My baby is gassy…what do I do?

Flatulence is rather like the blues: everyone gets it at one point or another, and shaking it can be a challenge. Granted, a little gas presents little to no danger for Baby – the average baby breaks wind between 13 and 21 times every day. Burps are due to swallowed air, which Bean swallows while eating, sucking on a pacifier, or even while crying. Flatulence usually occurs because of gas produced in the intestines from the milk consumed. These miniature toots can come down to swallowing air, digestion, or even sucking on a pacifier. In many cases, Baby will calm down almost immediately after passing gas. But bottling up these fumes can be uncomfortable for someone so small. Thankfully, there are several low-impact steps you can take to help them expel any excess gas, or cut down production altogether.

The leisurely diner

Undigested sugars are among the most common gas-causing culprits, so you’ll want to make sure that Baby isn’t consuming their dinner too quickly. Breastfeeding mothers can ease the flow by briefly removing their baby from the breast and allowing the stream of milk to slow down before resuming nursing. If Baby has just begun bottle feeding, using a smaller grade of nipple should slow down the flow.

The anti-gas diet

There is no evidence that a diet that could cause gas for the mother – such as beans, cauliflower, broccoli – will also cause gas for Baby, so try other approaches before restricting your diet. A few babies do develop food intolerances, most commonly against dairy in the mother’s diet, which can cause stomach discomfort and bloody stools.

The tummy rub

Sometimes all a gassy baby needs is a gentle helping hand. Simply lay Baby on their back and try softly massaging their tummy in a slow clockwise motion. Still gassy? Then it’s time to move to…

The burp

A pillar of parenting, the burp is one of the most effective ways to release extra air from Baby’s digestive tract. The most basic burping position involves supporting Baby upright, over a burp cloth draped across your shoulder, and then, once the two of you are ready to rumble, firmly patting her back, although there are other burping positions that may work better for you and Baby. You can do this in the middle of feeding or at the very end, although burping both in the middle and at the end can help if they have been suffering from excess gas.

The intervention

If none of the above remedies provide Baby lasting relief, it may be time for some professional assistance to see if there might be other causes for the discomfort. Your doctor may prescribe Baby a common over-the-counter medication such as simethicone, although there is no clear evidence that this type of medication works.

  • “Breaking Up Gas.” Healthy Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Web.
  • “Comforting your gassy baby.” AskDrSears. Web.

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