Whew. Nothing will drive you more crazy as a mom of a newborn as much as GAS will. Gas issues not only can cause pain for your little one, but can also wreck havoc on sleep. Gassiness is also something easily overlooked as a new parent who is exhausted beyond belief and simply running on fumes.
I’ve dealt with gas related issues with all three of my children when they were babies. With my first I couldn’t figure out why he was crying and seemed in pain. I rushed him to the dr, typical “first time mom” move right?, only to find out it was gas pains! By the time I had my second baby I knew gas was a common culprit and had my toolbox of tricks ready to go to help.
Many people think of Babywise as a sleep training book but it’s so much more than that. There is actually an entire section devoted to tips on helping relive gas issues for your little one. I have pulled out my book again and again to help me help my babies. I have also learned through the years some extra tips and tricks that help. I’m hoping this post can be a quick reference post for other mama’s who may be frustrated over gas 😉
How do you know if your baby’s cry is gas-related? You can tell it’s gas if they hold up their legs while crying. If they are arching their back when crying then it’s more of a sign that reflux may be the issue.
Ready to help your little one get that gas out so they can feel better, sleep better, eat better and just BE better? Here are my favorite tips from both Babywise as well as personal experience:
Prevention is always key! If bottle feeding they make many types of bottles to help minimize gas and you can also position your baby into a more upright feeding position.
Obviously this is a little trickier to do when nursing 😉
Take breaks while feeding your baby to BURP. Not only will this help keep a sleepy baby awake, but it will also prevent gas from getting trapped. It’s wise to burp a bottle fed baby every 1-2 ounces and a breastfed baby whenever you switch sides.
There are four main positions for burping (Page 81 from Babywise):
1. Sitting Lap: Sit the baby in your lap facing the side. One hand supporting the baby on the chest while the other one does the burping on the back.
2. Tummy-Over-Lap: Lay the baby’s legs between your legs and drape the baby over your thigh. Support the baby’s head in your hands and bring your knees together for added support. Pat back firmly with other hand.
3. Shoulder: Place baby over your shoulder and pat back (this is what I consider the most common form of burping)
4. Cradle: Cradle the baby in your arms and wrap the baby around one arm. Legs and feet dangle while head is supported by arm/elbow area. Pat with other hand
The #1 key thing about burping is to use pressure and a constant upward motion. You want to push the gas up and out of there!
Hold Upright After Feeding
Little babies don’t have very long awake times but I always spend a few minutes immediately after feeding my babies holding them upright. I use this as a cuddle time in my lap and just hold them up and kiss on them, tickle, coo at them, etc. I really focus on awake times being the time to get out that gas so it won’t affect naps!
Another way to keep the baby upright is to use a bouncer or swing that has an incline. I prefer not to have my babies sleep in these sorts of things but will use them during awake time to help with gas issues and to avoid spitting up.
Pump Those Legs
Gas comes from both ends and my #1 gas tip is to pump those legs! I will lay my baby on their back (great to do while changing diaper before bedtime) and push their legs to their chest and then pull the legs back down and repeat. A bicycle motion is also very helpful (doing circular forward and backward motions with the legs). It’s so rewarding as a mom when you hear those little toots because you know you’re getting that gas out 😉 Small victories!
People have differing opinions on favorite gas drops as well as when to use them. It’s great to have both Gripe Water and Mylicon on hand when you have a baby at home. Some people swear by giving drops prior to feedings, others give after feedings, some give right before sleep times, some only use when they can tell their baby is gassy. It’s truly a guess and check type thing and it’s all about figuring out what works best for your little one!
I personally like Gripe Water for when hiccups happen. It seems to really do the trick! I tend to do the Mylicon as prevention and give it prior to feedings.
This is something I didn’t try until I had my third baby and y’all it was a GAME CHANGER. A small, quick, simple, painless adjustment gave instant gas relief. I didn’t do a regular schedule with her, but would take her when I noticed she started having gas pains and sure enough it’d clear it up every single time! You can read more about the benefits of chiropractic care for infants here!
What are some of the ways you have found to help relive gas pains for your baby???
Emily is the mother of three and is waiting on her 4th baby via adoption. She loves Disney, deals, and considers herself pretty hardcore about parenting. She blogs at The Journey of Parenthood.