One of the most common health concerns in babies is the discomfort caused by gas. Let us have a look at the various factors, including foods, that contribute to this condition, and also learn how to relieve it.
You do all that is possible to make sure your baby is in the best of health. Even a small discomfort, pain, or tear makes us run the globe to comfort the baby. Most often, a baby is troubled by gas, which leaves him/her feeling uncomfortable and fussy. All babies have gas; it is absolutely normal. One major cause of gas in the stomach is the food. It starts right from his first intake of food, that is breast feeding, and later can be caused by the solid foods that he consumes. Most often this gas is momentary, and passes out through the digestive system. There are many causative agents, but let us first look at a list of foods that induce such a situation.
Foods Causing Gas in Babies
The first meal of the baby is breast milk or formula. When nutrients, proteins, and lactose contained in the milk or formula gets digested, newborn gas is produced as a natural byproduct. The tender digestive system and the lack of certain digestive enzymes, further makes babies more susceptible to gas. There are certain food allergies causing stomach upset, as they contain hard to digest compounds (e.g. sugar, carbohydrates), which later build up in gas.
Milk and other dairy products, like cheese, ice cream, and yogurt produce certain gas-inducing enzymes. In case of breast feeding, these foods, eaten by the mother, can be passed to the baby. Lactose intolerance (allergy) is another reason. If the baby cannot digest lactose, gas may arise as a symptom to this allergy. Some babies with lactose intolerance are able to consume small amount of milk and similar, but some can be too sensitive for the same.
If you are breast feeding your baby, do not follow a diet which is very high in fresh fruits, as the sugar and fiber in these may be difficult for the baby to digest. Experts advice a limited consumption of acidic and salty foods in the breast feeding phase. Fruits like oranges, strawberries, citrus fruits, tomatoes are high in acidic content, that may irritate the baby, and cause traces of gas. Also, the absorption of certain sugars like sorbitol, found in fruits like pears, peaches, apples, prunes, etc., slows digestion.
Vegetables and Other Foods
There are certain foods that cause flatulence in babies. The indigestible compounds go down the large intestine, and are consumed by the natural and good bacteria, where the bacteria give off their own waste product, which is gas. Vegetables, like carrot, onion, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, beans, broccoli, artichokes, and white cabbage; and legumes, like chickpeas, soybeans and nuts, beans, and peas are also more likely to cause gas. Other foods like dried fruits, noodles, oats, wheat, potatoes, corn, diet soda, chocolates, caffeine, garlic, onion, peppers, spicy food, etc., are also some factors.
Though food covers the major causes, there are other factors that can leave your baby fussy with abdominal pain, flatulence, and gas.
Breast feeding, bottle feeding, and using pacifiers, can allow air bubbles to enter the baby’s stomach. This usually happens due to the suction created during these processes.
This is also a possible reason for gas. Due to abundant milk supply from the nursing mother, she may produce more fore milk (milk that is drawn first during feeding). The baby tends to quickly gulp the flow of milk, and also more air. The baby in this case feels hungrier often. This in turn continues the problem of gas, making him feel grouchier.
Babies too get disturbed by overexposure to noisy and errant environment like TV, telephones, visitors, errands, and other such experiences. Just like adults face intestinal issues when overstressed, babies also get affected by an annoying environment.
All babies cry. It is not necessary that they cry only when in pain. Since crying is the only mode of communication for them, it may mean they are hungry, warm, cold, lonely, or even need a diaper change. This causes them to swallow more air.
Let us also look at the symptoms related to flatulence in babies. They are listed below.
- Abdominal bloating
- Vomiting/spitting up
- Abdominal pain
- Sleep disturbances
Tips for Relief
These are simple remedies that you can follow at home for a quick relief to your baby from gas troubles.
- Burp the baby during nursing and bottle feeding. This will reduce the amount of air in the stomach. However, this is not fully effective.
- Give your baby a small dose of sugar water. It will soothe the pain.
- You can give a warm compress. Using a warm cloth diaper (it should not be too hot), give a warm compress to your baby’s tummy.
- A soft massage on the stomach will help relieve gas. You can use some oil to massage the baby’s abdomen gently.
In case of severe symptoms, these temporary remedies will not help. If altering diet and food, and all the above methods don’t help, it is important to visit a pediatrician to determine the underlying causes and get proper treatment immediately.
Your baby’s health is as precious as your feeling of being a parent. Give him another reason to giggle; let him have a healthy tummy!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and not intended to replace the advice offered by an expert pediatrician.