Whew. Nothing will drive you more crazy as a mom of a newborn as much as GAS will. Knowing how to relieve a gassy baby is a lifesaver not only for baby, but also for you.
Gas issues not only can cause pain for your little one but can also wreck havoc on baby sleep.
Gassiness is also something easily overlooked as a new parent who is exhausted beyond belief from sleepless nights and simply running on fumes.
That’s why today I’m tackling how to help relieve a gassy baby!
Disclaimer: post contains affiliate links.
What causes a baby’s gas?
So how do babies get gassy in the first place? It happens too much air gets in their digestive tract. Commonly, this can happen from feeding. Bottle-fed babies and breastfed babies both get gas, and while breast milk tends to cause less tummy troubles than bottle feeding, air bubbles can still get trapped when baby swallows excess air.
Other causes include the introduction of solid foods, something blocking baby’s digestive system (usually nothing too serious!), and even excessive crying, which causes them to swallow a lot of air. This happens from the time they are newborns to about six months of age and is extremely common.
Gassy Babies and Babywise
I’ve dealt with gas related issues with all three of my children when they were babies.
With my first I couldn’t figure out why he was crying and seemed in pain.
I rushed him to the dr, typical “first-time mom” move right?, only to find out it was gas pains!
By the time I had my second baby I knew gas was a common culprit and had my toolbox of tricks ready to go to help.
Many people think of Babywise as a sleep training book but it’s so much more than that.
There is actually an entire section devoted to tips on helping relieve gas issues for your little one.
I have pulled out my book, again and again, to help me help my gassy babies.
I have also learned through the years some extra tips and tricks that help.
I’m hoping this post can be a quick reference post for other mama’s who may be frustrated over gas 😉
How do you know if your baby’s cry is gas-related?
Colicky babies who are dealing with gas will hold up their legs while crying. If they are arching their back when crying then it’s more of a sign that reflux may be the issue.
Ready to help your little one get that gas out so they can feel better, sleep better, eat better and just BE better? Here are my favorite tips from both Babywise as well as personal experience on how to relieve a gassy baby:
Prevention is always the best way to avoid gas troubles!
If bottle-feeding they make many types of bottles to help minimize gas and you can also position your baby into a more upright feeding position.
Obviously, this is a little trickier to do when nursing 😉
Take breaks while feeding your baby to BURP.
Not only will this help keep a sleepy baby awake, but it will also prevent gas bubbles from getting trapped.
It’s a good idea to burp a bottle fed baby every 1-2 ounces and a breastfed baby whenever you switch sides.
There are four main positions for burping (Page 81 from Babywise):
- Sitting Lap: Sit the baby in your lap facing the side. One hand supporting the baby on the chest while the other one does the burping on the back.
- Tummy-Over-Lap: Lay the baby’s legs between your legs and drape the baby over your thigh. Support the baby’s head in your hands and bring your knees together for added support. Pat back firmly with the other hand.
- Shoulder: Place baby over your shoulder and pat back (this is what I consider the most common form of burping)
- Cradle: Cradle the baby in your arms and wrap the baby around one arm. Legs and feet dangle while head is supported by arm/elbow area. Pat with other hand
The #1 key thing about burping is to use gentle pressure and a constant upward motion. You want to push the gas up and out of there!
Hold Upright After Feeding
Little babies don’t have very long awake times but I always spend a few minutes immediately after feeding my babies holding them in an upright position.
It’s a great way to get some cuddle time with them in my lap and just hold them up and kiss on them, tickle, coo at them, etc.
I really focus on awake times being the time to get out that gas so it won’t affect naps!
Another way to keep the baby upright is to use a bouncer or swing that has an incline.
I prefer not to have my babies sleep in these sorts of things but will use them during awake time to help with gas issues and to avoid spitting up.
Pump Those Legs
Gas comes from both ends and my #1 tip to relieve a gassy baby is to pump those legs!
I will lay my baby on their back (great to do while changing diaper before bedtime) and push their legs to their chest and then pull the legs back down and repeat.
Baby bicycles are also very helpful (doing a circular motion forward and backward with the legs).
It’s so rewarding as a mom when you hear those little toots because you know you’re getting that gas out 😉 Small victories!
Once baby’s head and neck are strong enough, you can start incorporating tummy time on baby’s stomach to promote upper body muscles and encourage them to move around. This can also help release trapped gas!
People have differing opinions on favorite gas drops as well as when to use them.
It’s great to have both Gripe Water and Mylicon on hand when you have a baby at home.
Some people swear by giving drops prior to feedings, others give after feedings, some give right before sleep times, some only use, when they can tell their baby, is gassy.
It’s truly a guess and check type thing and it’s all about figuring out what works best for your little one!
I personally like Gripe Water for when hiccups happen. It seems to really do the trick! I tend to do the Mylicon as prevention and give it prior to feedings.
This is something I didn’t try until I had my third baby and y’all it was a GAME CHANGER.
A small, quick, simple, painless adjustment gave instant gas relief. I didn’t do a regular schedule with her, but would take her when I noticed she started having gas pains and sure enough it’d clear it up every single time!
You can read more about the benefits of chiropractic care for infants here!
What are some of the ways you have found to help relive gas pains for your baby???
This post originally appeared on Twin Mom and More.