Foods and Diet Patterns That Cause Gas in Children


Toddler drinking out of a sippie cup in a highchair

Gas is very common in babies and toddlers, and this is a very normal part of the digestion process. However, too much burping and flatulence can cause bloating, pain, and discomfort. The foods that a child eats can lead to excess gas, so it’s important that parents understand which foods can cause gas and how much to feed their children to keep gas at a normal level.

Here is an explanation of how foods can cause gas in children, examples of foods that are known to cause gas, and how to prevent infant gas through portion control. Prevention and treatment strategies for gas caused by food will also be discussed.

The Connection Between Food and Gas

When a child eats solid food or drinks formula, food travels through the digestive system while providing the body with nutrients and removing waste products. The process of eating involves using the tongue to move food back into the throat and then swallowing to open the esophagus. Air is swallowed at this point as well, which can lead to gas.

It can also result if a child’s body isn’t able to digest certain components of the food in the small intestines. The breakdown of undigested foods is a common cause of gas in young children, especially while their bodies are still getting used to new foods.

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Foods That Cause Gas

Although every child is unique, there are certain foods that are notorious foods for causing gas. These include beans, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Dairy products and many vegetables can cause gas too, such as cabbage, onions, peas, asparagus, and mushrooms.

But because these foods have many health benefits, they should not necessarily be off-limits due to fear of gas. However, these foods should be slowly introduced in small portion sizes to determine if excess gas is a concern. Of course, carbonated beverages and bubbly sodas cause gas too and should be avoided.

How to Prevent Infant Gas Using Portion Control

Not only do the types of foods a child eats matter when it comes to gas, but also how much of those foods are being served. In their early months, babies may be unable to clearly communicate with parents about when they are full and should stop eating. Overfeeding a child can lead to symptoms of bloating and stomach pain caused by excess gas.

It is recommended for newborns to eat about two to three ounces of formula every two to four hours. Babies between one and three months will have larger appetites and eat about five ounces of milk six to eight times per day. Babies between the ages of four and six months often start eating cereal and can typically eat one to two tablespoons of cereal two times per day.

Treating Gas When It Occurs

Controlling gas in a child often requires changing how the child eats and what the child eats. Encourage children to eat and drink slower to reduce the amount of air swallowed with each bite. It is also a smart idea to limit foods that are known to cause gas if excess gas is a chronic problem with the child.

PediaCare’s Gas Relief Drops are specially formulated for babies as young as newborns up to children 36 months of age. Dosage is determined by a child’s age and weight, and the drops relieve the symptoms of gas frequently caused by certain formulas or foods. Digestive enzymes may also help children digest carbohydrates more effectively and prevent gas.

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