If you’ve ever had a crying, fussy, gas-filled baby, you’ll understand a frustrated parent’s look of “Why won’t this baby just fart, dammit?!”
Yep, most definitely one of the stand-out features of a baby for the first few months is the amount of gas they produce and try to hold onto. Well, they probably aren’t really trying to hold it in, but they certainly seem to have a hard time letting go of it!
New babies are naturally windy, it’s the result of an immature digestive system dealing with the process of nutrient extraction and breaking down sugars in the large intestine. It doesn’t matter whether they are breast or bottle fed.
Other sources of gas in babies may be from swallowing air during feeding or when they’re having a cry. Some foods eaten by mum can give a breastfeeding excess wind also, like if you had say, a bowl full of broccoli and cabbage, so maybe cut back to a couple of pieces. Moderation is the key.
How our babies deal with wind is the part of the situation that sends us parents into a state of confusion as to how we can help our baby.
Identifying if the problem is wind is a start. Remember, new babies cry with their whole body, so pulled up legs and tightly clenched little fists doesn’t always mean pain. It can mean they are just seriously cranky that someone hasn’t put a nipple in their mouth already!
If your baby has just had a sleep (not tired), a nappy change (not wet or stinky) and a feed (not hungry), then crying or fussing could well be the need for gas release. Some of us get lucky with a newbie who will easily do their own burping, farting and occasional spew of excess milk and some of us will get one that won’t give up a bubble regardless of how long you pat, rub or rock. There are ways to help. Here are 9 natural ways to ease baby’s gas.
1. Feeding Position
When breastfeeding, get a great attachment, and for bottle feeding, make sure the formula is covering the teat completely, doing these things will help avoid baby gulping to get more food and taking in the excess air into their stomach.
To try and avoid as much extra air intake while feeding, always ensure your baby’s head is higher than their tummy. It’ll make swallowing and natural digestion easier. Seems a crazy thing for me to even write, I know you’re thinking ‘who would lay a baby with their head lower than their body?’, yes, seems ridiculous, but apparently happens!
3. Deep Bath
We loved this one! After ditching the baby bath and hopping into our big bath with our little gaseous maximus, his discomfort eased, almost immediately. Not only did we sit him in a reclined position with a warm washer on his tummy, we floated him, on his tummy also!
On advice from our clinic nurse, I would position my left forearm (I’m right-handed) under his head, with his face turned sideways toward me, so I could always see where his mouth and nose were in regard to the water. He happily lay there while I supported his body with my right hand under his belly. I let his body sink into the water a little while keeping his head up, soon enough, little bubbles started rising from the warm water. Bliss bubbles they were known as.
Baby massage is so lovely for so many reasons. It’s relaxing, assists with muscle tone and circulation, gives you a wonderful bonding time, helps baby understand and enjoy gentle touch, stimulates brain development and also helps with digestive issues like colic, constipation and the gas man. You can find a how-to on the net easily enough or contact your child health clinic for someone in the vicinity who specialises in baby massage. Be sure they are properly certified in infant massage, having done it on their own children only is not an acceptable qualification.