How to Help a Gassy Newborn
Your newborn may get gassy for a variety of reasons. She may swallow air while feeding, crying or sucking a pacifier; or get gas from milk or food sensitivity.
Gas buildup can cause pain and discomfort when it gets trapped in your baby's gastrointestinal tract, which can make your newborn fussy, interfere with her sleep and cause her to stop feeding. You can help reduce gas buildup and/or help your baby pass the gas with few steps.
Burp your baby often during feeding to help expel the air he swallows. Your baby can swallow air whether he is bottle-fed or breastfed. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you burp your baby after every 2 to 3 oz if you are bottle-feeding, or when you switch breasts, if you are breastfeeding. Burp your baby well again after his feeding.
Use a special baby bottle that has been developed to reduce the amount of air your baby swallows. It is more common for your baby to swallow air during bottle feeding, and air reduction technology is readily used in baby bottles to help reduce this.
Use a baby bottle that is made for newborns and limits the amount of milk that flows through the nipple. A nipple that allows too high a flow rate can make your newborn swallow more air. Try different bottles and nipples to find one that suites your newborn the best.
Avoid eating caffeine and other foods your newborn might be sensitive to if you are breastfeeding. Food sensitivity can make your baby gassy. The American Academy of Pediatrics says you can find out if your baby is sensitive to a certain food by avoiding it for a week and monitoring any improvements in your newborn's condition.
Do not give your newborn cow's milk. Your baby cannot digest cow's milk, thus it can cause gas formation and other gastrointestinal problems. Babies under one year old should not be given cow's milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Calm your crying baby to limit the amount of air she swallows. Sooth your newborn by holding and rocking her. You can also help sooth your newborn by wrapping her with a blanket. This helps your baby feel safe.
Massage your newborns belly and make bicycling movements with her legs. This can help move gas along her intestine and help your baby pass the gas.
Give your baby simethicone drops before feeding. Simethicone helps break down gas bubbles, pass gas and ease the pain associated with gas. Consult your pediatrician on the correct dosage for your newborn.
Hold your baby on her belly and rock her while you are carrying her. This can calm your newborn and help her pass gas. However, you should not let your newborn sleep on her belly. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that placing your baby on her stomach is associated with sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
Consult your pediatrician about how to help prevent and remove gas in your newborn.
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- "Your Baby's First Year"; The American Academy of Pediatrics; 2nd edition; 2005
- Consumer Search; Baby Bottles: Full Report; February 2011
- HealthyChildren.org: Breaking Up Gas