Gas in Babies

Excessive gas in babies is normally caused by air swallowing during feeding rather than a problem with the milk. You can prevent most excessive gas with effective burping.

How to Burp Your Baby

  • Don’t try to burp your baby when they are feeding greedily. That is likely to upset them, make them cry, and cause them to swallow even more air. Pick a time when they slow down or are taking a break.
  • Use the burping position they appear most comfortable with. There are three basic positions in which to gently pat and rub your baby’s back:
    1. Over your shoulder
    2. Sitting on your lap, facing out or to the side
    3. Lying face down on your lap

 

Note for Bottle Feeding

To avoid air swallowing during bottle feeding, make sure that the air is always at the bottom of the bottle, not at the nipple area. This ensures the air doesn’t get swallowed.

Persistent Gas

Less commonly, gas may signify a mild digestive problem. If this is the case:

  • Check with your doctor or health visitor about changing your baby’s formula.
  • If you are breastfeeding, avoid certain foods, such as cow’s milk products.
  • Try an antigas medicine (although their effectiveness has not been proven).
  • Try infant massage between meals:
    1. Place your infant facing you on your lap.
    2. Move the legs around as if he or she were riding a bicycle.
    3. Rub warm oil on the baby’s tummy and gently massage.

 

When to Worry About Baby’s Gas

The good news is that most gas issues resolve themselves over time. However, if your baby’s irritability is severe and chronic, you should suspect something other than gas as the culprit. And if your child is not growing well, the gas may be an indication of a significant digestive problem. See your baby’s doctor to discuss any concerns you may have.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on May 08, 2016

Sources

SOURCE: 

Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, The American Academy of Pediatrics, Bantam, 1999.

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