One of the most frustrating parts of having a newborn is the gas. It seems impossible to avoid! Their little stomachs are still developing, so in the first few months of life, it’s incredibly common. It can also happen in breastfed babies, especially if they have an intolerance to something you’re eating. And once babies start on solids and are trying more and more new foods, it can take some time for their tummies to adjust. But seeing them struggle is so hard! If you’re wondering how to comfort a baby with gas, we have some tips for you.
It can be hard to figure out how to comfort a baby with gas! The first thing you want to do is make sure that’s what you’re actually dealing with.
Babies pass gas all the time. But sometimes, they might have some that refuses to pass, which can cause discomfort and fussiness. If your baby is squirmier than usual, or keeps pulling up their legs, they could be trying to pass some stubborn gas. Some babies may arch their backs and be inconsolable while trying to pass gas. If they get better immediately after a burp or toot, then yep! You’re dealing with a gassy baby. If passing gas doesn’t seem to relieve their discomfort, there might be more going on, and you may want to give their pediatrician a call.
Now that you know you’re dealing with a gassy baby, there are some things you can do to help relieve your little one, like simple exercises.
Try placing your baby belly down on a flat surface, then gently lift them up slightly on their stomach and massage their belly. Or try putting your baby down on their back, and doing “bicycle legs”. Holding the baby’s ankles and feet, move their legs back and forth like they’re riding a bike, making sure to apply gentle pressure to their belly. Every couple of cycles, push their legs toward their chest together. Be prepared for the toots that will most likely escape in that position!
For bottle-fed babies, you may need to make a couple of adjustments to their feeding position.
Make sure the bottle is tilted at an angle that fills the entire nipple with milk, so they’re not sucking in a lot of ear when they’re eating. Also, when you feed your baby, make sure their head is higher than their belly. You want to aim for a position that naturally allows liquid to move slowly to the bottom, and bubbles to rise to the top. Those bubbles will easily come out as burps, but trapped bubbles can turn into stubborn gas.
In addition to positioning, one of the best ways to combat gas in babies (bottle or breastfed!) is to be diligent about burping! Try stopping a feeding in the middle to burp the baby, then letting them finish. And always burp them after they’re done. Try positioning the baby higher on your shoulder so there is pressure on their belly while you pat their back. The added pressure from your shoulder can help break up gas bubbles and move them out.
If you’re breastfeeding and your baby is gassy, you might want to look at your own diet.
Foods that are harder to digest can cause gas, in grown-ups and babies! Think about it: if broccoli gives you gas, then it could very well be causing the same issue with your baby. Take a look at the foods you’re eating, and how you react to them. Try eliminating the foods that make you gassy, and see how your baby does on your breast milk after that.
If all else fails, talk to your doctor about an over-the-counter remedy. When you’re trying to figure out how to comfort a baby with gas, you’ll try anything!
Sometimes, despite your best efforts to prevent gas and trying all the other tips and tricks, you might need some help. Over-the-counter anti-gas drops like Mylicon and Phazyme have helped a lot of babies. Just make sure the one you choose contains simethicone, and always check with your doctor before giving your infant any kind of medicine.
It really can be hard to figure out how to comfort a baby with gas! But plenty of parents have succeeded using one or more of these methods. And just remember, this isn’t forever!
(Image: iStock / jacoblund)