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Is your baby screaming with gas pain day after day? Learn how you can help
Oh, the dreaded baby gas. I’ll never forget the day I experienced by newborn screaming and crying out in pain from gas pains. I spent so much time looking up “how to get rid of baby gas fast”, just to see the same 2 tips repeated over and over again:
- Baby Bicycle Kicks
- Burping Baby
Unfortunately, they didn’t work for my little uncomfortable baby.
And after sharing my story with other moms I came to learn those tips also didn’t work for them either!
So then, how can you get rid of your baby’s uncomfortable gas pains? Let me explain.
Understand: why do babies get gas in the first place?
Babies get gas because air gets into their digestive system. Imagine sucking on a bottle with a poor latch — baby is essentially sucking in lots of air as he or she eats.
In fact, it’s completely NORMAL for baby to experience gas since babies don’t have a mature digestive system yet.
Some babies will pass gas upward of 20 times a day! However, the problem becomes when baby simply can’t get comfortable or even pass the gas.
How to tell if baby has gas?
First, I just want to say, you will definitely know when you baby is experiencing gas pains. Think back to the last time you had bad gas pains — they’re pretty painful, right?
Unfortunately, babies don’t understand why their little tummies hurt. All they know is it hurts and they’re uncomfortable.
Common signs your baby is experiencing infant gas:
- Excessive fussiness
- Bloated/Distended Belly
- Arching Back
- Lifting Legs Towards Chest
- Burping Often
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Crying while straining to pass gas
Sometimes, chronic gas pains can be a sign your baby is dealing with infant reflux.
If your baby is continuously fussy and you aren’t able to tell if it could be gas or something else, it’d be a good idea to notify your baby’s pediatrician so they can help you determine what could be wrong.
When do babies outgrow gas pains?
Fortunately, most babies outgrow gas around the time they reach 4-6 months of age.
For babies with reflux, it may linger on a bit longer.
And if your baby has no underlying conditions, but is experiencing lots of gas pains, please let your pediatrician know so they can help you get to the bottom of the cause.
Is your newborn gassy at night — why?
Often times, babies seem to show the most discomfort with gas pains at night.
This is typical because they’ve had gas stuck throughout the day and once they’re laying down, gravity makes it much harder to pass.
The best way to prevent gas pain from keeping your infant up at night is to make sure you’re helping them to burp & fart during the day.
How to tell the difference between regular infant gas and colic
An important distinction to make when concerned for baby gas is how to tell if it’s gas or baby colic.
Colicky babies usually have a pattern to their fussiness. For example, every evening within the same window of time, your baby becomes inconsolable, fussy, and cannot seem to soothe or calm down.
The rule of thumb for colicky babies is — if it’s happening for at least 3 hours, 3 days a week, for 3 weeks — it’s likely colic.
Though the cries and screams seem similar (plus, they’re never easy to listen to either way), gas and colic are very different.
How to get rid of baby gas FAST
Now that you have a good understanding of why babies get gas and what it looks like, let’s talk about some awesome remedies you can use to get rid of it fast!
Try one of these home remedies for infant gas pain
Some of the BEST ways to get rid of baby gas is to simply adjust how you do some of your day to day things together. For example:
- Practice Paced Feedings — Paced feeding is a way of feeding baby by bottle to mimic the natural feeling as if baby was breastfeeding. This method also works to slow down baby’s gulping of milk so that they aren’t swallowing excessive amounts of air & encourages them to take breaks throughout the feed. For an example of how to pace feed, check out the video below!
- Burp Baby After EVERY Feed – Making sure you burp baby after every feed is another great way to ensure you’re getting out as much gas as possible (especially before you lay them down on their back for sleep). If you’re practicing the paced feeding method above, you can also use those “breaks” as another opportunity to burp your baby. Just be sure to have a few burp rags (like these ones) on hand in the event baby spits up a little.
- Tummy Time Play – Engaging in tummy time throughout the day is another way to help your baby pass gas naturally. Plus, since tummy time helps them to strengthen all those core muscles from their neck, core, and back, it will also help them eventually be able to sit up & be more upright throughout the day — another helpful developmental piece to getting rid of baby gas.
- Offer a Baby Massage – A baby massage can not only help get out the gas, but it’s also just simply relaxing & soothing for babies! Now, the key part to a gas baby massage is you want to place your hand on the left side of their belly and gently massage in a clockwise circular motion. This mimicks the way food moves through our digestive system and helps gently push the gas out the same way!
- Monitor Cues to Prevent Crying – Crying is one of the common ways babies end up with so much gas in their bellies. To prevent this from happening, try to pay attention to baby’s cues BEFORE they start to cry. For instance, if you notice your baby starts sucking their hands when they’re hungry, try offering them food a bit earlier to prevent them from breaking into a crying spell.
- Try a nice warm bath – Not that it will help to pass the gas, but a nice warm bath is always very soothing. If your baby’s tummy does end up below the warm, gently moving water, it could possibly help them pass a few gas bubbles too!
Gripe Water Or Gas Drops? Which works best?
If you’ve exhausted all the efforts above, another common way to get your baby some instant gas relief if by using either gas drops or gripe water.
Now, they are NOT the same thing so I’m going to talk about what those differences are.
What is gripe water?
Gripe water is a liquid supplement you can purchase over the counter that contains a mixture of herbs such as:
- lemon balm
- and some brands use the ingredient known as sodium bicarbonate.
Despite there not being many studies or evidence to definitely tell us whether or not gripe water is an effective remedy for baby gas, there are lots of naturalistic mamas who swear by it.
Gripe water isn’t just advertised to help with baby gas though, many products state that it can possibly help relieve gas, fussiness, colic, hiccups, and teething discomforts!
My best suggestion would be to do some research, write down your questions, and discuss them with your pediatrician to decide if gripe water could possibly help your baby.
Personally, I have tried and did not have success with it doing anything for my baby.
What are gas drops?
Gas drops, on the other hand, are made of simethicone.
Simethicone is an anti-foaming agent that allows for easier gas passing by breaking up the larger gas bubbles into smaller ones.
Unfortunately, studies have also shown that gas drops may not be as productive as they’re talked up to be. One study by the AAP showed that “babies that used simethicone were no more effective than babies who received a placebo“.
Personally, I did find gas drops to be effective in helping my son pass his gas, BUT he also had horrible reflux so his gas build-up got pretty bad at times. All said and done, I used gas drops with the approval of my pediatrician.
If gas drops are one of your last-ditch efforts, I suggest treating it the same as gripe water. Research a few brands, write down questions, and talk to your pediatrician about them.
Comforting a gassy baby
If you’re in the trenches due to your baby being gassy, just remember to try to breathe and be there in the moment with them.
Though the fussiness and crying can be a lot to take in at times, they truly are just uncomfortable and need some help to get all that gas out.
When in doubt or if the gas is constantly reoccurring, notify your pediatrician to start the process of figuring out why your baby is struggling with so much gas and what you can do to help!
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