently pat or rub his back. “If you put pressure
on a baby’s abdomen, then more gas is going to come out, and it may make the
baby more comfortable,” Levine tells WebMD.
- Give it time. When babies can’t seem to burp right after a meal, it
can help to lie them down for five or 10 minutes and try again. “This lets the
air re-separate from the milk,” Shu says. “When you lift them back up, the air
may be on top of the stomach contents and be easier to burp out.”
- Do a baby bike ride. Lie your baby down on her back and gently
pumping her legs as if she is riding a bicycle. This can help to release
- Try tummy time. Regular tummy time, not just after meals, can help a
baby eliminate gas more efficiently. You can also try rubbing baby’s tummy in a
circle to help release gas.
Over-the-Counter Infant Gas Remedies
How effective are OTC remedies such as simethicone and commercial gripe
water? Shu says they may work for some babies.
Simethicone decreases gas in a baby’s stomach and prevents gas pockets from
forming in the intestines. To help reduce gassiness, give it to your baby after
meals and at bedtime as needed. Always check with your pediatrician about
the proper dosage for your baby.
Gripe water is another over-the-counter remedy you may have heard about. It
is a mixture of herbs, mostly dill, and water that is thought to have
antispasmodic effects. Gripe water is said to calm colic and gas.