Family Health

Gassy Baby? Try This...

After my son was born, I was shocked at the array of noises he could release – with gas being at the top of that list. How can so much noise come out of such a tiny body?! 

New parents often wonder if their baby’s gas is normal. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I hear at Methodist Physicians Clinic Gretna. But you can give them relief.  

Baby gas happens

Because of babies’ immature digestive systems, we expect them to have some degree of gas. Your little one is eating around the clock, so her bowels are constantly at work. Babies also seem to strain when they're letting out that gas or having a bowel movement. This doesn’t necessarily mean there's a problem. As long as your baby isn’t overly fussy, the gassiness and straining will improve over time as their gut matures. 

Your baby’s gas may be an issue if it's accompanied by:

  • Crying 
  • A reddened face
  • Legs being drawn up to belly
  • Clenched fists
  • Discomfort after feeds

How to manage baby gas

Move that gas out

There are some ways you can physically help your baby get rid of gas, and most of the time that’s all that is needed to remedy the problem. Some tips to prevent and rid your baby of gas include:

  • Burping after every feed
  • Massaging his tummy in a clockwise motion
  • Laying her on her back and moving her legs in a bicycle motion

Alleviate the air

Anything that increases the amount of air in baby’s tummy can increase the amount of gas she will have. For example, babies who cry more often than others will suck in more air. This can cause gas and perpetuate the cycle of fussiness. 

Tending to your baby’s feeding cues as quickly as possible can help decrease her crying. If your baby is bottle-fed, make sure you use the appropriate flow nipple and that she is at a good feeding angle (not flat) to reduce the amount of air swallowed. It may also help to wait until the bubbles are settled in the bottle before feeding your baby.

Address the breast

Babies who are bottle-fed tend to swallow more air than breastfed babies, but there can still be breastfeeding issues that cause gassiness. For example, if mom has an overabundant milk supply or a strong let-down, baby may gulp or take in too much air. A lactation consultant can help with these issues. 

A breastfed baby may also be gassier if mom eats certain foods or takes certain supplements, indicating an intolerance. If you are concerned about an intolerance in your baby, keep a food diary to look for correlations between your intake and baby’s fussiness. 

Meds? Maybe…

There are tons of baby products that claim to improve gassiness, and I get a lot of questions from parents about what is safe. The most common products include gripe water, gas drops and probiotic drops. Although many products are safe to use, there are some over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements that may have side effects or ingredients inappropriate for your baby. Make sure to talk with your pediatrician before giving your baby anything to treat the gas. 

Start the conversation

If your baby has excessive gas or fussiness, start the conversation today with your Methodist Physicians Clinic pediatrician. We can help you troubleshoot ideas to reduce your baby’s discomfort.

Find a Methodist Physicians Clinic pediatrician near you.

About the Author

Pediatrician Dr. Emily Bendlin has always had a passion for working with kids and parents.

Not one to steer clear of difficult cases, she wakes up every morning ready to take on new challenges that await her at Methodist Physicians Clinic.

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