You can plan on it – your baby will experience gas. Unfortunately, your baby’s little digestive system is quite immature when they’re first born and this leads to a lot of unpleasant gas.
Gas in babies is completely normal, and most babies will grow out of overly gassy bowels as they get older and their digestive symptoms continue to grow and develop.
As a new mom, you may find yourself helpless as your little baby screams in pain due to unpleasant gas, but luckily for you, there are quite a few remedies to help with gas relief for babies.
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How to tell if your baby has gas
If only your tiny little baby could form the words to tell you why she’s screaming her head off! If you’ve run through the usual culprits: maybe she needs a nap, needs to eat, has a dirty diaper, consider gas as the issue causing her cries for help.
If your baby is excessively fussy, is squirming a lot or pulling up her legs to her chest, she might have gas. Now that you’ve determined your baby’s tears are due to gas, try the tips below to see if they help calm your little crier.
Does your diet affect baby’s gas?
Tell anyone about your baby having uncomfortable gas and they’re likely to list out several foods you need to eliminate from your diet. However, research shows there is absolutely no correlation to a breastfeeding mom’s diet and baby gas pain.
Although there’s no research to point to diet causing gas. I am absolutely certain that my first baby was affected when I ate raw leafy greens and my second baby did not like diary! Those are two of the most common culprits of gas. If you’re interested in cutting out dairy to help with baby gas, here’s some helpful tips on how to go dairy free while breastfeeding.
Causes of gas in babies
Babies spend most of their day sucking in air; whether they’re sucking on a pacifier, drinking a bottle or crying, they might be taking in too much air which can lead to a very gassy baby.
Breastfed babies and gas
First things first, you want to make sure your baby has the correct latch, as a shallow latch can cause your baby to take in excess air which may lead to gassiness.
Try to keep baby’s head at a 45 degree angle (above their stomach) while feeding. You may need to ditch the breastfeeding support pillow and instead position a pillow under the arm supporting your baby’s neck. This trick really worked to help my baby’s gas issues!
Burp your baby in between breasts or more if necessary. I heard over and over that breastfed babies didn’t need to be burped, however with a lot of research and personal experience, I now know that not to be true.
Make sure to keep baby upright for at least 10 minutes after each feeding session!
Bottle fed babies and gas
Formula fed babies tend to experience more gas than breastfed babies, but keep in mind, as your baby’s digestive system continues to grow and develop gas issues will most likely vanish as time goes on.
Take care not to over shake the formula when mixing with water, as the more shaking you do, the more air bubbles occur, making it hard for tiny tummies to digest. To minimize any issues from shaking formula too much, let bottle sit and “rest” before serving to your baby.
Make sure to tilt bottle at a 45 degree angle and keep baby’s head elevated above stomach while feeding.
It’s important also to ensure baby’s mouth is on the wide base of the nipple when feeding, and do not let baby suck on bottle once empty. You might also keep baby upright for 30 to 45 minutes after a feeding if gas is severe.
You also want to fill the entire nipple with formula so that they aren’t taking in any unnecessary air. Tilting the bottle at the correct 45 degree angle should help with this.
Feeding baby smaller, and more frequently can also help particularly gassy babies.
There are tons of great bottles on the market today that help to significantly reduce gas. Here are some that we tried and had success with:
If you’ve tried all of these remedies and nothing seems to be working, consider switching to a different formula. I’ve heard great things about these formulas:
- Simulac Sensitive--works wonders for reducing gas
- Simulac Soy Isomil — for babies sensitive to milk protein
- Enfamil Gentlease— specifically formulated to reduce gas
Gas relief for babies: Natural remedies
If you’ve tried the tricks above without any luck, it’s time to turn to natural remedies for gas relief.
Give your baby a warm bath to help move some air out. Bath time has a way of relaxing your baby’s muscles and works to move the gas out naturally. Make sure to warm the room a few minutes before your baby’s bath so that they can be fully relaxed.
Warning, a warm bath has a way of relaxing baby to the point of a bowel movement, so just be prepared!
By far, one of the best home remedies that worked for my baby’s gas issues was a tummy massage.
Gas tends to get worse as the day progresses so it’s a good idea to give your baby a tummy massage several times a day.
Here’s the best way to massage the gas out of your little one:
- Use oil or lotion and move in a clockwise direction around baby’s tummy
- Next, take both hands and move them down the abdomen
- Use the “I love you” technique: Start on baby’s left-hand side and make an “I,” moving in a downward motion. Then move to the upper right side to do an upside down “L”, and then make a “U,” starting at the bottom right corner of baby’s tummy (The video below shows exactly how to do this).
- Places both thumbs at naval and massage out to the sides of the tummy.
- Do each move several times.
- Remember to always massage baby in a clockwise direction to encourage movement in baby’s intestine.
Note: Performing these massage techniques also work on babies who are constipated!
Get things moving by doing some bicycle kicks. It’s best to perform bicycle kicks several times a day if your little one is having some serious gas as pain from gas does get worse as the day goes on.
Place baby on her back and move her legs back and forth as if she is riding a bike. Be gentle and don’t force baby’s legs. Finish the bicycle kicks with leg raises – take both legs and lift them up towards the belly button.
Try the colic hold/gas hold
Putting pressure on your baby’s abdomen while you carry them can help to force trapped air out. Place baby’s head in the palm of your hand and rest his stomach on your forearm. Holding my baby like this seemed to really calm her down when her gas was really bad.
If bicycle kicks don’t seem to do the trick, giving baby some tummy time might help to force trapped air bubbles out.
If you aren’t already incorporating tummy time into your baby’s routine, not only is it effective for getting rid of gas, but it also works to strengthen their little necks and helps to prevent flat head syndrome.
Gas relief for babies: Over the counter remedies
Probably the most common over the counter gas remedy are gas drops. Gas drops contain simethicone, which is an antifoaming agent that makes it easy for little tummies to form gas bubbles that they can pass.
Gas drops specifically formulated for babies are completely safe, but just to be sure, make sure to run everything by your child’s pediatrician.
A fellow mom gifted me Gripe Water at my baby shower and went on and on about this little miracle worker, and if you’re a new mom, chances are someone’s mentioned this remedy to you, too.
But what exactly is Gripe Water and how does it work?
Gripe water is comprised of natural ingredients and in most brands you’ll find a combination of water and sodium bicarbonate. The substance works to naturally soothe baby’s tummy.
Unfortunately, there haven’t been too many studies on the exact effectiveness of Gripe Water, but many moms and pediatricians swear by it. If your baby seems to be incredibly uncomfortable it’s definitely worth a shot.
Most pediatricians that I talked to wanted me to wait until our baby was at least four weeks of age to give Gripe Water and the reason for this was because before that point, your baby’s digestive system is still developing and is pretty sensitive to new things.
The same company that makes the super awesome snot sucker (that is a must-have for getting rid of baby snot) makes the Windi.
The Windi was invented by a pediatrician to help release gas by inserting the tube into your baby’s bottom, which causes the gas to instantly release. Genius, right?!
What I love about the Windi is the fact that it’s completely natural and I’m able to rid my baby’s gas issues without further messing with their digestive tract by adding something like gas drops or gripe water to their system.
Hopefully those tips work for your little one and you get over the baby gas stage quickly. I know the newborn phase is hard (but oh, so sweet!) so I wrote this post on newborn hacks that helped me survive those first few months. I’m also super passionate about baby sleep and this post on why your newborn might not be napping during the day has helped thousands of moms.