Regardless of age, gas is a natural and normal part of life. But babies tend to develop gas very often in the first few months. During the first three months of life, a baby’s gastrointestinal organs are developing and maturing. Gas is also very common in children between six and twelve months of age because this is when they are trying a variety of new foods for the first time.
Here is some information about why babies get gas and how parents can learn how to help relieve infant gas.
Gas is a natural response of the body as the digestive system processes food. Before food is fully digested, it moves from the small intestines to the large intestines. This is where food combines with beneficial bacteria to produce carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane. These gases must leave the body to prevent an uncomfortable and unhealthy buildup. The most common symptoms of gas include burping, flatulence, bloating, and abdominal swelling and pain.
In babies, gas is commonly caused by swallowing air and when the intestines begin to digest food. Since babies’ systems are constantly getting used to new foods and environments, gas is typically normal and not harmful. However, some gas may be caused by an intolerance to dairy or protein in formula.
Dairy products are known to cause gas, which can be problematic for babies being breastfed or formula-fed. For older children, carbohydrate-rich foods, like beans, cruciferous vegetables, and fruits, may to cause gas through solid foods as well. Parents should not give babies under six months anything to eat besides breastmilk or formula to avoid digestion issues from foods their tummies aren’t ready for yet.
It is important for parents to be able to recognize the early warning signs of gas in order to bring their children relief and prevent the onset of more severe symptoms. Babies with gas are often more fussy than usual and for no apparent reason. Parents may also notice their babies lifting their legs up into the air, stretching the legs out, and arching the back. These are common behaviors among gassy babies. If a baby seems noticeably more comfortable after passing gas, then gas issues were likely to blame.
When gas pain strikes, PediaCare’s Gas Relief Drops may be administered to infants as young as newborns and up to 36 months of age. Parents should always discuss new medications with a pediatrician before trying a new remedy to relieve gas. Drops like these are gentle enough to use at each feeding, and the recommended dosage is determined by age and weight.
Parents should also hold the baby’s bottle in a way that doesn’t encourage gulping or swallowing extra air. A bottle’s nipple hole that is too small may make a baby gulp; however, a too-large hole can make liquid flow too quickly. A bottle that’s specially designed to reduce the intake of air may be beneficial. Parents should also keep babies upright during feedings to help the nourishment travel a smoother route to the tummy. Burping babies frequently helps to release air bubbles from a baby’s body, and a gentle belly massage may relieve pain and pressure in the abdominal area. Natural gas relief options, such as using ginger can also help to relieve infant gas.
In this parental guide to gas relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!