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Is your baby crying all the time, have constipation, or act like a colic baby? You may have a gassy baby. With a gassy baby, it may seem like your baby is only gassy at night. However, babies are surprisingly gassy all the time.
Why are newborns so gassy?
A lot of different factors can cause a baby’s gassiness. Babies tend to swallow a lot of air throughout the day. This can be from eating, crying, and sucking on toys, hands, or pacifiers.
When do babies outgrow gas pains?
A baby’s digestive system is very immature and still learning how to do its job. Newborn systems don’t naturally know how to move gas along so easily yet.
Your baby’s digestive system will not be fully mature until around 6 months. Until it is mature, they can usually only process simple things like breastmilk or formula and not solid food.
This is why they need help most of the time to get that air moving and out. Wondering what you can do for your baby? First, determine if they are truly having discomfort from gas.
Symptoms of a gassy baby
Some things you will notice about a gassy baby:
- they burp a lot
- are bloated
- fart a lot
- get fussy easily
- tummy feels hard
- turns red when trying to pass gas
Most of the time, the gas doesn’t bother the baby. Even if their face turns completely red while passing gas, they are not usually in any discomfort.
How do you tell if gas is causing discomfort in your baby?
If your baby is happy in between the times when they are turning red and farting, they are not bothered by the gas.
Is your baby screaming in pain from gas?
However, if they seem inconsolable and upset in-between passing gas, then they may be in some discomfort.
Your baby will usually be very squirmy and arch their back when they are trying to pass gas. They will also pull their legs up a lot.
How to Relieve Baby Gas
What to do to relieve stomach discomfort in a gassy baby:
Most of the time, your baby’s discomfort can be relieved with these remedies added to their daily routine.
1. Avoid frantic eating
When babies are over-hungry, they tend to eat frantically. The more frantic they eat, the more air they suck in.
When they suck in more air during eating, more gas gets trapped. This can also lead to more spit ups since gas is trying to work its way back out while more food is being taken in.
Try feeding them before they get too hungry. Start looking for their cues around the time you know they should eat again. They will start rooting, turning their head, or start sucking their hands.
The calmer they are when they eat, they have less chance of sucking in too much air in the process.
Learn more about the baby’s feeding cues here.
2. Feed baby at an angle
Allow gravity to work with you. You want the liquid to travel down while the air bubbles naturally make their way back out.
Keeping your baby at about a 45-degree angle while feeding allows air to stay near the surface instead of getting trapped.
Breastfeeding positioning is important. Check out all the different breastfeeding positions.
3. Burp baby often
Babies pass gas up to 20 times a day. That can come out of either end. When it comes out as a fart, that means it has to travel all through the intestines and has a bigger chance of getting trapped.
Trapped gas can also be the cause of constipation, which could be another factor in their discomfort. If you suspect your baby has gas pains, make sure they still poop and aren’t constipated.
If you be sure to have baby burp after every feeding and in the middle of feeding, they have less gas that needs to travel.
So when you pause to switch breasts, be sure to burp in between. If you are bottle-feeding, take a minute to burp them when they pause during a feeding.
Before you burp your baby, make sure to grab a burp rag or two. Babies spit up a lot! I always have a few burp rags around at all times. Yet, I still end up having spit up on my clothes most of the time.
Reminds me of a meme I saw, “If you don’t smell like sour milk daily, do you even have a newborn?!” LOL, so very true! It always somehow ends up on you at some point during the day.
4. Avoid overfeeding
Your first instinct to deal with a fussy or colic baby is to feed or nurse them, especially newborns. However, they may not always be hungry; they may be fussing because they are a gassy baby.
As a first time mom, the first thing I did when my baby was fussy was trying to nurse them. Then I finally realized the different types of fussiness my baby had and was able to tell when she was famished and when it was just gas.
Feeding them more can increase the air trapped in their tummy. Every time they eat, they tend to suck in air. With more food on top of the air, it is harder for the air to come naturally.
How to get rid of baby gas fast
5. I love you Baby massage
A massage can help the baby relax, which can usually help the gas come out naturally. One massage technique you can try is the I Love You baby massage. Massage with coconut oil for the added benefit of a wonderful natural moisturizer for baby.
