How to Relieve Baby’s Gas
Q. Can I alleviate my baby’s gas pain?
A. You can help prevent gas by feeding her before she cries, a signal that she’s too hungry to wait any longer to eat. When you do feed her, use a leisurely pace, because rapid feeding increases her intake of air. If you are breastfeeding and your milk is letting down briskly, you may need to remove your baby for a moment and let the spray of milk slow down so she can manage the flow. If bottlefeeding, check the nipple opening to be sure it isn’t too large or too small. Bottlefed babies usually swallow more air, especially when the bottle’s nipple isn’t full of milk.
But if, despite your efforts, your baby seems uncomfortable, gas may be the reason behind her fussiness. You can help trapped gas move by gently massaging baby’s tummy in a clockwise motion while she lies on her back. Or hold your baby securely over your arm in a facedown position, known as the “gas hold” or “colic hold.” Still no relief? Ask your pediatrician about trying the over-the-counter anti-gas medication simethicone, sold as Infants’ Mylicon Drops, which may help move gas through the intestines.
Q. How often should I burp my baby?
A. For most babies, burping midway through the feeding and afterward will release any air bubbles. Try burping your baby during his natural pauses in feeding, such as when he slows down after finishing the first breast. While a few babies need to be burped more frequently, many parents make the mistake of disrupting feedings with unnecessary attempts at burping. This prolongs the feeding time, frustrating a hungry baby, which can increase air swallowing.
Trapped air can cause immediate discomfort, make a baby feel full before he has finished his feeding, or pass into the intestines, causing flatulence.
There are several good positions for burping your baby. Use the one that works best for you:
Support your baby upright over a burp cloth on your shoulder and firmly pat his back.
Sit him upright on your lap with your hand under his chin to support his chest and head. Lean him forward slightly while you rub and pat his back.
Lay him across your lap on his abdomen, with his head slightly higher than the rest of his body, and firmly rub and pat his back.
If he doesn’t burp after a few minutes, resume feeding him, and if he acts uncomfortable, try burping him again.