Baby gas: signs, causes, and ways to find relief
Occasional gas is completely normal. The two most common causes are:
- Swallowed air: Babies swallow large amounts of air when feeding and crying. If the air is not burped back up, it passes into the digestive tract. This trapped air can make your baby uncomfortable.
- Digestion: Gas is a natural part of the digestive process that occurs when food is broken down.
What are the signs of gas?
Your baby might show excessive fussiness during and after feedings, pull her legs toward her chest, have a distended abdomen, or appear to be bloated.
How to relieve gas in babies
If your baby is having difficulty with gas, try burping her once every five minutes when you are breastfeeding, or after every ounce of formula when you're bottle feeding. If she doesn't burp after a few minutes, change her position and try for a few minutes more before you start feeding her again. If she is not having difficulty with gas, burping might only be needed when switching breasts, or after every 2 oz to 3 oz if bottle feeding.
Here are some other ways to relieve gas pain:
- Massage her tummy.
- Hold her in your arm, facedown, using your hand to apply gentle pressure on her tummy.
- Bounce her gently on your lap, as if she were on a car ride or in a bouncy seat.
- Over-the-counter drops (simethicone) can make burping more effective at getting rid of gas.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance in babies is usually temporary. Most often, it is a situation in which the intestine, while still developing, has trouble digesting lactose. This can cause gas in babies, and can occur after a stomach illness or diarrhea. Similac Sensitive® formula is a nutritionally complete option from the makers of Similac® that helps reduce fussiness and gas due to lactose sensitivity.*
Permanent lactose intolerance is very rare in babies. You will want to discuss the situation with your health care professional before making changes to your baby's diet.