When Gas Strikes: Ways to Help Your Baby Cope

When Gas Strikes: Ways to Help Your Baby CopeWhen my daughter was very young she had sensitivity to cow’s milk, like many babies do. When she was 8 weeks old I went on a dairy elimination diet and continued that until she was just over 6 months old, when she seemed to grow out of it. But in those first 8 weeks before we caught on to the issue, all we knew was that we had a screaming, unhappy baby who appeared to be suffering from gas pain and who spit up a lot. Here are a few tricks we used to help her out.

  • Positioning while feeding. Certain positions while eating increase the chance that baby will swallow extra air. Avoid this by feeding baby in an upright position (either at the breast or with a bottle). If bottle feeding, choose bottles that help reduce the amount of air baby swallows, like angled/vented bottles or those with drop in liners.
  • Help baby avoid gulping. With breastfeeding, a forceful let down can overwhelm baby with milk and cause gulping. If you think this is happening, see the above link for ways to remedy the situation. With bottle feeding, it’s important for the same reason to use a low flow nipple that allows baby to sip rather than gulp.
  • Frequent burping. Interrupt baby every 5-10 minutes during feeding to burp them and continue to hold them upright for 30 minutes or so after their final burping. This helps any swallowed air come up, rather than allowing it to get down into their stomach where it can cause pain.
  • Block feeding. For a breastfed baby, sometimes eating twice from the same side is helpful, in that baby drinks more of a balance between fore and hind milk, rather than an overabundance of the more watery foremilk.
  • Massage. Great for bonding and soothing in general, but a gentle circular (clockwise) massage on baby’s tummy can help relieve gas pain. Be sure to use a safe vegetable oil, like coconut oil, or if baby is a little older, a safe massage oil.
  • Gentle exercise. This was daddy-daughter bonding time in our house. He would bicycle her legs during diaper changes to help her pass gas, while making faces and talking to her. She loved it.
  • A different diaper changing position. Lifting baby’s legs up and crunching their stomach can cause additional pain, so try rolling baby from one side to the other in order to remove and replace their diaper.

If all of the above fails to give your baby much comfort, you may need to investigate the cause of the gas, such as reflux or food intolerances, as we did. I found Kelly Mom, along with the links they provide, to be an invaluable resource while going through this extremely trying time. No one wants their baby to be uncomfortable. Keep trying until you find what works for you!

Kate is a mostly stay-at-home-mom of a 2.5 year old little girl. They currently call the Pacific Northwest home.


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