Tips for Gas Relief for Baby
Question: Hi Dr. Sears and Martha! I have a question about gas relief! I have a 9-week-old boy who is happy but often cries inconsolably from gas. He is exclusively breastfeeding (EBF) and I have tried limiting my diet and using gripe water but at this point, I’m just waiting this out. My first son was a MAJOR high needs baby, so I’m used to extended periods of crying, but I just feel like he is hurting badly and I want him to get some relief! Nighttime is the worst. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!
Answer: Thanks for your question. Your baby may be experiencing gas from the crying. While swallowing a lot of air (especially with inconsolable crying) is common and can result in the uncomfortable gas. This is even more common during the first few months. This certainly sounds excessive because of the fact that you can tell how much your baby is hurting. One trick for gas relief is to hold your crying baby closely so that it minimizes the air swallowing, which I am sure you are already doing. A second way to help with gas relief is to be sure your baby makes a good seal on your breast during latch-on. The third tip is to eliminate the most common offenders for gassiness in your diet; dairy products, cabbage, broccoli, too many raw veggies/greens, and wheat.
By now, with a 9-week-old, I am sure you have figured out good burping techniques to get swallowed air up and out to help with the current gas relief. Techniques for helping your baby deal with the discomfort include abdominal massage (the I LOVE YOU method we discuss in our books) and what we call “the bubble bath”: Massage your baby’s abdomen while sitting with him on your lap in a bathtub, immersing his tense tummy in warm water. As baby passes the gas, bubbles will appear in the water. Another technique is “the gas pump”: Lay him on your lap, on his back facing you, and pump his legs up and down in a cycling motion while trying some distracting words or animated singing. Finally, be sure he is not constipated – insert a glycerin suppository when he seems bloated and gassy. That may both relieve constipation and decompress the gas-filled gut.
Lastly, a new and science-based approach to abdominal pain is to be sure your baby has a healthy microbiome, meaning the colonies of healthy bacteria that populate your baby’s intestinal lining. To further understand the role of a healthy microbiome in minimizing gas production, download your free copy of Dr. Poo from our website. Read especially Chapter 2, where we discuss the importance of breast milk in creating a healthy microbiome. Once you understand how breastmilk helps your baby have a healthy and more comfortable gut/microbiome, ask your doctor to recommend a probiotic for your baby to help calm things down in your baby’s gut.
Dr. Bill and Martha Sears
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”