Baby or Infant Gas Remedies

by Sam Malone

Baby gas, reflux, flatulence, and colic are all caused by an immature digestive system and your baby’s inability to process certain proteins in breast milk, formula or other foods. It is often as difficult for you as a parent as it is for your baby to deal with the unpleasant symptoms gas produces. Many hours may be spent trying to burp your baby successfully or to stop him from crying out in pain and discomfort. If this is the case, try the following home remedies to relieve pain and solve the problem of baby gas. Just remember what may provide relief for some babies may not work for others. Some tried and tested treatments for baby and infant gas are:
  • If your baby is constantly fussy and cranky, try wrapping him in a blanket to soothe and calm him down. Swaddling infants provides a sense of safety and security that may help prevent unnecessary meltdowns.
  • Babies and infants benefit greatly from touch. It is important that you carry your baby at most times so that he is held tight and feels secure. Regular massages for the baby will also help.
  • Rocking your baby when he is crying out in pain can help your baby pass gas. Remember crying can cause a baby to swallow more air and only cause more gas so the aim is to try to stop him from crying as soon as possible.
  • Place a warm blanket or warm water bottle on the baby’s tummy to provide some relief from the pain.
  • Over-the-counter medications such as drops and potions to soothe the tummy and reduce gas can be used sparingly and after consulting your doctor. Look for drops that contain Simethicone as this is not absorbed by the body and has no nasty side effects. If your baby suffers from severe colic, your doctor may prescribe stronger medication.
  • There are a number of gripe water brands also available that can help reduce gas. Some of these contain herbal or essential oil extracts such a dill or fennel. Since the FDA does not regulate these, take care when giving them to your baby, as there may be side effects no matter how low the concentration.
  • Burp your baby every five minutes or so between feedings. If your baby can’t burp easily, try the ‘football’ hold. Place him face down on your forearm with his little legs straddling your elbow. Rest his chin in your hand and lightly apply pressure when stroking his back. This pose can help relieve gas quite effectively.
  • If a tummy bug causes gas and reflux, it is important to treat the infection immediately. Many parents may not know how to get rid of a stomach infection without medication. An easy way to reduce symptoms such as colic and cramps caused by an infection is to mix a pinch of sugar in water and offer it to your baby. This also helps settle his tummy if he has lost his appetite.
  • For natural pain relief from gas, boil water with half a teaspoon of anise seeds for five minutes. Let the water cool down before giving a few drops to your baby. Cumin seed water provides relief as well.
Is there anything you can do to prevent gas?
Yes, there most definitely is. You should:
  • Avoid certain foods when you are breastfeeding. For example, if you eat gas-producing foods such as cabbage, beans, and broccoli, these may affect the baby as well. Though there are differing views on whether this actually happens or not, it is better to err on the side of caution and remove these trigger foods from your diet. Milk, nuts, and eggs may lead to food allergies in infants, so try and avoid these products for the first few weeks. Stay away from stimulants such as caffeine and chocolate as well.
  • Talk to your doctor about your medication as certain medications can pass through your breast milk and affect your baby too.
  • Master the art of breastfeeding. Excessive gas is often caused by a condition known as hyper lactation syndrome. This happens during breastfeeding when the baby drinks too much of the watery foremilk that is rich in protein and not enough of the ‘soothing’ hind milk. If you need help, consult with your midwife or doctor to learn the correct technique to prevent under feeding or over feeding as both can cause gas problems.
Most infants outgrow the problems of gas and colic by four to five months of age. If you find that this is not the case or if nothing you do helps reduce the crying and pain, consult with your doctor or pediatrician to rule out any other underlying medical condition that may be causing the symptoms. If your baby’s crying pattern changes suddenly, or he cries incessantly at a high pitch, if he has a fever, vomits, has diarrhea or blood in his stools, get him to a doctor immediately.

References:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000978.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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