Steps to I love you massage:
- Facing your baby, start on the right side of their abdomen up near the bottom of their ribs. Trace an “I” downward to their hipbone using two fingers and slightly firm pressure.
- Next, start at the abdomen’s left side and trace a backward upside-down “L” across their belly to the right side of the abdomen and then downward along their right side to their hip bone.
- Start again at the left side, from the hip bone up toward the abdomen and across their belly in an arc to the right side abdomen and then down to the right hip bone.
This technique helps to push the gas from the stomach and down through the intestines until it eventually works its way out. It is also a great bonding experience for you and your baby.
If you feel you are still not getting the massage technique right, you can check out a video of it here. It shows how to do a complete baby massage on your baby, including the I LOVE YOU massage.
Massages also help promote healthy digestion. Try to incorporate a massage into your nightly bedtime routine. It can relax the baby to help them sleep longer and sleep on their own.
6. Baby Bicycle Kicks
Bicycle kicks are another easy way to get gas moving. Gently lay baby on their back and “cycle” their legs as if they are riding a bike. Having your baby do bicycle kicks can help move trapped air along.
Then gently lift the baby’s knees to their tummy, press, and hold for a few seconds. This helps the air come out.
Repeat as needed, switching between the bicycle kicks and the knee lifts. Make it a fun game with baby, sing to them as you do it.
This can also be a great bonding experience. Baby bicycle kicks can become a part of their nightly routine before bed to prevent trapped gas.
7. Tummy time for gassy babies
Tummy time is great for newborns. It helps them strengthen their muscles and can also aid in relieving gas. Being on the floor and their tummy helps babies develop the muscles needed to sit up independently.
When babies are on their tummy, there is a slight pressure on their abdomen, which encourages any gas that may be trapped to move around.
Be on the lookout too for diaper blowouts. If your baby was constipated, it might come out all at once when some air is removed.
Be sure to wait about 20 minutes after they eat before you put them down on their tummy. You don’t want them spitting up everything they just ate. Give the food some time to settle, and be sure to burp them before attempting.
8. Gripe Water
I love the fact that gripe water is all-natural. I would use it as a last resort after all the other techniques didn’t do the job. I did not have to use it very often. A warm bath and a massage after usually did the trick for my gassy babies.
Gripe water would calm them down pretty quickly. Just make sure to read the ingredients, so you know exactly what is in it. Some of them are all-natural, and others have added things in it.
Gripe water is an over the counter product that is all-natural. It aids in stomach discomfort and gas relief for babies.
It consists of sodium bicarbonate along with herbs like fennel, ginger, and chamomile. All of these ingredients help calm the baby and promote healthy digestion.
Note: Always talk to your pediatrician before trying a new remedy and the recommended dosage for a newborn or infant.
9. Baby Wear
And when all else fails, Baby Wear! Or try this first. During the first 3 months, babywearing would usually cure anything. They usually want to be snuggled and close to you.
This makes perfect sense; they were snuggled so tight inside the womb for the past 9-10 months. I loved my Moby wrap and wore both my babies a lot in the beginning when they got really fussy or to get things done.
Being upright and bouncing around as you move would naturally help gas come out. It was amazing the noises that would come out of my tiny baby while I wore them.
This is the perfect remedy if your baby wakes up with gas every night. Wear them around the house for a bit to ‘bounce out’ trapped gas. I remember many sleepless nights when I would be a zombie walking around my halls trying to soothe my screaming baby.
Why is my baby gassy only at night?
It may seem like your baby is only fussy due to gas at night. At night gravity is no longer helping gas move along. You also may be breastfeeding your baby lying down, which contributes to trapped gas.
Make sure to follow the above tips even during night time feedings to avoid excess gas. It may be easy to skip burping at night from exhaustion, but it is a crucial step.
Good luck with relieving gas in your newborn. And if these techniques don’t help, then it may be a bigger issue than just gas. Be sure to talk to the pediatrician about the symptoms your baby is experiencing.