How Do I Know If My Baby Has Gas Pain or Something Else?


Mother holding crying baby

Determining what’s wrong with a baby can be very challenging before the little one is able to communicate in words about feelings and pain. Gas can be very painful for babies, but the signs a baby has gas can mirror other conditions as well. Yet it’s important to diagnose the cause of your baby’s discomfort to treat the right condition.

To help parents and caregivers tell if gas is the problem, this article will describe the symptoms of gas in babies, gas-related indicators, and how to test if the pain is gas or something else. It will also address the distinctions between colic or gas, as well as gas or acid reflux, in babies.

Symptoms of Gas in Babies

Babies can be gassy when they’re just a few weeks old, it’s often the worst around the age of eight months, and it can even be a problem among toddlers. Common signs baby has gas are pulling the legs up to the tummy and squirming after feeding sessions. A baby may also clench the fists, become red in the face, and cry excessively when gas is felt. It’s a good idea to pay attention to a facial indicators and movement indicators like these to determine what’s going on in the body.

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Gas or Acid Reflux?

In some babies, a condition of acid reflux is confused with common gas. However, acid reflux occurs when the contents of a baby’s stomach rise back up in the esophagus. This is very painful and unsettling for babies who don’t understand what’s going on in their bodies. However, babies with acid reflux will commonly arch their backs rather than curling in, a motion typical with gas. Babies with acid reflux also won’t feel relief after burping, and burping can actually make it worse.

Colic or Gas?

Colic, or excessive fussiness and crying, can also be mistaken for gas. Colic is defined as crying for over three hours in a row for at least three days in the week. It can be very difficult to comfort a colicky baby, and excessive crying causes more air to be swallowed and gas symptoms to become worse. The root cause of colic is not entirely clear, and it may or may not be directly related to belly pain. But if a crying baby doesn’t feel relief after burping, rocking, and changing, colic could be to blame instead of just gas.

Testing If the Pain Is Gas or Not

Probably the easiest way to tell if gas is to blame for a baby’s tummy discomfort is whether a burp or flatulence comes out. If these are released and the symptoms of gas in babies subside, then gas was likely the problem. Caregivers can also put gentle pressure on the tummy to test if gas is the problem and help release it if so.

Other things to try to relive gas pain include swaddling to provide extra comfort, massaging the infant’s belly to stimulate nerves in the intestines, administering PediaCare’s Gas Relief Drops, and encouraging the baby to move the legs in a bicycle motion. If the symptoms of what appear to be gas don’t subside with any of these tests and tricks, it may be time to ask a pediatrician for further advice.

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