One of the most common issues infants encounter is gas discomfort. When babies are young, they often experience a great amount of gas for two main reasons. First, their digestive systems are still getting the hang of functioning properly, and second, they take in large amounts of air when crying and nursing. Combined together, these activities lead to large amounts of gas, and unfortunately, sometimes your baby will have a hard time releasing the gas on his or her own. Here are several ways to help you alleviate your baby's gas, leading to a happier baby—and a happier mama!
Always burp your baby midway through feeding and when he or she is finished. Firmly patting baby's back helps any air bubbles in the tummy find their way up instead of down. Watch your baby for clues; most babies will slow down or pause while feeding, and this is a good time for the first burp. When they pull away or refuse a bottle, burp them a second time. You may need to try several positions to discover which works best for your baby; some babies burp best over the shoulder, while others prefer to sit up and lean slightly forward.
If you can learn your baby's cues for hunger, and feed before the crying happens, then your infant will cry less and take in less air. Recognizing and responding to your baby's cues also helps the bonding process by building trust. Newborns will often begin to make sucking motions when hungry, so look for visual cues in order to reduce your baby's crying as a means of communication.
Not literally! But you could create a wonderful narrative of everything you see on your imaginary bike ride as you "bicycle" your baby's legs several times. Sometimes this gentle motion helps your infant to release trapped gas in his or her intestines. Lie your baby down comfortably and gently move his or her legs as if he or she were riding a bike. Repeating this motion for a minute or so can help expel any gas that may be causing discomfort.
Invest in a good baby carrier and after feedings, carry baby around for ten or more minutes. Gravity can be a powerful ally when combating infant gas! Simply keeping baby upright can help gas exit your infant's body instead of stagnating and causing pain if baby is lying down.
Once out of the newborn phase, tummy time after a feeding can be a great natural solution to gas. This position naturally places pressure on the tummy and can help your baby to release gas on his or her own, unassisted.
This gentle technique uses mom's or dad's fingertips to help relieve your infant of gas. Lie your baby down on a comfortable surface, and begin rubbing in small circles from her ribcage to her diaper. Repeat this process for two to three minutes.
Gripe water is an all natural solution for several infant ailments, including gas. Although its contents may vary with manufacturer, all gripe waters contain herbal ingredients that are safe for babies and relieve stomach discomfort. Common herbal ingredients include ginger and fennel extracts.
Many infant experts agree that what mom eats may affect baby. If you notice your baby suffering from gas regularly, it may be time to evaluate your own diet for culprits. Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli are guilty offenders, as is caffeine. Consider keeping a food diary for two or three weeks to see if you can identify any correlations between what you eat and baby's discomfort; if you spot any, eliminate the food and see if a noticeable improvement occurs.
Before you head to your local drugstore to pick up a bottle of Myclion, a synthetic gas-reliever for infants, consider one of the eight natural solutions listed above. Not only are they cheaper than the drug alternative, but most offer positive bonding experiences for you and your baby. Remember: every child is different, so what works for one infant, may not work for another. But fear not, you'll find a solution that works, and your baby will thank you for it!