From cute little coos and babbles to rumbly tummies, babies can create quite the assortment of noises. By now, you’ve no doubt discovered that gas adds to those noises! Everyone — including babies — experiences burps and gassiness, but too much gas can be quite uncomfortable for babies. The good thing is that there are signs to help you spot gassiness as well as natural remedies to help calm a gassy baby.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Signs that your baby has gas
- Natural remedies to comfort a baby with gas
- What gas is
- When to talk to your baby’s pediatrician about gas
8 Signs Your Baby Has Gas
It’s not always easy to talk about gas (or other bodily functions for that matter), but the reality is that all humans pass gas on a daily basis. But how can you tell the difference between a gassy baby and a normal newborn?
Here are eight signs of a gassy baby:
- Your baby is fussy. There are many reasons why your baby might be fussy, and gas is one of them. A tiny, underdeveloped digestive system can lead to gas pains and cramping. We’d be fussy too!
- Your baby isn’t happy. Your baby won’t smile or settle well. If your baby is seemingly always fussy and struggling with gassiness, he might seem unhappy.
- Your baby isn’t eating well. There are many reasons that your baby might have trouble eating (like a bad latch), but gas pains can also contribute.
- Your baby isn’t sleeping well. Gas pains can make it difficult to settle down to sleep, but it can also wake up your baby from a sound sleep. Because good sleep is essential for healthy growth and development, talk to your pediatrician to rule out other problems.
- Your baby looks like he’s in pain. Although your baby can’t say he’s in pain, his face certainly can. A bright red face and furrowed eyebrows are two clues.
- Your baby squirms and pulls his legs to his chest. This is one of the biggest signs of gas. Bringing the legs up the chest is your baby’s way of trying to reduce the discomfort — sort of like if you use the fetal position to ease the pain of menstrual cramps!
- Your baby arches his back. He might do this in conjunction with lifting his legs.
- Your baby’s stomach is hard or bloated. A gassy tummy may feel hard or swollen, but it should go away after the gas has passed.
How Do You Comfort a Gassy Baby?
Your baby is fussy, and you’ve pegged gas as the culprit. Now what?
Although many moms may reach for the baby gas drops, that’s not the only option. There are many ways to naturally comfort a gassy baby. Some of these methods bring quick relief while others are intended to bring long-lasting relief by tackling the cause of gas.
You can provide comfort by:
Burping Your Baby During Each Meal
Burping regularly is essential for a happy tummy! A lot of babies become gassy if they swallow too much air during a feeding session. You can reduce the influx of air by ensuring a proper latch or using an anti-gas nipple on the bottle.
Grab your burp cloths and keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t wait until the end of the feeding to burp — try a mid-feeding burp!
- Burp every 5-10 minutes for breastfeeding babies (especially younger babies)
- Burp every 2-3 ounces for bottle-fed babies
In addition, consider burping your baby if he starts fussing at the breast or bottle. We have a whole article on burping techniques here.
Trying Gripe Water for a Gassy Baby
Gripe water is a go-to for mothers of colicky babies, but it can also help a gassy baby, too. Gripe water contains many tummy-friendly herbs such as fennel. Studies show that fennel can reduce gastrointestinal spasms, increase the efficiency of the small intestine, and reduce discomfort associated with gas. If you’re breastfeeding, you can drink fennel tea by adding 2 tablespoons of fennel seed into hot water and seep for 20 minutes. Strain and drink.
Incorporating Infant Probiotics in Your Baby’s Routine
The gut is home to trillions of live cultures. These good bacteria create the microbiome in your baby’s tummy. However, if the “bad” bacteria outnumber the “good” bacteria, your baby is more likely to struggle with gas or bloating. You can support your baby’s gut health with infant probiotics. Studies show that probiotics can reduce gas and bloating.
Doing Bicycle Kicks to Ease Gassy Baby
Although choosing the right bottle nipple and giving your baby infant probiotics are good for preventing gas, some good old-fashioned bicycle kicks can help your baby during a gassy flare-up.
To perform this move, follow these simple steps:
- Lay your baby on a soft blanket on the floor (or activity mat)
- Sit in front of your baby and move your baby’s legs as if he was on a bicycle
This is a great opportunity to bond with your baby, gaze into his eyes, and sing a few nursery songs.
