Flatulence is common in babies during the first few months of their life. This article provides some tips for relieving infant gas.
The digestive system of an infant needs some time to get fully and effectively functional. During pregnancy, the fetus derives food directly from the mother’s blood. So a newborn has an immature digestive system, when compared to their older counterparts. It takes a few months for the system to get adjusted to the process of food ingestion and digestion. This explains the excessive gas, bloating, hiccups, and frequent spit ups, which make the baby fussy. Gas pockets in the intestines may also cause pain and irritation.
Flatulence is a common problem faced by most of the babies. Production of gas in the baby’s stomach is a natural process, as it is a byproduct formed during the digestion of milk (both breast milk and formula). The mother’s diet may also cause gas in infants. If the mother is consuming more gas-producing foods, like legumes; or if she has a highly acidic diet, the baby may experience gas and other symptoms associated with it. Flatulence may also be caused by excess intake of air, through his/her mouth, and this happens while breastfeeding and crying. If the baby is stressed due to the new atmosphere and the noises, flatulence may develop. Apart from having an immature digestive system, babies lack the intestinal flora, that aid the process of digestion.
As babies cannot communicate, you have to understand the symptoms. In case of infant gas, the most common symptom is constant crying, even after feeding and changing diaper. The baby will have hiccups and spit up a lot. Sometimes, the stomach of the baby may look full or bloated. He/she may also indulge in kicking or pumping legs. Some babies may also experience diarrhea or constipation and sleep disturbances. However, if the baby has a high temperature or any other serious symptom, you have to take him to the doctor, at the earliest.
Flatulence in infants is not a cause of concern, as long as the symptoms are mild. If you suspect that the baby is having gas problem, you can try any of the following remedies, which may prove effective for controlling the symptoms.
- Make your baby burp more often, particularly after feeding. This can be done by placing the baby on the shoulder, and gently patting his/her back. This will release the excess gas in the stomach.
- Another method is to give infant gas relief drops, according to the instructions of the doctor. These drops can relieve the pain caused by the condition.
- You may also use over-the-counter colic relievers, like gripe water, which can be beneficial to alleviate the symptoms. In that case, seek the opinion of your pediatrician beforehand.
- A little bit of exercise can work wonders as far as infant gas is concerned. You can gently pump the baby’s legs in a back and forth motion, as the baby lies on his/her back.
- A warm bath can also act as a natural remedy. The heat relaxes the stiff abdominal muscles and provide relief to the baby.
- You may also apply slight pressure on the abdominal area of the baby, so that the gas trapped in the stomach passes out. This can be done by massaging the abdomen gently.
You can prevent this problem by taking a little care. Feed your baby more frequently, but reduce the duration of feeding. Make him burp after every feeding, and keep the baby in sitting position for about half an hour after feeding. Massage his body, especially the abdominal area on a daily basis. The mother must refrain from consuming gas-producing foods. However, medical attention must be sought, if the symptoms are severe.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.