Treating Tummy Woes
Tips for Relieving Gassiness in Babies and Newborns
Occasional bouts of gassiness in babies are inevitable, but when the condition becomes persistent and uncomfortable a caregiver can choose from several natural remedies:
Improving your feeding technique may help prevent an infant from getting gassy.
Feed Baby at an Angle:
If breastfeeding, keep your baby’s head and neck elevated above his stomach while feeding. If he is bottle fed, feed in a vertical position and tip the bottle slightly so that air can rise to the top, while milk / formula sink to completely cover the nipple. Using a bottle with a curve or angle can help.
Burp During and After Feeding:
Pediatricians suggest burping in the seated position as an initial option but you can also burp your infant by holding him upright or over the shoulder. Orlando pediatrician Gregory Gordon M.D., suggests burping by rocking baby gently in a seated position. Try burping him in the middle and after a feeding session. Be patient as it may take a few minutes for the bubbles and gasses in infant’s tummy to surface but if a baby does not burp within a few minutes, it is ok to move on.
Talk to a Lactation Consultant if Breastfeeding:
Ensure that your baby’s mouth is latching on properly and that each feeding is neither too fast nor too slow. La Leche league advises that baby should be fed in a comfortable position. Contact a lactation consultant or La Leche League for support.
Use the Right Bottle and Formula if Bottle Feeding:
The best kind of bottle will have a soft nipple that contours along your baby’s mouth and lips thus preventing air from flowing along with the milk. The milk should flow gradually and slowly so the baby has time to drink and swallow without gulping excessively. Sometimes, switching formulas may help reduce gas symptoms.
Even with perfect feeding protocol a baby may still feel discomfort from trapped gas and hiccups. Burping is not always effective because gas forms in the intestines as well as the stomach. If your little one still appears gassy, the following external therapies may help expel gas when applied approximately 30 minutes after feeding or upon onset of symptoms.
Carry your baby face down with the tummy resting on your forearm, legs straddling your wrist and chin resting near your elbow. Kathy Moore from About.com demonstrates here. Gravity will help apply pressure on the little tummy, which can help soothe and release gas. Give him a gentle back rub for additional pressure. A similar result can also be achieved by putting him face down on your leg, whilst you are seated.
Let your baby spend time on his tummy while he is awake and you are observing. Gravity’s gentle pressure can help push out trapped gas. This will also help your baby develop core, arm and neck strength!
While your baby is laying on his back, gently rub baby’s tummy in a clockwise motion and then pull your hands down the curve of baby’s belly. Some pediatric nurses use the “I Love You” massage – use two or three fingers and apply mild pressure around the abdomen and spell out the letters “I”, “L”, and “U”. Repeat several times to help move trapped gas.
Bicycling Baby’s Legs:
While your baby is laying face-up, slowly pump both legs back and forth as if riding a bicycle. The gentle circular motion creates movement in the intestines, which can help loosen trapped gas. New York pediatrician, Cheryl Wu MD, demonstrates.
Many babies are soothed by wrapping them up snugly in a blanket. Pediatrician Harvey Karp, MD, believes that swaddling simulates a sensation newborns experience in the womb. Many parents and child care providers swear by this method but in a controversial move, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently cautioned against swaddling. Parents should ultimately weigh the risks and benefits.
In many cultures, babies are constantly “worn” by caregivers. Your baby may like to be in an infant carrier. Please ensure the baby is able to comfortably move his head and breathe while in a carrier.
Some babies are soothed by sucking on a pacifier, but vigorous sucking on a pacifier may contribute to swallowed air and subsequent gas. Make sure your baby is not hungry or asking for something else when you use a pacifier.
There are four types of gas drops and each works in different ways:
Simethicone is a drug that is marketed as an anti-flatulent remedy for gas relief. Simethicone is a defoaming agent that binds gas bubbles together on theory that they can be more easily passed. Simethicone preparations usually contain synthetic ingredients such as artificial colors and flavors, as well as emulsifiers and fillers. Simethicone has not proven particularly effective in several studies.
Tummy Calm® is an FDA-listed, homeopathic gas relief preparation. An over-the-counter alternative to gas drops with synthetic ingredients, Tummy Calm uses natural active ingredients to provide safe and effective relief to gassy babies, usually within five minutes or less. Unlike simethicone, Tummy Calm does not require constant dosing and does not contain any artificial colors or flavors. For more information about Tummy Calm visit our home page.
For more than one hundred years, gripe water has been a trusted remedy to treat infant gas. Pediatricians, nannies and millions of parents all over the world have used it. The highest quality of gripe water should be FDA listed, contain natural active ingredients and be manufactured according to FDA guidelines for good manufacturing practices (GMP) for homeopathic medicines. Colic Calm is the only gripe water that meets these high standards, and it works quickly – usually within five minutes or less, providing safe and effective relief.
New Research suggests that supplementing with a pediatric probiotic may help ease some infant gastric problems if administered over a period of several weeks. If your baby has started eating solids, introducing a bit of yogurt into baby’s diet will also introduce your baby’s gut to different strains of intestinal bacteria.
Visit our page on why Tummy Calm for more information.
Red Flag Symptoms
Please remember this information is not a substitute for medical advice or medical care. Please consult your doctor if your child is having fever, diarrhea, vomiting, poor feeding, prolonged crying or any other symptoms that concern you.