Gassy baby: Signs and ways to help your infant get relief

tummy time to expel gas
Tummy time also helps to expel trapped gas in your baby's stomach. Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 16 Jan 2023, 10:43 am IST
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It’s a delight to have a newborn in your life. The sound of their giggles spreads happiness everywhere. Well, if they aren’t laughing or giggling, they are crying, sleeping, drinking milk or pooping. Their list of activities also includes burping and farting. Yes, young or old, passing gas is natural. But there are times when babies become gassy and uncomfortable. There are some signs of a gassy baby, and also ways to help the little one get relief. Read on to find out more about how to deal with a gassy baby.

Gas is normal for babies and usually they manage it by a burp or fart. But sometimes, they become gassy and will show signs and symptoms. HealthShots connected with Dr Vinay H Joshi, Senior Neonatologist and Pediatrician, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, and he shared the signs of a gassy baby and how to provide relief.

gassy baby
Excessive crying is one of the signs of a gassy baby. Image courtesy: shutterstock

Signs of gassy baby

• Excessive crying or fussiness lasting for more than an hour per day (why does a baby cry).
• Episodes of grunting and grimacing with pain.
• Frequent spit-ups.
• Bloated or gassy belly.
• Drawing legs up against tummy and squirming with discomfort and pain.
• Decreased and interrupted feeding.
• Disturbed or diminished sleep.

Causes of gassy baby

There are multiple factors that can contribute to your baby being gassy.

1. Developing digestive system

A baby’s digestive system gets developed over a period of time. Dr Joshi says that immature or developing intestines allow rapid food passage without complete breakdown, and this leads to formation of more gas.

2. Improper latching at the breast

Latching is very important for a baby as it will help a newborn to get enough milk to grow healthy (signs of a good and bad latch). When it’s not done right, the baby will swallow more air.

3. Faulty position during breastfeeding

There are effective breastfeeding positions, and if it’s not done correctly, your baby might have a gas problem. The expert says that the baby’s head should be held higher than stomach.

4. Bottle feeding

If you opt for bottle feeding, there are chances of excessive swallowing of air by the little one.

5. Formula feeding

Some mothers like to go for formula feeding, but excessive lactose can lead to a gassy baby.

Ways to provide relief to gassy baby

1. Start feeding before baby cries for long from hunger

If a baby cries a lot before having milk, it can make the little one gassy. The best is to anticipate feeding time. Then begin feeding so that the little one doesn’t cry for long due to hunger.

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2. Ensure proper breastfeeding position

Hold your baby the right way while breastfeeding, and focus on good latching too. Get these two things right to make sure you don’t have a gassy baby.

3. Burping the baby

Burping the little one while you are in the middle of feeding and after breastfeeding is the most important thing to do.

4. Ensure proper angle of the bottle while bottle feeding

The nipple of the bottle should be full with milk and no air. Your baby should be kept in an upright position while sucking on the nipple that should not be too large or too small. You can use specially designed anti-gas bottles and nipples.

gassy baby
Breastfeeding position is very important to prevent babies from being gassy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Bicycle exercise

This is a fun one, which will remind you of your childhood days. Hold your baby’s legs and gently cycle in a peddling motion.

6. Tummy time

Place your baby on his or her tummy, and gently massage on the back. Wait for 20 to 30 minutes after breastfeeding (always after burping).

7. Try liquid drops

The liquid drops help in passage of gas, but consult your pediatrician for doses and duration before giving your baby Simethicone drops.

8. Give some probiotics

Probiotics like lactobacillus reuteri have shown to reduce the gas by promoting growth of good bacteria, says the expert.

9. If formula feeding, consider change of formula

You can go for low lactose or protein hydrolysate formula for your baby, but do it after consultation with a pediatrician.


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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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