Trapped gas distresses almost every baby to some degree; and it affects breast-fed as well as bottle-fed babies. Gas pain is especially troublesome in newborns and young infants between 1 to 4 months, given that their gastrointestinal tract is still developing.
Gas is a natural by-product of digesting the nutrients in milk and the gastric tract expels it without any discomfort.
What Causes Trapped Gas In Babies?
The following are the common causes for a gas buildup:
- Wrong feeding technique: Poor latching on results in large amounts of air being swallowed.
- Crying: Crying causes the baby to swallow air, particularly if he cries for a prolonged interval before a meal.
- Immature digestion: A newborn’s gastric system is developing even after he is born. The gut is learning to process food, gas and stool efficiently. Gas also develops due to immaturity in the colon’s natural flora, regulation of hormones and carbohydrate metabolism.
- Food Allergies: Breast milk has traces of foods from the mother’s diet. Some babies are sensitive to these traces of foods especially, cow’s milk, onions, chocolate, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. In a formula-fed baby, a trial of a hypo-allergenic formula should be given to see whether the baby is reacting to the cow’s milk protein.
- Large amounts of lactose: Breast milk contains foremilk and hind milk. Foremilk contains more of lactose, whilst the hind milk is richer in fat. Too much foremilk results in a relative lactose overload. This contributes to gas and experts advise to empty the breast before moving on to the next.
Trapped Gas In Babies Symptoms
The typical manifesting features are:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive burping
- Excessive spit up
- Flatulence and bloating
Home Remedies To Relieve Trapped Gas In Babies
Intermittent episodes of gassiness are unavoidable, however, when the condition gets obstinate and uncomfortable, you may choose from several natural remedies to effectively manage it.
- Feed at an angle: Whilst breastfeeding, keep the baby’s head and neck raised above his stomach. If you’re bottle-feeding, feed in a vertical position.
- Burp during and after feeding: Hold your baby upright or over the shoulder and burp him in the middle and after the feeding. Be patient it could take a few minutes for the gas in the tummy to surface.
- Use the right bottle and formula: For bottle feeding, the best kind of bottle is one that has a soft nipple that contours along the baby’s mouth and lips, thereby preventing air from flowing along with the milk. Occasionally, changing formulas may help diminish gas symptoms.
- Tummy Time: Let your baby spend time on his tummy. Gravity’s pressure helps expel trapped gas.
- Tummy Massage: Gently massage your baby’s tummy in a clockwise motion.
- Bicycling the legs: Let your baby lie on his back, slowly pump both legs back and forth as if riding a bicycle. This produces a movement in the intestines, and expels trapped gas.
- Swaddling: Babies feel soothed when wrapped up snugly.
- Mint tea: For an infant who is 3 months and more, you could give about 2 spoons of mint tea. Mint soothes the lining of the colon and gets rid of tummy pain and flatulence effectively.