Occasional gas is completely normal. The two most common causes are:
Digestion: Gas is a natural part of the digestive process that occurs when food is broken down.
Swallowed air: Babies swallow large amounts of air when feeding and crying. If not burped back up, it can pass into the digestive tract and get trapped, making your baby uncomfortable.
What are the signs of gas?
- Excessive fussiness during and after feedings
- Pulls her legs toward her chest
- Distended (swollen) abdomen
- Bloated appearance
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.
Other ways to relieve gas pain:
- Massage 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 induce burping, helping to alleviate gas.
What is lactose intolerance?
Most often, lactose intolerance is a temporary situation in which the still-developing intestine 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 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.
More questions about formula feeding? See our Frequently Asked Questions.
*Not for infants or children with galactosemia.