May 13, 2009

Dealing With Gas In Infants Using Natural Home Remedies

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

There are several reasons why infants suffer from gas. From simple indigestion caused by the lactose content of the mother’s milk to swallowing too much air when suckling, crying or sucking on a pacifier, babies are often prone to gas and digestion problems. A mother’s diet can also affect a baby. If the mother eats acid producing foods such as cabbage, broccoli, beans and legumes or overdoes the dairy products like yoghurt, cheese and butter, the baby can suffer from gas and stomach pains caused by a build up of gas in the stomach and the intestines or an early intolerance to lactose. This is why all new mothers are instructed to monitor their own diets until the baby’s digestive system strengthens and settles down.

Gas problems and colic in infants can be tiresome for both the baby and the parents. Colicky babies tend to be irritable, cranky, cry for hours at a time, do not eat or sleep properly and can exhaust even the most patient of parents. Apart from these signs of distress, a baby who suffers from gas will draw up his legs into a fetal position, curl up his fists, and remain uncomfortable until the excess gas is expelled. If your baby’s tummy seems hard to the touch and he belches and passes gas often, he may be suffering from abdominal gas as well.

Home Remedies for Gas in Infants

There are several natural ways to relieve baby gas such as:

  • One of the first things you should do if your baby seems gassy and uncomfortable is to try and make him burp. Place the baby on your shoulder and pat his back till he burps. To prevent gas from building up, do this after every feed. For smaller babies, the football hold where you place the baby on his stomach along your outstretched arm and hand also helps him burp more easily.
  • Take a teaspoon of asafetida seeds and mix them with some warmed up coconut oil. Use this oil to massage your baby’s belly until the distension disappears.
  • Instead of commercially produced gripe water or colic medications, boil some cumin seeds in water. You can then give a few drops or a teaspoon of this water to your baby to calm him down and ease any stomach pain and cramps.
  • A warm bath can help relax the muscles of the stomach and ease gas as well. After a bath, try a warm olive oil massage to help your baby sleep better and prevent any stomach problems. If your baby is prone to colic, rub the stomach in a clockwise motion using firm but gentle strokes.
  • You can also apply a warm compress to your baby’s tummy. The warmth helps relax the muscles of the tummy and stop cramps and stomach pain.
  • Place your baby flat on his back and raise his legs moving them up and around as if he was riding a bicycle. This simple exercise can encourage the flow of gas through the intestinal tract.
  • Boil one bay leaf in two cups of water. Allow to cool and strain. You can add a teaspoon of sugar to make this more palatable. Give a teaspoon of this mix to your baby to ease gas problems.
  • If you are bottle-feeding your baby, switch to a formula that is not cow-milk based or one that is not iron fortified as these could cause excess gas in the baby’s delicate digestive system.
  • A stressed out baby can lead to crying and tears and more gas forming. Calm your baby down by walking around with him, rocking him, playing some music for him or even taking him for a car ride – whatever works!