Your Baby’s Gas Pain: Common Causes & What to Do

Ebube Imana

So, babies are the only ones allowed to release gas, belch and burp without any apologies. This is because babies produce a lot of gas due to their developing digestive system, and feel a lot of pain when it is trapped.

Some symptoms of trapped gas include abdominal pain or cramp, fussiness and crying as baby pulls his legs upwards, burping and belching, excessive spit up, hard, distended belly and flatulence.

Let’s look at some of the factors responsible for trapped gas in babies:

  • Swallowed Air. This could be derived from excessive crying or feeding.
  • Incorrect Latching. Where there is an incorrect latch-on, either to the breast or bottle, the chances of a baby swallowing too much air is greater, thereby resulting in excess build-up of gas.
  • Too Much Lactose. Babies require a good balance of the fore and hind milk both found in breast milk. As the names suggest, the foremilk, which is the first milk, is richer in sugars and lactose than the hind milk which is on the other hand richer in fat. Having your baby feed more on the fore milk than creating a healthy balance with the hind milk could result in excessive gas as their system try to breakdown the excess lactose. That is one reason mothers are advised to attempt emptying one breast before moving on to the next.
  • Overfeeding; filling your baby’s stomach in one single feed. Babies’ stomach and digestive system may be unable to cope with too much food at once thereby having difficulty breaking down the food.
  • Mummy’s Food. A baby could have trouble digesting some of the foods the mother eats, as breast milk contains traces of such foods e.g. beans, milk products, caffeine, soft drinks, etc.

READ ALSO: 4 Common Baby Tummy Troubles & When to Call the Doctor

Eventually, baby’s digestive system will be better able to handle gas as they grow up but before that, here are things you can do to make it easier for your baby.

  • Correct Feeding Position

When feeding, always keep baby’s head higher than the stomach whether you are breast or bottle feeding. This position allows air find its level at the top, making it easier to be released. If baby is bottle fed, tip the bottle slightly so that air can rise to the top, while milk / formula descend to completely cover the nipple.

breastingfeeding-positions

  • Baby Bike Ride

Just as the name infers, baby gets to ride his leg in the air as if he’s riding a bike, with your help of course, as he lies down on his back. This can help to release gas.

  • Tummy Pressure

From time to time, put your baby on his stomach so gravity can help push all the gas out. You can also put the baby across your lap with the head on one knee and stomach on the other.

  • Burping

Burp your baby during and after feeding. You can burp your baby over the shoulder or upright while rubbing the back or giving gentle pats to release trapped air.

  • Use the Right Bottle Feeding Accessory

Get a feeding bottle nipple that helps baby feed slowly. This will help prevent air from flowing along with the milk. Also, the slow feeding nipple will allow milk flow gradually and slowly so the baby has time to drink and swallow without gulping excessively.

  • Warm Towel on Baby’s Belly

Place a warm towel low on your baby’s tummy to help soothe the cramps or give a warm bath.

  • Prescribed Medication

If none of these work, you can consult your paediatrician and ask to be prescribed a safe medication for your baby, although natural remedies would be preferred.

colic calm

It can be heartbreaking to see your baby so uncomfortable and not be able to do much about it. In my case, it brought me close to tears. We switched his formula to one that had less iron and it helped, though we reverted when he became older.

Try to get your baby to drink some water as this will help stimulate the bowels to move. However, remember that this situation is a phase your baby will eventually outgrow.

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