Spending Time Doing Tummy Time
While you’re on the floor doing bicycle kicks, it’s the perfect time for tummy time! You probably already know that tummy time helps your baby strengthen his neck and core muscles, but the pressure of the floor on your baby’s tummy can also help alleviate gas.
Tip: Wait at least 20 minutes after feeding before engaging in tummy time to reduce the chance of baby spitting up.
Massaging Your Baby’s Tummy
The gentle massaging touch can be calming and relaxing, but even more importantly, the pressure on your baby’s tummy can help encourage that gas bubble to come out. You can also try the “colic hold” to help relieve pressure in a gassy baby. To do this hold, you can your baby across your lap so that his tummy lays on your legs. This works for the same reason that tummy time does. You can find more baby massage ideas in this article.
Administering Chamomile Tea
What can’t a hot cuppa do? Tea is so healing! Of course, you won’t be handing a cup of tea to your baby, but the tea itself can be helpful. Chamomile tea has been used for centuries as a tummy-soother, and many mamas swear by this. With your pediatrician’s green light, you can give room temperature (or even chilled) chamomile tea in a syringe to your gassy baby starting around 6 months of age.
Giving Your Diet a Makeover
Sometimes, all it takes is a little tweak to your breastfeeding diet to help your baby get relief. Some foods can be problematic. Dairy is a huge culprit. Try eliminating for 2 weeks and see if it makes a difference. Other foods like cruciferous veggies and legumes are known to cause gassiness in breastfed babies. If you suspect that your diet is affecting your baby, eliminate problem foods and see if your baby feels better. Learn more about the best breastfeeding diet here.
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What Is Gas?
Did you ever think that a tiny air bubble could be so painful?
Gas happens when air bubbles get stuck in the digestive tract. It’s common this to happen to infants because their digestive systems are so immature. Regardless of age, there are many reasons why certain babies struggle more with gas.
Common causes of gas include:
- Trapped air (from a bad latch or from sucking on an empty bottle)
- Drinking while laying down (eating more upright can help)
- Food sensitivities to mama’s diet
- Food sensitivities to something in the formula
- Underlying health conditions such as silent reflux
Remember, almost all babies struggle with gas.
If you’re eliminating the common causes of gassy baby but your little one is still uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to check in with your baby’s pediatrician.
Formula and Gassiness: Do Formula Fed Babies Fart More?
In addition to gassy foods, some babies may react if they have food sensitives. This includes food sensitivities in a breastfed mother’s diet or food sensitivities in a baby formula. For example, a baby who has dairy sensitivities may react to formulas that contain dairy. If you think your gassy baby is reacting to his formula, consider trying a new formula. Check out this post for more information regarding the best baby formula.
You’ll know that your baby tolerates the new formula if he’s less gassy during feedings, less back arching after meals, and less spit up.
In addition to food sensitivities, bottle-fed babies may fart more since they tend to swallow more air while drinking. You can combat this by using slow-flow bottle nipples, feeding baby at a 45-degree angle, and holding the bottle so that milk is always in the nipple.
Why Is My Baby So Gassy At Night?
Gas can strike at any time even in the middle of a feeding! If your baby starts to fuss at the breast, he may feel “full” because of a gas bubble. A mid-feed burp can help take care of that. However, if you notice that your baby is always fussy at the same time each and every night, you might not be dealing with run-of-the-mill gas. Fussiness at the same time could be a sign of colic. However, keep in mind that a gassy baby can be worse at night because of the build up of air throughout the day.
Colic is defined as a period of intense crying for more three hours per day at least 3 days per week. Gas can accompany colic especially if the baby sucks in air while crying.
Does your baby have colic? Try these 14 methods for soothing a colicky baby.
When to Be Concerned about Baby Gas
So you’ve tried tummy massages and bicycle kicks, but you just can’t comfort your baby. Now what? It’s a good idea to speak with your pediatrician especially if:
- Your baby isn’t gaining weight
- Your baby isn’t interested in eating
- Your baby is struggling with constipation
Your pediatrician can help determine the cause of your baby’s discomfort so he can get the relief he deserves.
Is Your Baby Dealing with Gas?
Do you have a gassy baby? What natural remedies do you use to comfort your baby?