When a young baby becomes truly miserable, it is often connected to digestive trouble. They are too young to cope with the distress of belly pain without screaming, and this can make parents distraught. Luckily, a baby experiencing gas is very normal. So much research has been done to make sure parents know how to cope with the experiences of a gassy baby.
Causes of Gas/Wind
Gas is part of a natural build-up of air in the digestive tract, some gas is going to occur from the first time your baby eats! The causes can be diverse! From babies taking in air when they are nursing or drinking formula, to vegetables and legumes that a nursing mother eats. Some of these nutrients can be passed on to the baby. Especially as your baby begins eating foods besides breast milk or formula.
Your baby may take some time to adjust to new aspects of his or her diet. Other causes include crying a lot, which can cause babies to gulp air, and stressful sound and light environments, since overstimulation can cause a baby to react in ways that “shut down” various stages of the digestive process.
Gassy baby behaviour
There are a few well-known signs of a gassy baby, pulling knees into the chest, for instance, is often a sign. While crying is indeed a symptom, most parents are already experienced in investigating the various reasons why a baby is crying. If the child is not hungry, wet, or overly tired, gas may be the culprit. There may be some signs of bloating as well, and of course, if you start to hear gas itself, there is a pretty good chance that the child’s distress is associated with gas. Other signs include:
– hiccuping more than usual
– grimaces and arching of the back
– non-restful sleep or frequently waking up (more than usual)
Natural Remedies for Gas
Unfortunately, much gas simply has to pass; soothing and comforting your baby, as well as burping them frequently during feedings, can be the best way to ride out mild gas. One very helpful remedy is to place your baby in a carrier and “wear” them while walking around. Studies show that babies that are worn in this way cry less than babies who spend less time upright and attached to mum.
Massaging your baby’s tummy gently, doing bicycle legs and tummy time (not straight after feeding) can also provide some relief for an uncomfortable infant.
While some babies may protest, a slower feeding session can be a helpful way to reduce gas by lowering the amount of gulped air along the way. If bottle-feeding, using Dr Brown’s bottles can minimise air intake and always ensure the teat is full of milk when feeding. Burping more frequently, even if the child isn’t happy about it, can also mean more gas is released before it gets deep into the digestive system. I find babies will often slow down while feeding or start to grizzle when they need a break and have wind.
Foods that Cause Gas in Infants
Persistent gassiness often with a host of other symptoms could be linked to secondary lactose intolerance or Cows’ milk protein allergy (or intolerance). Which many people get confused by thinking they’re the same thing, which isn’t the case. Either of these conditions may require a major change in yours or your baby/child’s diet. But an occasionally gassy baby can be linked to many foods.
Foods like spinach, peas, cabbage, and broccoli are well-known for creating gassiness in both adults and children. So there is anecdotal evidence that eating these while breastfeeding can result in a gassier baby.
The research shows, however, that this is not a universal trend, and if you are observing a clear correlation between eating certain foods and a gassy, uncomfortable baby. Your child may be experiencing a food sensitivity from food proteins and other food chemicals, rather than simply you passing along gas-inducing milk. Normal newborn discomfort caused by wind and gas usually improves as babies get older and their digestive system matures. So rest assured your gassy baby will become much happier with time!